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Taste of Vail festival hires 'auctioneer extraordinaire'

CREATED: 2007-02-02 01:18 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Taste of Vail festival hires 'auctioneer extraordinaire'

Reynolds & Buckley's Greg Quiroga takes on charity
auctions at America's premier wine and culinary festival

VAIL, Colo. (Feb. 2, 2007) - Looking to exceed last year's record-breaking charitable proceeds, America's premier wine and culinary festival, Taste of Vail, is raising the bar yet again.

Organizers of the 17th annual event, April 11-14, announce Greg Quiroga of Reynolds & Buckley Fundraising Auctioneers will be the driving force for donations at the festival's various Chefs Showcase Dinners April 11-13, as well as the Grand Tasting, Auction & Dance, April 14 at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa.

Tickets are on sale at www.tasteofvail.com.

"Taste of Vail is all about benefiting Vail Valley charities and getting people to be as generous as possible. And we've learned live auctions really work," says Mickey Werner, the festival's auctions chairman and a member of its board of directors. "Reynolds & Buckley came very highly recommended, and Greg really fits the bill for what we want to do."

Despite its stature among wine and culinary festivals and a reputation for haute cuisine, the Taste of Vail is a charitable nonprofit organization. Since its inception, the festival has contributed more than $330,000 to Vail Valley charities; and in 2005, in conjunction with Ritz-Carlton, the Taste of Vail donated $13,000 to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund. Last year, Taste of Vail grossed more than $43,000 in proceeds from its live auctions - a 62 percent increase over 2005 and nearly 50 percent more than the previous high set in 2004. After expenses were paid, organizers last summer were able to donate a total of more than $29,000 to a dozen local charities.

Quiroga, dubbed "auctioneer extraordinaire" by his mentor and boss, David Reynolds, is known for his fiery yet passionate style, gregarious nature and quick wit. A unique combination of auctioneering experience, commitment to nonprofit organizations and excellence as a public speaker make him one of the best in the charity-auction business; he's an entertainer, too, having formerly trained in improvisation on stage in San Francisco, where he worked on "scenes, sketches and stand-up comedy" three hours a week for a year.

"That experience really taught me how to engage a crowd and keep things moving," says Quiroga. "I try to focus on the positive and make it as entertaining for those who aren't bidding as for those who are ... then take it to the next level."

Celebrating the Vail Valley's rich lifestyle, the fine dining, prestigious art galleries, fashionable shops and phenomenal skiing that have made Vail a world-class, year-round resort, Taste of Vail was created in 1990 by a group of local restaurateurs as a marketing event to showcase the resort's world-class restaurants. Now the internationally famous destination boasts more than 21 Wine Spectator award-winning restaurants, the most of any resort community in the United States. Many of them are among the nearly three-dozen Vail Valley restaurants that participate in Taste of Vail every year.

The 17th annual Taste of Vail will feature perhaps the finest and most diverse selection of participating wineries to date, tapping a preliminary list of 54 wine producers from around the world to pour the best they have to offer. Wineries from France, Spain, New Zealand, Australia and Italy join a large contingent from Oregon and, of course, the Napa Valley, Sonoma County and the central coast of California.

Such high standards over the years have led to Taste of Vail's being ranked one of the top three arts-and-entertainment events in the United States, in terms of quality, by the 2006 Luxury Brand Status Index events, conducted by the New York-based Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com).

Quiroga, 37, says he's looking forward to plying his trade in the "rarified air" of Taste of Vail.

"I'm honored to be able to come to the Colorado High Country, to such a premier event, knowing that after everyone goes home, after the snow melts, what's left behind will have a positive impact on the local Vail community," Quiroga says. "It's why I do what I do. I love it."

Of Taste of Vail's charitable donations for 2006, $10,000 went to the newly created Taste of Vail Educational Scholarship, a joint effort with Eagle County Schools and ProStart, a culinary and hospitality education program administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Another $10,000 went to the Youth Foundation's Academic Soccer Club. The remaining proceeds were distributed among Border to Border USA; Cancer Caring House; Casino Night, which benefits various local early childhood programs; The Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound program at Minturn Middle School; The Literacy Project; The Red Ribbon Project; Sonnenalp of Vail Foundation; Vail Mountain Rescue; The Vail Jazz Foundation; and Vail Valley Home Health Care & Mountain Hospice.

For more information, visit www.tasteofvail.com, e-mail info@tasteofvail.com or call 970-926-5665.

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Media contact:
Stephen Lloyd Wood, media liaison
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press@tasteofvail.com
www.tasteofvail.com

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