Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU to host international wine festival

As many as 4,000 wine and food lovers may flock to the University of Denver this November for the third annual Denver International Wine Festival.

The event will blend a wine tasting of more than 400 imported and domestic wines with an Iron Chef-style wine and food paring contest and a fundraiser for DU’s school of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM).

The festival will take place Nov. 1–4 in the HRTM building and the Driscoll Center. Previous sites were the Oxford Hotel, where sponsor Wine Country International magazine had its inaugural event in 2005, and Mile High Station in 2006.

“We’re centrally located and we have the capacity to expand,” says Rodney Smith, executive director of University Events. “It’s a high-end event and something our alumni could get excited about and enjoy.”

The HRTM fundraiser will be a 400-person dinner on Nov. 2 that showcases wines from Colorado. Proceeds will benefit a new HRTM scholarship fund.

“Students are involved in all aspects of preparing the meal, serving, washing up afterward, doing the marketing and everything that goes into it,” says Professor Robert Mill, HRTM interim director.

The Iron Chef-style contest, “Taste of Elegance,” involves celebrated Colorado chefs competing to create dishes appropriate for selected wines. Winners will be chosen by a panel of industry experts and attendees, who will be able to sample both the wines and food.

“Chefs get the wine a week ahead of time,” explains Christopher Davies, CEO of Wine Country Network Inc.

The main wine-tasting event will be Nov. 3 and will involve award-winning wines from more than 100 wineries throughout the world, including New Zealand, Jamaica and the Bordeaux region of France.

The festival also will include seminars on wine and food, a champagne brunch and travel expo, and a charity auction with proceeds going to Gilda’s Club, a support group for cancer patients and their families.

“DU is a perfect match,” Davies says. “The goal is to have this here for three to five years.”

Information or tickets can be obtained at

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