Ode to the Oenophile

The base of Dollar Mountain was the place to be Saturday night at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts' Grand Wine Tasting Picnic & Concert

The base of Dollar Mountain was the place to be Saturday night at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts' Grand Wine Tasting Picnic & Concert

Dionysus, the Greek god of the grape harvest, winemaking, wine and ritual madness smiled down on Sun Valley last weekend. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts again pulled off an over-the-top, hugely successful Wine Auction weekend, raising critical funds to support arts programming in the Wood River Valley.

A big top was erected on the grassy lawn at Carol’s Dollar Mountain Lodge under which hundreds gathered Friday night to raise their paddles and bid on once-in-a-lifetime auction items, all while enjoying sublime wine and fabulous food. The high-flying performance troupe Cirque Berzerk dazzled the capacity crowd and a great time was had for a great cause.

On Saturday night, the three-day event ended on a high note with the highly anticipated picnic that is always a locals’ favorite, though people come to Sun Valley from around the country and around the world for this weekend. Hosting a sell-out crowd of upwards of 1200, this year’s picnic switched things up a bit, offering a grand wine tasting as well as fabulous fare and a live concert.

The event offered a wide selection vintages to taste and to savor

The event offered a wide selection vintages to taste and to savor

Northwest and California wines were available for the sampling and enjoying and food from 20 local restaurants tempted the taste buds. Sun Valley was in on the action, too, as the Resort’s Executive Chef John Murcko donned his whites and helped prepare delicious hard spiced duck pastrami, served with a rye crisp, potato salad, grilled radicchio and apricot. Other food choices ran the gamut from Halibut Ceviche to wood-fired pizzas; Italian Gazpacho to Wagyu beef meatballs. There was an entire tent devoted to dessert.

Sun Valley Resort Executive Chef John Murcko helped feed well over 1000 people under the big tent

Sun Valley Resort Executive Chef John Murcko (right) helped feed well over 1000 people under the big tent

In past years, the Wine Auction weekend offered a separate wine tasting event. This year, however, seven vintners set up near the Quarter Dollar lift, offering insight and information on the wines they poured. It was evident that people enjoyed tasting vintages they don’t see every day.

Brooklyn-based funk band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds provided a dare-you-to-stay-seated soundtrack to the evening and was a highlight in a night full of highlights.

And if that wasn’t enough, on Thursday night, the weekend kicked off with Tapas and Tasting with the Junior Patrons Circle and exclusive Vintner Dinners at private area homes.

Sun Valley's Brad and Kirsten Cleveland called hosting a Vintner Dinner Thursday night a "fantastic" experience

Sun Valley's Brad and Kirsten Cleveland said hosting a Vintner Dinner Thursday night was a fantastic experience

The SVCA event is the second oldest charity wine auction in the U.S. and the Center’s primary fundraising event. In addition to funding vital programming, monies raised also support scholarships for art students and educators.

Elsewhere in the Resort over the weekend, things were also humming. The Sun Valley Figure Skating Club hosted hundreds of aspiring skaters at its Summer Championships and none other than Olympic Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek lit up Sun Valley on Ice Saturday night. Friday night, Silver Creek Outfitters offered a Fly Fishing Film Festival and on Saturday, a Prana yoga class was given on the River Run lawn.

Just another quiet weekend in the mountains …

–RES

Wine Tasting in the Sun Valley Deli Thursdays from 4-6pm

Free wine tastings in the Sun Valley Resort Deli every Thursday from 4-6pm this summer. Try new wines from different regions every Thursday.