In April 2020, Taste of Vail event director Angela Mueller made the difficult decision to postpone the 30th annual celebration of the popular food and wine festival due to coronavirus concerns. After more than a year later, the Taste of Vail finally got to celebrate its 30th anniversary on September 16 to 18, 2021.
This year’s event looked different than most, and wasn’t without its challenges given the ongoing pandemic. The 2021 Taste of Vail, which is typically held in the spring, had elements of the Taste of Vail Fall Wine & Food Classic and was a consolidated version of the two events. Additionally, all of the tastings and seminars were held outside. The 2021 Taste of Vail featured the talents of more than 22 guest chefs, restaurateurs and sommeliers plus more than 45 top wineries.
“In the years prior we have hosted many events indoors and this year, we made the choice to keep everything outdoors for the safety of our guests, staff, restaurants, wineries and sponsors,” Mueller said. “We look at the Taste of Vail event as one that’s evolving and we look forward to having many events and truly celebrating our outdoor lifestyle we have in Vail.”
This year’s Taste of Vail included signature events like the American Lamb Cook-Off and Tasting, an après tasting sponsored by the American Lamb Board where guests get to sample an array of lamb dishes made by some of the Vail Valley’s top chefs and vote on their favorite. The Harvest Farm to Table Dinner, a Fall Wine & Food Classic signature event, was part of this year’s Taste of Vail. Guests enjoyed a dinner al fresco on the streets of Vail Village, with dishes made by Vail chefs highlighting the local harvest. Each course was specifically designed to pair with a wine varietal from one of the visiting winemakers.
In-depth seminars (including a Sturia Caviar tasting and Willamette Valley sparkling wine tasting) and non-food and drink events like a hike up Berry Creek Trailhead and yoga in the park rounded out this year’s activities. “We were thrilled to be able to offer the Taste of Vail this fall for our guests, partners and community to return to celebrate amazing food and wine in the Vail Valley,” Mueller said.
“We worked with our local community and health department officials for guidance to keep our event as safe as possible during this global pandemic and planned the Taste of Vail to be mostly outdoors which allowed us greater flexibility for our guests to come together and experience the Taste of Vail again,” Mueller said. She added that ticket holders from the canceled 2020 and 2021 events were given the flexibility to use their tickets either for this event or the 2022 Taste of Vail taking place on March 30 to April 2.
“Having to adjust through the event cancelations, we were able to look at the Taste of Vail events with a fresh perspective for this fall 2021 event and we knew that our American Lamb Tastings, our seminars and a Harvest Dinner, including all local produce, chefs and products would offer an outstanding lineup,” Mueller said. “That allowed our guests and partners to experience a Taste of Vail like no other—in the peak fall foliage season in Vail! It was wonderful to see everything come together and people enjoying themselves at all of the events.”
As for the Spring 2022 Taste of Vail, Mueller is excited to bring back the Mountain Top Tasting (an outdoor food and wine tasting held 10,350 feet above sea level). “We will continue to have our events outdoors and will be working with restaurants and wineries to make the event unbelievable for all of our guests and partners,” she said. “We will continue to keep the safety of our guests, partners and community as our main priority as we plan and come together to celebrate Taste of Vail Spring March 30, 31, April 1 and 2.”