Party Like a Rockstar

Food & Wine Weekend Without a Pass: 2019 Edition

No lanyard, no problem–we’ve got 10 ways for you to still indulge.

By Amanda M. Faison June 5, 2019

Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Lance Armstrong lead the peloton at a previous Friends & Fellows Ride with Blackberry Farm and The Little Nell.

The annual Food & Wine Classic (June 13–16) is Aspen’s most sought-after ticket of the summer. This year, the fest celebrates its 37th anniversary, and thousands of foodies will descend on Aspen to indulge in three days of feasting, drinking, and partying. The Grand Tasting Pavilion is the epicenter of the weekend, with a bounty of  food and wine tastings. And cooking demos, wine seminars, and panel discussions are held at other venues all over town.

The event itself is nearly sold out, but you can still partake by taking advantage of one of the open-to-the-public events in addition to a growing list of unofficial festivities. Here are 10 to slot into your schedule.

1. Blackberry Farm's Friends & Fellows Ride and Lunch
Thursday, June 13, 9 a.m., The Little Nell

Kick off Food & Wine by burning calories (and then replacing them) for a good cause. For the second year Blackberry Farm and The Little Nell have teamed up for Friends & Fellows, a 32-mile supported ride (this year's route travels the Rio Grande Trail to Old Snowmass and back), followed by a patio lunch at Element 47 prepared by executive chefs Matthew Zubrod from The Little Nell and Cassidee Dabney from the Barn at Blackberry Farm. And, of course, there will be wine. The event raises funds for the Sam Beall Fellows Program. The late proprietor of Blackberry Farm passed away in 2016, but the foundation carries forth his passion for hospitality and the culinary arts. The ride is collaboration between Blackberry Farm, The Little Nell, cycling coach Robbie Ventura, and Allied Cycle Works (home of the most incredible bikes!) but it feels homegrown and all riders—fast and slow—are championed. The cycling averse are welcome to simply attend the luncheon. To register, visit and select the number of guests and register for the F&F Ride/Lunch. $200–$250,

2. Rustic Grind
Thursday, June 13, 6:30–8:30 p.m., Fanny Hill, Snowmass

Snowmass’ preview to Saturday’s all-out Heritage Fire event has become a local must-do. Chow down on heritage-breed meats cooked and smoked over wood-fire grills and sip on premium wines while grooving to Saranation, a pop-reggae/rock concert as part of the Snowmass Free Concert Series. $40 wristband (all-inclusive), free (music only),


The annual Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run raises funds for Wholesome Wave and the Jacques Pépin Foundation.

3. Food & Wine Celebrity Chef 5k Charity Run
Friday, June 14, 7 a.m., Rio Grande Park

This could be your one and only chance to beat a celebrity chef. Lace up those running shoes and race 3.1 miles alongside chefs and wine pros and burn some calories before most of Aspen even wakes up. You’ll feel even better about indulging at the Grand Tastings later and race proceeds benefit Wholesome Wave and the Jacques Pépin Foundation. Sign up here and claim your race bag, T-shirt, and bib at the Wheeler Opera House on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. $35,

4. Fireside Chat with Winemaker Chester Osborne
Friday, June 14, 2:45–3:45 p.m., Limelight Hotel

Throughout the weekend the Limelight Hotel is home base for the South Australia Tourism Commission’s pop-up space, which is a mini version of the famed Rubix Cube-inspired d'Arenberg Cube in McLauren Vale, South Australia. Interact with the Cube, sip South Australian wines, and listen to d’Arenberg’s Chester Osborne’s winemaking philosophy. Free,

5. Heitz Cellars Legacy Dinner
Friday, June 14, 7 p.m., Element 47, The Little Nell

There are wine dinners and then there are wine dinners, and with Krug Grand Cuvée Rosé, a selection from Heitz Cellar, and Hennessey Cognac this evening falls into the later category. Former Little Nell wine director Carlton McCoy (now the CEO of Heitz Cellar) and Heitz winemaker Brittany Sherwood will takes guests on a tour through the classic wines of the Heitz Legacy Collection, which showcase some of California’s most elegant and well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon–based wines. The wines will pair beautifully with executive chef Matt Zubrod’s seasonal tasting menu. Register via RESY.COM, input the number of guests, then select "Heitz Legacy." $1,200,

6. Kangaroo Island Gin Tasting
Saturday, June 15, 2:45–3:45, The Limelight Hotel

Gin lovers take note! Jon and Sarah Lark, founders of Kangaroo Island Spirits, create uniquely flavored gins (as well as vodkas and liqueurs) by incorporating ingredients from Kangaroo Island, just off the coast of Adelaide. Gather to chat with the Larks and taste four of the spirits: the limey-mint Wild Gin, rosemary-orange O’Gin, tart Mulberry Gin, and the aged Old Tom.


All of the meats at Heritage Fire are cooked over open fires.

7. Heritage Fire
Saturday, June 15, 4 p.m., VIP entry; 5 p.m–7:30 p.m., Snowmass Base Village

The annual Heritage Fire feast has become as anticipated as the Classic itself. This outdoor culinary showcase puts heritage-breed meats, whole-animal cookery, and wood-fired grills at its center. Guests stroll about sampling one creative dish after another, all the while sipping specialty cocktails and reserve wines. Bonus: Don’t miss the pop-up butcher demo. $150–$200,

8. Food & Wine Collaboration Dinner, Featuring Andrew Carmellini and Kate Williams
Saturday, June 15, 7 p.m., cocktail reception; 8 p.m. dinner, Hotel Jerome

The Classic’s trifecta of eating, drinking, and rubbing elbows with celeb chefs just got better with Food & Wine’s new collaboration dinners. This one, with Andrew Carmellini (chef-owner of Locanda Verde, the Dutch, Leuca, and more in NYC) and Kate Williams (chef of Lady of the House in Detroit) promises an unforgettable menu, plus cocktails from Death & Co., wine pairings from Total Wine & More, and hors d’oeuvres from Hotel Jerome’s chef Rob Zack. $250,

9. Barbuto Pop-Up, Featuring Jonathan Waxman
Saturday, June 15, 7 p.m. cocktail reception; 8 p.m. dinner, The Little Nell

Last month New York tearfully said good-bye to Barbuto, Jonathan Waxman’s beloved West Village restaurant. But with this pop-up dinner at The Little Nell, Waxman will recreate Barbuto and its California-Italian menu one last time. Hunter Lewis, Food & Wine’s editor in chief, will host, and diners will enjoy cocktails from Death & Co., wine pairings from Kosta Browne, and hors d’oeuvres from Little Nell chef Matthew Zubrod. $250,

10. Farewell Feast: Food & Wine Best New Restaurants
Sunday, June 16, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Close out the Classic with a banner tasting celebrating Food & Wine’s list of best new restaurants. The magazine’s editors have spent the last year scouring the country for the most delicious, most exciting, most note-worthy restaurants and this strolling feast highlights their finds (and coincides with the story in the July 2019 issue). $150.

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