On an April afternoon two years ago, I stood atop a 10,000-foot plateau at Vail Ski Resort--snow underfoot, clear blue sky overhead, the gorgeous Vail Valley view spread out before me. I wasn't skiing that day. I was attending the Taste of Vail's mountaintop picnic, where I sampled wine from across the nation, enjoyed delectable small plates from Vail restaurants, and mingled with other foodies dressed in colorful winter gear. I couldn't have been happier, which is why I'm heading back to the Taste of Vail this year.
Scheduled for April 5 to 7 (yes, that's Easter weekend), the Taste of Vail has become one of the nation's premiere spring food celebrations. In addition to the mountaintop picnic (you ride the gondola up), signature events include an après-ski lamb cook-off in Vail Village, a Saturday-night grand tasting in the Marriott Ballroom, and an impressive variety of seminars, including classes on wine tasting, wine-and-cheese pairing, Riedel wine glasses, and Spanish wine. Several local restaurants also host special wine dinners and cooking demonstrations. And this being Vail, there's plenty of time built into the schedule for you to get a few black diamond runs in.
Tickets for the Taste of Vail are still available, but don't delay: it's a busy weekend, and lodging could be tough to come by.