By Joseph Baca
Times are tough. We're in the midst of a financial crisis that's affecting everybody’s plans for summer fun (the buzz word of the moment is "stay-cation," after all). But in times like this, giving generously brings about is own return. The people at the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO) have made a habit of combining music, education and altruism to generate positive change in our community year after year. Now just add wine to that and you'll get Vintage Albuquerque Fine Wine and Art Auction, a multi-event benefit for NMSO's youth music education programs. Although the attendance fees are fairly steep, the money goes right back to our kids—and as many can attest, the programming is a Bacchanalian blow up.
Vintage Albuquerque runs Wednesday, June 25, through Saturday, June 28. Here's the breakdown:
For a mere $125 (ahem), the opening night dinner (Wednesday, June 25, at 7 p.m.) at Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro features the unparalleled wines of Justin Vineyards and Winery, and will be hosted by the honorary chair of this year’s event, Justin Baldwin—an industry legend. The dinner will be prepared by Chris Kobayashi, one of California’s most innovative chefs and owner of Artisan, the “it” eatery in California’s ultra-chic Central Coast wine region.
On Thursday, June 26, eight of Albuquerque’s finest restaurants will feature dinners hosted by winemakers from various award-winning wineries. At $90, it's a reasonable value. The restaurant-winery pairings are as follows: Marcello’s Chophouse (Viña Montes), Gruet Steakhouse (Ferrari-Carano), Artichoke Café (Northern Italian Wines of Neal Rosenthal), Seasons (Londer Vineyards), Le Café Miche (Freemark Abbey), Scalo (Antinori), Savoy (Merryvale Vineyards) and Prairie Star (Turnbull Wine Cellars). Dinners begin at 7 p.m.
For those who love to see and be seen, the most popular event is the Grand Tasting, which takes place at Old Town’s San Felipe Plaza (in front of Seasons) on Friday, June 27, at a cost of $95. This is a “must attend” event—there'll be food offerings from 24 local restaurants, as well as an equal number of wineries pouring samples of their magic potions.
The events conclude on Saturday, June 28, at Prairie Star Restaurant, with a wine tasting and dinner, as well as an art and wine auction that begin at 6 p.m. Cost is $200, or $160 if combined with any other event.
If you thought wine tastings and symphony gatherings are made up of a bunch of snotty old coots, open your mind. For 16 years, this event has brought together people of all types for a great cause—just as wine and music combine to create a rockin’ good time for all. Visit vintagealbuquerque.org for the full events listing.
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