Wine Festival takes hiatus from Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Wine Festival takes hiatus from Steamboat Springs

Wineries serve during the Steamboat Wine Festival Toast of Steamboat event.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After a 14-year run, the organizers of the Steamboat Wine Festival have announced the event will not be returning in August.

The three-day event offered everything from the Stroll of Steamboat tasting event downtown, mimosas at the top of Steamboat Ski Area, food tastings, seminars and cooking demonstrations along with Sunday's Toast of Steamboat finale in Gondola Square.

The festival was attended by more than 3,500 people, and the main tasting events typically sold out.

"It's an event we are sad to see not happening this year," said Maren McCutchan, public relations manager with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

The Steamboat Chamber helped promote the festival, but the event was put on by a private company that changed ownership a couple of years ago. The event’s current owners, Townsquare Media, recently notified past attendees that the event would not be occuring.

"We will be taking a year off to make improvements to the event and hope to return next year," the promoters wrote in an email to past attendees. "All of us here at the Steamboat Wine Festival appreciate the amazing memories you have shared with us, and we hope to make more in 2019."

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It is not clear why the company decided to take the year off from Steamboat. Townsquare Media, an events company based out of Connecticut, did not respond to requests for comment.

The festival donated a portion of proceeds to Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports, or STARS.

"I think the group that came in didn't maybe know what all they were getting into," STARS Executive Director Julie Taulman said.

She said the loss of the festival as a fundraiser will not have a huge impact on STARS.

"It may have a $10,000 effect on us, but we also don't have the labor and the work that goes with it," Taulman said.

STARS will still hold its Farm to Barn Dinner fundraiser, which coincided with the festival.

In recent years, the festival has occurred on already-busy Steamboat weekends.

In 2017, the festival was joined by the Steamboat Stinger mountain bike and running races, All Arts Festival, Steamboat Movement Fest, Steamboat Triathlon and the Mini Cooper car show.

The Steamboat Chamber and the city of Steamboat Springs would rather events be more spread out through the summer.

"It's a complex topic here in Steamboat Springs, and we can definitely improve on our event management and permitting," City Manager Gary Suiter said.

Suiter said a committee of staff members has recently been formed to work on those goals.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done, Suiter said, and it could take between 12 and 18 months.

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"It's a work in progress," Suiter said.

The city, Chamber and Steamboat Pilot & Today will be hosting a discussion on the topic from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The community is encouraged to attend and offer their feedback on the subject of special events.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.