2005 to present!
Back in 2003, Christopher and Darcy Davies, the founders of Wine Country International © magazine first moved to Colorado with their first issue hot off the press. At that time, they had plans to create an internationally recognized wine competition and wine festival. They moved to Colorado because of its central location and modern International airport that would allow them to easily trek the world reporting about interesting wine regions, cuisine and luxury travel.
During a visit to Chile in 2004, they had the pleasure of meeting Aurelio Montes at Vina Montes Winery. When he learned that the Davies' lived near Denver, he asked "Why are all the wine festivals in Colorado held in the mountains?" They answered, "We don't know".
After months of market research and industry input, the Davies launched Denver’s first-ever, international wine festival. The inaugural festival was held at The Oxford Hotel, an historic jewel in Denver's Lower Downtown (LoDo) district. Catering and event execution was masterfully provided by the catering division of McCormick's Fish House & Bar.
The inaugural DIWF showcased more than 350 premium wines from 17 countries!
Guests enjoyed mingling with winemakers who poured tastes of premium reserve wines, gourmet food samplings and provided educational seminar's. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper declared the week of the DIWF as “Denver Wine Week”. During this week, wineries conducted eleven "vintner's dinners at top flight Denver restaurants.
The Denver International Wine Festival quickly became one of the nations most prestigious international wine festivals.
The 2006 Denver International Wine Festival moved to a larger venue, The Mile High Station. Mayor John Hickenlooper once declared the week of the DIWF (Oct 30 to Nov 5, 2006) as “Denver Wine Week”. The festival and its consumer/trade events were held on Thursday November 2 and Saturday November 4, 2006 concluding a full-week celebration of wine & food events in Denver.
The new venue provide space to host a VIP lounge and educational seminar's and guided tastings. To elevate the festival's status, Wine Country Network, hired world renowned sommelier Daniel Johnnes to be the official host of 2006 the Denver International Wine Festival.
Mr. Johnnes is the Wine Director for Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group, including Restaurant Daniel, DB Bistro, DBGB, Cafe Boulud and Bar Boulud. He joined chef Boulud after spending 20 years as the Wine Director for Montrachet and the Myriad restaurant group. He is also an author, an importer, and the organizer of the Burgundy celebration, La Paulée de New York. Daniel received the highest honor awarded to a wine professional in the United States when the James Beard Foundation named him ‘2006 Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year’.
During that year, Wine Country Network launched an exciting new chef's food and wine competition, "The Taste of Elegance" paired 14 restaurants with 28 Gold and Silver Medal winning wines from the 2006 Denver International Wine Competition. 440 "foodies" attended this delicious competition. A live auction raised more than $14,000 for Gilda's Club of Denver. The "Grand Tasting" of International Wines showcased more than 400 wines from 19 countries, including Korea!
In 2007 and 2008, The Denver International Wine Festival was held at the University Of Denver's HRTM School. During those festivals, educational seminars were expanded and activities included student participation in many event management activities. An annual, pre-festival, Grand Vintners Dinner was launched in 2007, the inaugural was hosted by Cristina Mariani-May, Co-Director of Banfi Vintners. The John S. Davies Endowment Fund was also established the same year to generate scholarships for HRTM students. In 2008, the Grand Vintner's Dinner featured Silver Oak Cellars. The dinner's cuisine was expertly prepared by HRTM chef Paul Schutt and The Broadmoor's Celebrated Master Chef Bertrand Bouquin.
In 2009, The Denver International Wine Festival moved back to the Mile High Station, making for a more convenient location to Downtown Denver. Attendance increased by 30% that year. During that year, the festival choose a new beneficiary, The Foundation For Sight and Sound and Its Help America Hear Program.
In 2010, The 6th annual DIWF was held again at the Mile High Station. The Taste of Elegance Chefs Food and Wine Competition had a record turnout. Celebrity Judges included Hosea Rosenberg, Top Chef ™ Season 5 winner and Chef Kelly Liken, Chef owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken, a Top Chef™ Season 7 contestant as well as Iron Chef ™contestant. Last minute turnout at the Grand Tasting of International Wines caused a temporary shortage of wine glasses and shortage of event space. Record level auction sales benefited The Foundation For Sight and Sound and Its Help America Hear Program.
Plans are already underway for the 7th annual Denver International Wine Festival, November 2 to 5, 2011. A larger, more modern venue is now being secured to help enhance the experience for festival attendees.
The success of the Denver International Wine Festival would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors and wineries.