Wine tasters raise toasts, funds |

Wine tasters raise toasts, funds

Amanda Holt Miller
Western Garfield County Staff

BATTLEMENT MESA ” About 200 people showed up at the Battlement Mesa Golf Club Sunday afternoon to eat, drink and be merry.

Wines from four Colorado wineries were served alongside a myriad of cheeses and appetizers at the second-annual wine tasting event to benefit the Mt. Calahan Community Fund.

Two members of Symphony in the Valley played for part of the afternoon. Members of the new Grand Valley High School band also played for the first half-hour of the event.

“The high school here hasn’t had a band in almost 20 years,” said Barbara Pavlin, the co-chair of the Mt. Calahan Fund. “We gave them some money last year to help them get started and they’re playing for us tonight.”

The Mt. Calahan Community Fund collects money and distributes it as grants to local organizations.

“It’s a dollar in and a dollar out,” said Maryann McKinley, the founder of the fund. “There is no administrative cost.”

The foundation, run entirely by volunteers, started four years ago in response to a challenge from the Boettcher Foundation in Denver to start a new geographical area support fund on the Western Slope. The first two years, the Boettcher Foundation matched Mt. Calahan’s $5,000 fund-raising.

The organization hosted its first wine tasting at about this time last year. The foundation raised $10,000 on its own in 2004, thanks in large part to the creative event. The wine tasting, in its second year, is the foundation’s biggest fund-raiser.

McKinley said she expected this year’s wine tasting to be almost twice as successful as it was last fall. She said community sponsors had already donated almost $2,500 before any of the $25 tickets were sold.

“This is great,” said Mike Silk, a Battlement Mesa resident. “We’re from California. We’re almost what you would call connoisseurs. We have racks of wine at home. And we know this wine because we drink it.”

McKinley was very careful to select only local wines, made with Colorado-grown grapes, said Nancy Jay, a co-chair of the foundation.

“I think she focused so much on Colorado wines because we are a geographical area fund,” Jay said. “It’s a really neat idea.”

Contact Amanda Holt Miller at 625-3245 ext. 103

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