3 Things to Know Before Attending Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta

Wine and Chile in Santa Fe

If you’re looking for a world-class culinary experience alongside wine tastings, auctions, seminars, and more, look no further than the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta! This weeklong event features a little something for everyone, from wine and food, to golf, to film screenings, and everything in between.

The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta brings together over 90 different wineries from around the country, along with 75 of Santa Fe’s world-class restaurants. The resulting collaborations blend nationally recognized wine and cuisine with the unique culture and traditions of northern New Mexico. In addition to scheduled events throughout the week, the Fiesta culminates with a Grand Tasting at the end of the week featuring food and wine from all participants.

When: September 22 – 29, 2019

Where: In and around Santa Fe

Cost: $25 - $200+

Tip #1 - Do Your Research Before Choosing a Winery Dinner (Or See Our Recommendations!)

Interested in fine dining? The Fiesta’s winery dinners give you the opportunity to explore local restaurants and pair the experience with fantastic wine. Restaurants like Bouche, Rio Chama, the Pink Adobe, La Casa Sena, and more open their doors to locals and visitors alike for evenings featuring the best food and wine that New Mexico has to offer. If you’re thinking about attending a winery dinner, we recommend doing your research and finding that perfect match of both a restaurant you’re excited to eat at and a winery you’re interested in learning more about.

Since the dinners are usually presentation format where the sommelier or someone from the winery talks a bit about each wine between courses, we suggest looking for smaller restaurants with a more intimate atmosphere. Not only will you be able to hear the presenter better, but there’s also less strain on the kitchens and more personalized service. One of our favorite smaller restaurants with great food and a very knowledgeable wine staff is Trattoria A Mano. Between the two dinners they are hosting this year, we would recommend the Castello Banfi dinner on Wednesday, Sept 26th ($130/pp, 6pm).

Two other dinners we’re excited about this year - Rombauer at Luminaria (because EVERYONE loves their chardonnay and Chef Jason Stewart is one of this year’s newcomers to watch) and Duckhorn at Anasazi Restaurant (another stellar wine producer, and another relatively new chef we’re excited to have in Santa Fe).

Tip #2 - On a budget? The Film Fiesta is Wine & Chile’s Best Bargain

Whether you’re a film buff or just looking for a unique, affordable activity during the week, be sure to check out the Film Fiesta. The event is held at Violet Crown Theater in the Railyard District of Santa Fe, and features a wine and food reception followed by a film screening of SOMM3. The event starts at 5pm on September 22nd, and is $30 per person, making it a great bargain for those looking to eat, drink, and learn more about wine without breaking the bank!

Tip #3 - Attending a Lunch Seminar? Skip Bordeaux and Burgundy, instead head to the Valle de Guadalupe

Interested in learning more about wine? Be sure to check out the Fiesta’s many fun, informative wine seminars. These events take place throughout the week, and cost between $85 and $110 depending on the event. Learn how to identify and appreciate the different varietals, grapes, regions, and vintages that go into different types of wine. Explore wine and cheese pairings, wines from Argentina, Mexico, California, and more. Learn more from expert sommeliers, and maybe even win a bottle of wine in the process! If you’re interested in a wine seminar, we recommend checking out the wines of Valle de Guadalupe seminar hosted by Sazon chef Fernando Olea, which will give you the inside scoop on an up-and-coming region in the world of wine! Chef Fernando is incredibly passionate about introducing people to the fine wines of Mexico, and the Valle de Guadalupe is an up-and-coming region that you’ll be hearing more about in the years to come.

Interested in Exploring the Food, History, and Culture of Santa Fe? Check Out Our Walking Tours!

Here’s our roundup of everything else you need to know about Santa Fe Wine and Chile 2019:

Wine and Chile Fiesta Events

If you’re in town for the Wine and Chile Fiesta, you won’t want to miss out on the events held throughout the week! They vary from expansive tastings to small, intimate events, and can be a great way to develop your palate and learn more about food and wine.

Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta Grand Tasting

This event is the culmination of an entire week of fantastic events featuring wine, food, art, and more. Taking place on Saturday September 28th from 1-4, the grand tasting features all of the participants of the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta, including over 75 Santa Fe restaurants and over 100 wineries from around the world. Advertised as “the most fun you can have with a wine glass,” the event takes place on the grounds of the Santa Fe Opera, and treats visitors to sweeping panoramas of the northern New Mexico landscape.

Tickets start at $175 during the Early Bird Special, and increase to $195 after September 1st. There’s no parking at the Opera grounds without a ticket, so be sure to plan ahead and purchase an electronic Parking Pass for $30. Alternatively, there are free shuttle rides to and from the Opera grounds beginning at 11:30 am and departing from the PERA building at the intersection of Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail in downtown Santa Fe.

If you’re looking to experience delicious food, world-class wine, and the art, culture, and ambience of Santa Fe and the surrounding area, the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta is the perfect event for you! Some of the events sell out quickly, so make sure to schedule your plans to visit the City Different as soon as you can!

Wine and Chile Fiesta Guest Chef Demos

There are a variety of guest chef demos that take place throughout the week, ranging from $85 to $150 in price, and taking place all over Santa Fe. Professional chefs show off their skills at live demonstrations, and each dish is paired with excellent wine. Topics can range from dishes based on art and culture about food to modernist cooking techniques and much more. We particularly recommend checking out the Georgia O’Keefe Immersion Guest Chef Demo and Luncheon, hosted by chef John Sedlar of Eloisa. The demo includes a continental breakfast and art talk, a self-guided tour of the O’Keefe Museum, and a lunch at the nearby Santa Fe School of Cooking that explores O’Keefe’s ideas about food and cooking.

Guest Chef Luncheons

Experience the best food and wine that the Wine and Chile Fiesta has to offer at these special guest chef luncheons. These events cost between $125 and $175 depending on the event, and take place at different locations throughout the week. These skilled chefs share their talents with you in exclusive luncheons featuring a variety of different cuisines. Enjoy multiple courses, world-class wines, and the fantastic ambience of these events!

Live Auctions

Enjoy food, wine, and live auctions throughout the week of the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta! On September 26th from 11:30-2:00, there’s a guest chef luncheon followed by a live auction where they will auction off wine slots to benefit Santa Fe’s culinary arts programs, including Santa Fe’s Cooking with Kids. The event is $150 and takes place at the historic Eldorado Hotel.

On September 27th, enjoy a reserve wine tasting and silent auction to bid on 75 rare wine lots. The $110 event features some of best wines of the week along with small plates, and runs from 4:00 to 6:30. If you’re looking for an exclusive experience, be sure to check out the Gold Pass, which gets you into the reserve wine tasting a half-hour early!

Gruet Golf Classic

Whether you’re a golf fan or just enjoy a good class of wine and the stunning landscape of northern New Mexico, the Gruet Golf Classic has a little something for everyone. The event takes place at Towa Golf Course, a short drive north of Santa Fe, and features food and wine served at every third hole. The $125 fee includes food, wine, green fee, cart, range balls, and prizes for the winners.

Gran Fondo Bike Ride

The Gran Fondo Bike Ride features professional bike riders alongside enthusiastic amateurs on a route that winds through some of northern New Mexico’s historic small towns. Choose from a 75, 45, or 25-mile loop and explore towns like Nambe, Cundiyo, Truchas, and Chimayo, enjoying food and wine along the way! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast this is a great way to take in the amazing views, get a glimpse of New Mexican culture, and enjoy stellar food and wine to boot! The $75 event is held on September 29th, with a 7:30am check-in and an 8:30am start time.