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Food and Wine Festivals

Growing up in Aspen and working for a catering business I had more than one opportunity to partake of the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, which to a high schooler was one big party with great free food, and occasionally, people who didn't bother to check ID to get a drink. I'm sure they've gotten a little more tight on security these days, and the only way I could go now would be to pay, but if you don't mind a bit of a mob scene, food and wine festivals can be a lot of fun and a great way to rub shoulders with some top names in food and wine. Here's a list of the main festivals in the U.S.

Naples Winter Wine Festival, Naples, Fla., Feb. 4-6, 2005, (239) 514-2239

Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, Austin, Texas, April 1-4, (512) 542-9463

Taste of Vail, Vail, Colo., April 7-10, call (888) 311-5665

Florida Winefest and Auction, Sarasota, Fla., April 13-18, (877) 352-9463

Taste Washington Ultimate Wine & Food Event, Seattle, Wash., April 16-18, (206) 667-9463

Nantucket Wine and Food Festival, Nantucket Island, Mass., May 19-23, (508) 228-1128

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, New Orleans, May 26-30, (504) 529-9463

Napa Valley Wine Auction, St. Helena, Calif., June 3-6, call (707) 963-3388

Food & Wine Magazine Classic at Aspen, Aspen, Colo., June 18-20, contact Todd Peters, (212) 382-5880

Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, July 8-11, (800) KAPALUA

Interlochen Wine, Food & Fine Arts Festival, Interlochen, Mich., May 30, call (231) 276-7141

South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Miami, Feb. 25-27, 2005, (305) FIU-WINE

Biltmore International Food & Wine Weekend, April 30-May 2, Coral Gables, Fla., (305) 273-6015

Miami Wine & Food Festival, Miami, (formerly The Biltmore Great South Florida Wine Festival), April 30-May 1, (786) 596-WINE

For more information and additional festival listings, see Gayot.Com.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud