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Poster artist a ‘Colorado girl’

By Dave Buchanan
The 16th annual Colorado Mountain Winefest is less than a month away - it runs Sept. 13-16 -and Winefest director Marilyn Jensen called recently to promote ticket sales and encourage attendance at the various seminars being offered. While most of the dinners with winemakers have long sold out (try anyway, some restaurants have a waiting list), a few restaurants keep lists of ticketholders interested in selling their reservations. Seminars include a hands-on day helping with harvest, a presentation on winemaking and the inestimable Max Ariza of Johnson & Wales University presenting a wine-and-cheese pairing. There also will be a representative from the Reidel (rhymes with needle) Crystal of America showing the importance of having the right glassware. There still are some seminar tickets remaining but Jensen assured me that as the Winefest nears those seats will be taken. "If you have your heart set on attending one of the seminars, now is the time to buy your ticket," Jensen advised. "Most of the seminars will sell out." Another popular offering is the annual poster, which this year was designed and painted by pastel artist Carole Katchen of Hot Springs, Ark. Or is it, of Denver? "Well, I grew up in Denver so I'm really a Colorado girl at heart," said Katchen in a recent conversation by phone from her Arkansas home/studio. This year's Winefest poster, titled "Kick Up Your Heels," captures the blithe spirit of the event, showing two bandana and toque-wearing chefs cheerfully stomping away in a vat full of grapes while hoisting wineglasses over their heads. Katchen said she designed this year's poster after becoming entranced by the very idea of someone actually stomping grapes. "I've never heard of another wine festival where people can actually stomp grapes," said Katchen, who also has painted the poster for the Telluride Wine Festival and frequently shows her work in galleries there. "When I heard about that, it was such an amazing image." Jensen's staff sent Katchen some photos of past Winefests as well as the Grand Valley and the artist immediately was taken by the idea of having so much fun in the shadow of Grand Mesa. "When I heard about the dueling chefs and people stomping grapes and the mountains, I tried to create an image that would really reflect the winefest," Katchen said. "It sure looks fun." She still has family in Denver and will attend her first Winefest this year with her sister Linda. Carole will be signing posters Saturday (Sept. 15) during the Festival in the Park at Palisade's Riverbend Park. But even more, she's excited about the seminar she'll attend Sept. 14 pairing two of the major food groups, wine and chocolate, at the Courtyard Marriott. "That sounds so decadent,"said Katchen of the evening's focus. "What total fun." Tickets for the Colorado Mountain Winefest as well prints of Katchen's painting and posters from previous Winefests can be purchased here.