Finding a great bottle of wine can be an adventure or a crapshoot. You can spend years educating yourself about grapes, vintages and vineyards, or you can simply trust the little info tags ("A facetious little wine, with hints of birch and guava") that punctuate the shelves of your local liquor superstore. Now there's a third option: today's Grand Tasting, the highlight of the Denver International Wine Festival.
More than 250 wines -- from seventy wineries and sixteen countries -- will be represented at the featured event, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. at the Oxford Hotel, 1600 17th Street. Participants can sample and buy exotic wines from France and Uruguay or from vineyards much closer at hand (such as Colorado's Western Slope) and nibble on offerings from McCormick's, Whole Foods, the Broadmoor, Il Fornaio and Concertos in Chocolate. Optional educational seminars, including a "Wine & Sex" chat by Denver wine columnist Jennifer Rosen, will be held between 9 a.m. and noon.
Tickets, $95 per person, include a subscription to Wine Country International magazine. VIP tickets, $120, include tastings of premium hand-crafted wines; seminars are $25 each. A portion of the proceeds goes to local charities, including the Colorado Restaurant Association's ProStart Fund, which provides scholarships to culinary students.
For more information, call 303-664-5700 or go to www.denverwinefest.com. -- Karen Bowers
Sofa, So Good
Which part of the boss's reality do you desire on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart? Is it the weekly dirty doings, or the digs in which they take place? Specifically, if it's the couch -- the sleek Gus Modern sofa in Martha's lobby -- that you savor, there's only one place in these parts where you'll find one: SwankSpace, 3615 West 32nd Avenue, a Highlands Square furnishings emporium. In a playful move, SwankSpace hosts an Apprentice Party and Sale tonight at 7 p.m. (and, ostensibly, every Wednesday night as long as the show continues to air), with television viewing, discounts on Stewart's sexy seating, and "Purple Door" specials throughout the store. You're sure to fit in. For more details, call 720-855-0725. -- Susan Froyd
The Spiderwick Chronicles Trunk Show comes to town.
Author Holly Black and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi first collaborated on the Spiderwick Chronicles, a best-selling five-book serial for advanced early readers about the Grace children's interaction with the faerie world. At the heart of those adventures are the bizarre findings purportedly left behind in journals belonging to a Victorian-age ancestor named Arthur, who drew and wrote about faeries and their ilk.
Now young Spiderwick fans can dig into Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, a remarkable and well-defined mixture of fantasy and science that pairs DiTerlizzi's incredibly detailed, Audubon-style portraits with Black's interpretations of Arthur's journal entries and commentary. The new book presents a totally original picture of familiar creatures rooted in folklore, and word is that kids love it. They giggle and widen their eyes, turning the pages as they turn over in their minds what it would be like to encounter Spiderwick's sprites, elves and brownies in the wild.
Black and DiTerlizzi will travel through the area with their Spiderwick Chronicles Trunk Show, beginning today at 6 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch (9315 Dorchester Street, 303-470-7050) and continuing tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Bookies (4315 East Mississippi Avenue, 303-759-1117) and at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Littleton (8136 West Bowles Avenue, 303-948-9565). -- Susan Froyd
Celebrate women -- biblically.
Life is harsh for the characters who populate The Red Tent, Anita Diamant's best-selling novel, which imagines a woman's world in Old Testament times. Their desert home is cruel, their lives filled with relentless work and constant uncertainty, and childbirth is a rite of passage fraught with terror, even death. Yet the women find reprieve in feminine ritual, gathering together in tents and circles to laugh and learn. Dinah, the main character, learns that the way to survive, physically and emotionally, is to plug into the knowledge that passes from mother to daughter, aunt to niece, sister to sister.
Though Boulder is a long way from the unforgiving climes of Diamant's biblical tale, organizers of the Red Tent Lounge -- a woman-centric event taking place tonight at Boulder's Millennium Harvest House Hotel -- say the need to celebrate women is as important today as it was 2,000 years ago. To that end, they've assembled a girl-powered program that runs from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. and includes dinner, an artists' bazaar and marketplace, and a spiritually minded presentation from author Lila Sophia Tresemer, who co-founded the Path of Ceremonial Arts for Women at Boulder's StarHouse. After a nice meal, foot rubs and massages, the drumming, belly-dancing and altar worship begin in earnest. Fortunately, unlike Diamant's ladies, participants in the Red Tent Lounge won't have to wake up early tomorrow morning to skin goats.
The Harvest House is at 1345 28th Street; for information and tickets, $85, call 303-442-3124 or visit www.whynotshootforthemoon.com. -- Laura Bond