This week marks the 15th year of Aspen’s ArtCrush summer benefit. From July 31-August 2, a series of events—WineCrush, PreviewCrush, ArtCrush, and AfterpartyCrush—bring together some of the biggest names in art, wine, and business. Collectors, artists, gallerists, connoisseurs, celebrities, and the like gather to celebrate and raise fund for the Aspen Art Museum and honor the annual Aspen Award for Art, this year going to Lisa Yuskavage.
The festivities kick off with WineCrush, an unforgettable evening hosted by Amy and John Phelan in their home filled with an incredible collection of contemporary art. A dinner catered by Caribou Club is paired with rare and vintage wines chosen by Jay Fletcher of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.
Whitewaller chats below with Fletcher about what we can expect from this year’s offering of fine wine, and we learned that Aspen consumes more fine wine per capita than any other town.
WHITEWALLER: You first came to Aspen 41 years ago, where you started your career in wine. What did Aspen look like, in terms of wine, when you arrived?
JAY FLETCHER: When I came to Aspen 41 years ago I did not know a thing about wine. Nothing. So I have no idea.
WW: You’ve now trained Master Sommeliers in Aspen, and the city has top wine cellars and programs at restaurants like Matsuhisa, the Little Nell, 7908, Caribou Club, Cache Cache, and Jimmy’s. How would you describe the wine culture in Aspen today?
JF: We have one of the best small town international wine markets in the world. Period. No town sells and drinks more fine wine than Aspen per capita. None.
WW: What makes WineCrush such a rare and special event?
JF: Fine wine, great art, great food, great service, and fun.
WW: The event brings together some of the oldest and rarest wines. What is the oldest wine that will be served this year? What is the rarest?
JF: WineCrush serves world class wine in a sit-down service situation but ArtCrush also highlights true old and rare wines. This year’s oldest tasting wine will be 1987 Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque and the rarest wine will be Domaine Pegau Chateauneuf Du Pape Cuvee Lawrence 1990 in Magnum.
WW: What do you look forward to the most about WineCrush each year?
JF: WineCrush is one of the great art and wine events in the world, with more fine wine available than anywhere I have ever seen.