Blind Wine Tasting
Somms vs. Makers
with Dustin Clements, Valerie Warburton & Joe Buckel


Friday 9/29/2023
6:00 – 8:00

Culinary Classroom


Join local wine experts Dustin Clements (Communion Wine Bar), Valarie Warburton (Empire Distributors/Petite Maison) and Joe Buckel (Buckel Family Wines) for an entertaining and informative blind wine tasting event, where they try to identify several wines without advance knowledge of what they are. Guests are invited into Ah Haa’s culinary classroom to watch them taste their way through a number of wines while trying to identify the variety, origin, and vintage of each.


Not only will you gain an appreciation for the huge range of skills and knowledge that go into understanding wine, but you will witness the difference between how a sommelier evaluates a wine compared to a winemaker. You’ll even get to taste some of the wines along with the wine experts, learning firsthand how elements of sight, smell, flavor and one’s own palate help you identify and appreciate what you’re drinking.


Admission includes wine and bites. Select bottles of wine will also be for sale at the event.







Dustin Clements moved to the region in the winter of 2005/2006. He has worked within the food and beverage industry throughout his tenure here. In 2010 he started working in the retail alcohol side of the industry, and started studying for his sommelier certifications. He continued in the retail and restaurant side of the industry until 2017 when his passion led him to wholesale sales, as well as production. He spent the next few years as assistant winemaker at Sutcliffe Vineyards in Cortez, CO, as well as a sales rep for a small boutique wine distributor. He was then the award-winning head distiller for Telluride Distilling Company. Now he continues the path as one of the managing partners of Communion Wine Bar, with the roles of chef and sommelier.


Valerie Warburton is a Certified Sommelier and is the local Account Rep for Empire Distributors, a Denver based Wine and Spirits company, as well as a Sommelier at Petite Maison a few nights a week. In the winter you will find her slinging wine at Alpino Vino. Outside of the wine world, she teaches yoga, loves pottery and mountain biking and losing her mind over wildflowers.


To put it simply, Joe Buckel knows wine. From studying his father’s impressive cellar, to crafting exquisite wines in Sonoma at Flowers Vineyard and Winery, BR Cohn Winery, and nearby at Sutcliffe Vineyards, to carving out his own niche here in Colorado, Joe Buckel lives and breathes good wine. With risk comes reward: Joe’s wines have received 90 point ratings from Wine Enthusiast. Highly passionate (and majorly scientific) about the process from harvest to bottle, he can think anyone under the table when it comes to wine. Fortunately for us, he is equally passionate about sharing the wealth of knowledge he’s picked up during his two decades in the business.