For more than two decades, the Downtown Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop has been regarded as one of Truckee's iconic annual events.
Event founder Brinn Talbot recalls how it all began. In 2004, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association (NLTRA)’s Autumn Food & Wine Festival in Olympic Valley sought to expand the festival to include neighboring communities such as Truckee and Tahoe City. The NLTRA approached the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce to gauge their interest in putting on a Truckee food and wine event. The timing coincided with the Donner Party Hike, which the Chamber already organized, so they offered the food and wine event to Talbot via her PR firm, Switchback PR + Marketing.
Since she already represented Truckee as a destination as well as several restaurant clients located downtown, it made sense to take on the project. Furthermore, Switchback was interested in having a signature event with a percent of proceeds benefiting a selected non-profit. It seemed like a great opportunity, despite having just two months to pull the whole thing together. On Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004, merchants in historic downtown Truckee offered wine and appetizer tastings to the 500 wine-lovers, food connoisseurs and shoppers who flocked to the event.
Since then, the event has gained momentum in each successive year. The Autumn Food & Wine festival changed the location and timing of their event in 2007, moving it the weekend after Labor Day. Because one of the objectives was to bring locals and tourists into downtown Truckee during the slower off-season, and because September is still part of Truckee’s high-season, Talbot decided to break away from their event, keep with the early October timing and making hers a stand-alone event.
The idea was to create a fun and festive atmosphere in which people could explore the various shops, boutiques, and galleries while also sampling a selection of wines from local wineries. The event also sought to promote the beautiful fall season as a tourism draw for the Truckee and Lake Tahoe communities of the High Sierra.
The concept worked. Shop and restaurant owners raved about the fun new event and enthusiastically encouraged Talbot to make it an annual tradition. After the success its inaugural year, over the years, the event has grown in popularity and now attracts hundreds of locals and visitors each year. It has become an important part of the Truckee community and serves as a showcase for the town’s thriving arts and culture scene. In addition to wine tasting and shopping, the event features live music with local musicians.
In addition, it is important to Talbot that the event not only support local businesses, but that it contributes to the fabric of the community. "After the bills are paid, we donate a sum of money each year to a local non-profit organization. This is a huge part of the event and I'm extremely proud to give back to the community through this effort."
Over the past 20 years the event has donated more than $50,000 to local non-profit organizations. Some of the past partners include: Truckee Donner Horsemen Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Food Hub, Tahoe Safe Alliance, Girls on the Run, The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe and Sierra Senior Services.
This year our event's proceeds go to Friends of the Truckee Library and their "Library Up" Campaign to build a new library and cultural center in Truckee.
The Downtown Truckee Wine Walk & Shop tickets are on sale now! Choose from a full event ticket, or a "Designated Driver" option which offers participants the opportunity to sample food offerings only. There’s even a new “Pastries and Prosecco” pre-event anniversary celebration as a fun new option for event participants. Tickets may be purchased here.