Join us as we kick off the Verde Valley Wine Festival with an exciting evening of fun, food, entertainment, and 100 percent Arizona-grown and produced wines!

Set in the historic town of Clarkdale Arizona, you will savor the scenery, while indulging in the culinary delights expertly prepared by Celebrity Chef Mike Carrino and Merkin’s brilliant Chef Chris Smith. For certain it will be a tantalizing culinary experience paired with the finest Arizona wines.

Entertainment by the enchanting 3 piece jazz band “What’s The Big Idea” from Phoenix, Arizona, featuring Josh Kneisel (bass), David Drew (drums), and Mike Kleinschmidt (piano).

Later in the evening you’ll feel the excitement in the room as our live auctioneer Todd Ventura and his team take the floor! Get your bidding numbers ready – you won’t be able to resist competing for this year’s exclusive packages!

There is no better way to FUNd the scholarship, advocacy, and promotion of the quality of 100% Arizona grown and produced wines than this event!

Please Join Us!

November 6th, 2020
6:00 – 9:00 PM

The Platinum VIP Experience covers the Friday night pre-festival live auction and celebration, and 1 VIP ticket for the Saturday Verde Valley Wine Festival $199

Friday night only – covers pre-festival live auction and celebration $99


Chef Michael Carrino, was inducted into the prestigious society of wine gurus, chefs, hotel executives and restaurant owners, known as The Chaîne des Rotisseurs, at the impressive age of 28. On a remarkable ten separate occasions, Chef Carrino was invited to the prestigious James Beard Foundation in New York City to present his views and philosophies through food. He was also invited to assist the chefs of Colonial Williamsburg for the 400th anniversary celebration of Jamestown, cooking for the likes of President George W. Bush, former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, and dignitaries such as Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.


Chef Christopher Smith, was born and raised in Flagstaff, he attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute and has a long history creating and mastering his skills in the kitchen.  Once a personal Chef as well as a Restaurateur, he has also held the Executive Chef title at Robert’s Creekside, Sedona Rouge, the Asylum, and Los Abrigados.  Smith believes in keeping his menu as local as possible. He makes his own bread, pasta, and sauces, using Arizona flour and sources much of the produce from Merkin’s own orchard, gardens and greenhouse.

Todd Ventura is a life-long resident of San Luis Obispo County and was fascinated by auctions at an early age. After college and several successful business ventures, Todd attended the World Champion College of Auctioneering; taking courses covering the auctioneer’s chant, bid spotting, salesmanship and ethics. After more than 20 years auctioneering Todd and his crew have entertained thousands and raised millions of dollars at auctions.