Salt Lake magazine

Unlimited Sips of Some of Colorado’s Finest Wines

July 19, 2017

The climate and soil of Southwestern Colorado Palisade wine region is ripe for divine grape flavors. Colorado’s vineyards sit at elevations similar to Argentina and are the highest in North America (4500 feet to over 7000 feet above sea level). The low humidity and complex soils of the Palisade wine region are perfect for vintners. Each plateau and valley offer up different microclimates, making each wine unique, but the overall growing season of warm days and cool nights lends itself to making phenomenal wines.

Compared to wine regions like the Napa Valley, the Colorado wine region is a hidden gem, but for 26 years, Colorado Mountain Winefest has been getting the word out. On the weekend of September 14-17, more than 6,000 wine lovers from all over the world will descend upon the mountain wine town of Palisade, Colorado, for the opportunity to sip wines from 55 participating wineries. What started in 1992 with just five wineries and less than 500 attendees, has grown into Colorado’s largest wine festival. The four-day event is filled with wine-themed events: chef demos, tasting seminars, live music and, of course, unlimited sips. Seconds are encouraged.

The last few years, the vintners of Colorado started making a splash on the wine map. Recently, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast gave multiple Colorado wineries 80+ rankings. Several were awarded silver, gold and double awards. Attendees will get an opportunity to taste some of these, along with winners of the Colorado Governor’s Cup, in the VIP tent.

But this event is more than an excuse to sip wine in a beautiful mountain setting. Grand Junction and Grand Valley restaurants will offer chef demonstrations, preparing dishes that home cooks can recreate using common ingredients and, of course, Colorado wines. 

The festival also includes seminars: Geek Speak, an in-depth look at interpreting wine labels; and Sip and Swirl like a Somm, a class in ordering wine at a restaurant and tips for tasting wine for maximum enjoyment.

For people new to Colorado’s wine region, the festival will offer bus tours to visit the local wineries. They’ll do the driving to allow guests to savor the wineries offerings.

The point of Colorado Mountain Winefest is to remove the intimidation of wine drinking. “The festival makes wine really accessible,” says Cassidee Shull, executive director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE). “We want everyone to have a great time and find a few bottles that they can take home at the end of the day.” 

You’ll also take home a free wine glass, wine tote, recipes and unlimited flavors and inspirations for your next trip to the wine store. All ticketing information can be found online at coloradowinefest.com.

Andrea Peterson

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