Wine Openers - Blog

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Growing market for Colorado wine won’t dim lure of Grand Valley

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wine writer Fred Tasker recently noted that Americans drank more wine last year for the 19th year in a row, up 2 percent to 360 million 12-bottle cases, according to wine consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. And second, Americans love American wine: California makes 58 percent of all the wine we drink. That’s not surprising, considering California produces about 90 percent of all U.S. wine. That’s 207.7 million cases worth an estimated $22 billion in retail ...

BookCliff Vineyards keeps Colorado in the Cups

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, December 20, 2013

As I noted earlier this week on (both???) my Facebook page(s) – which is a frustrating story all its own – John Garlich and Ulla Merz of BookCliff Vineyards in Boulder recently won their third Jefferson Cup award, the top prize in the annual Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition. That makes three (2010, 2012, 2013) wins in five years for BookCliff, with other Colorado wineries winning in 2009 (Boulder Creek) and 2011 (Canyon Wind Cellars). This year’s winning ...

State wine industry worth hefty $144 million

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Colorado wine is showing up on more tables and consumers are willing to pay more it, according to a report released Wednesday by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. The report, done by Colorado State University for the CWIDB, says that not only are Colorado wine consumers drinking more wine than their national counterparts – 3.41 gallons per year compared to the national level of 2.7 gallon – they are drinking more Colorado wine. The report also notes that that ...

Books lead the list of wine-related Christmas gifts

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oh, the weather outside is … Well, yes, this is a family column so let’s leave it at “brisk but Christmas-like.” Already the holiday season has been festive: Parker Carlson (Carlson Vineyards) enjoyed packed-house attendance last week during his three-day 25th Anniversary Holiday Open House and Eames Petersen (Alfred Eames Cellars) had his wine cave rocking with the Madrigal Choir during his Holiday Open House Dec. 1 at the Puesta del Sol Vineyards in ...

Take your time, enjoy the Thanksgiving wine

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, November 18, 2013

That fully loaded, sag-in-the-middle Thanksgiving table might be the biggest source of stress in a wine drinker’s year. A big roasted bird (or ham or wild beast), sweet dishes, sour dishes, tofu dishes, roasted, fried or canned vegetables, an assortment of relishes and finger food, the list goes on. And then someone tells you, “I can’t drink red wines, they give me headaches.” We call that a hangover, but you get the idea. You could serve Coke or Coors ...

Food and wine pairings bring new look to Colorado Mountain Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Colorado Mountain Winefest presented by the First National Bank of the Rockies continues to evolve and one of this year’s more-noticeable changes is the food-and-wine pairings featured Sept. 19-22 at a handful of restaurants in Grand Junction and Palisade. Gone, for the most part, are the popular but challenging “winemaker’s dinners," those sit-down gatherings that at times turned, well, exuberant, shall we say. In their stead are these more-intimate and ...

Blind tasting offers chance to taste-test against the judges

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Just as a mother can identify her unseen child by its laugh, a winemaker can pick out her or his wine without seeing the label. “I’m pretty sure this is my rosé,” said Brooke Webb, winemaker for Mesa Park Vineyards on East Orchard Mesa, while peering and sniffing at a glass of strawberry-red wine during the recent Best of Fest blind tasting sponsored by the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology. Even though the wine came from a bag-shrouded bottle, ...

The time to train: Off year gives growers window to next season

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

With an exasperated sigh, state viticulturist Horst Caspari grabbed at yet another untrimmed grapevine hanging from a trellis and wove the emerald fuse between two wires. “I know there won’t be many grapes this year in most of these places, but that’s no excuse not to be out here taking care of the vines,” said Caspari, midway through a morning tour of several Grand Valley vineyards. “You have to spend time in the vineyards this year so you get a good crop ...

Classic sign of the times: eating at the bar, mezcal for breakfast

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ASPEN — Mid-evening on a recent Saturday night and the stars were just coming out after Day Two of the 31st annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Fewer than half of the 10 seats at the bar at Rustique Bistro were occupied, one of them with me. I was eating at the bar for several reasons, not the least of which is the menu is the same as that in the dining room but the prices are about a third less expensive. And in Aspen, that counts a lot. Most restaurants offer bar-side ...

Colorado Urban Winefest coming of age with ‘best showing’ of Colorado wines

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DENVER – Colorado Urban Winefest continues to improve with age, not unlike the Colorado wine industry itself. Final attendance numbers showed around 1,500 wine enthusiasts turned out, including a robust walk-up traffic on a pleasant late-spring day, for Saturday’s third annual Colorado Urban Winefest presented by Westminster Total Beverage. “I’m really happy with the turnout and it’s really a gorgeous day,” said Cassidee Schull, director of the ...

With bud break slowed, grape growers play a waiting game

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Those shaggy-maned grape vines you see around the valley haven’t been ignored, they’re actual serving a purpose. It’s bud break around the Grand Valley, a time when most of the valley’s grape growers finish pruning their winter-long vines on the bet those still-tender roseate buds will survive anything Mother Nature might throw their way. However, with this spring a series of warm/cold, then warm-and-cold again fluctuations, nobody's quite sure how to ...

Pushing the edge with hybrid grapes

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jeff Stultz grows hybrid Norton grapes in these vineyards southwest of Cañon City, Colorado High along Oak Creek Grade, eight miles south of Cañon City where the pavement ends and the road melts into the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, travelers come upon an unexpected sight – neat rows of dark-green vines bearing deep-purple grapes. Vineyard owner Jeff Stultz says many people stop to take photos, unaware that back in Cañon City, in the tasting room at ...

Spring brings changes to Stone Cottage Cellars

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, April 12, 2013

An early summer afternoon view across the vineyards at Stone Cottage Cellars on Garvin Mesa near Paonia. The winery and vineyard sit at 6,200 feet, offering superb views of the North Fork Valley.   I wonder if there’s a time when winemakers get any sleep. They worry about late frosts and early heat spells, frigid winters and dry summers, about having too many leaves and not enough grape clusters. “Well, mid-January isn’t too bad,” laughed Karen ...

The world at their door – Peak Spirits Distillery gaining national attention

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

REDLANDS MESA – The mid-March sun streams into the south-facing windows, spreading warmth and light into the spacious interior of Anna and Lance Hanson’s hardwood-floored home. A fireplace is sunk into a wall of hand-dug rock and just outside the wall of glass wanders a small flock of sheep, carefully monitored by Stella and Luna, the Hanson’s twin Great Pyrenees guard dogs. This multi-story house, perched like a sentinel overlooking the Hanson’s 72-acre farm, ...

Seasonal changes begin on the (organic) farm

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Let’s see. You’ve visited most of the wineries in the valley, bent your elbow at a nearby distillery and quaffed a brew or two (I love that) at one of the local brewpubs. What to do, what to do? There is the entire North Fork Valley to visit, with wineries and brewpubs and yes, even a distillery or two, although most of the wineries are in winter mode, which means call first, while the distilleries and brewpub(s) always are happy to see a new face. Here’s a hint ...

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