Wine Openers - Blog

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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 ...

Bearing gifts of wine and chocolate for St. Valentine’s Day? A little caution is advised

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Even the most preoccupied among us find it difficult to escape this month’s multitude of same-breath references to wine and Valentine. Of course, it’s only after taking the next step of uttering wine, Valentine and chocolate that the abyss opens and we find ourselves flying or falling. Just as there’s considerable disagreement about the “romance” of winemaking from anyone who has spent seemingly-endless hours picking grapes or pressing those grapes or ...

Grand Junction artist wins 2013 Colorado Mountain Winefest art competition

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A richly hued painting melding two of the region’s growing economic forces has been selected as the centerpiece for the 2013 Colorado Mountain Winefest. Grand Junction artist Judy Rogan won the 2013 Colorado Mountain Winefest art competition with her acrylic painting titled “Tipsy Trails.” The painting, which shows a comfortable-looking bicycle carrying a basket laden with a bottle of wine, grapes, two wine glasses and a loaf of bread, all super-imposed on a ...

Hot growing season has grape crop in early

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Colorado’s wine grape crop came through the hot, dry summer in better condition than many people might have expected. While there aren’t yet any numbers on the total production, comments from producers and winemakers indicate the summer growing season was short, intense and productive. “Everything came in early,” said state viticulturist Horst Caspari of the Colorado State University Orchard Mesa Research Center. “I think everything was picked by the ...

Wine books to brighten the holidays

By Dave Buchanan
Saturday, December 15, 2012

With less than two weeks to go before The Big Day and the panic button staring at you right there, it’s still not too late to find the right gift for the wine lover on your list. But careful: How many reindeer bottle closures and cork Christmas trees does a person really need? For those who can’t resist buying someone a Christmas wine, I suggest that unless you know that person really well, it might be wiser to offer a gift certificate (tucked into a decent wine glass) to ...

A Brush with Greatness: 2002 Sassicaia

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sometimes the gods of fortune smile on a newspaper hack, and this past month has seen rare examples of being in the right places at the right times. My most-recent Brush with Greatness was this weekend in Aspen, watching the best women skiers in the world attack the gates and race courses during the Nature Valley Winternational World Cup ski races on Aspen Mountain. There is more news about ski racing in the sports section, but there’s so much excitement generated by watching ...

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