Wine Openers - Blog

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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 ...

Top 10 list timely for Carlson’s Open House

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

From unknown to Top 10 in about the time it takes a great wine to age, the Grand Valley has become a wine-tourist destination. That, anyway, is the word from, which recently anointed Palisade as among the Top 10 wine destinations in the U.S. The list includes such wine-world stars as the Sonoma and Napa valleys, New York’s Finger Lakes and Long Island, the Willamette Valley, Walla Walla, Wash., and Oregon’s Yakima Valley. Apparently the rankings were ...

Holidays start with Alfred Eames’ Barrel Tasting, Open House

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just in time for holiday gift-giving and all those festive dinners you have planned,  Alfred Eames Cellars in Paonia will be hosting its fifth annual Barrel Tasting and Holiday Open House on Dec. 1-2 from noon to 5 p.m. Winemaker Eames Petersen said the popular event again will feature special hor d'oeuvres and a performance by the Madrigal Choir along with guest appearances by other local musicians. "The rest of the choir makes me sound better than I am," Petersen ...

Talon Wine Brands wins 21 medals at Denver International

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You rarely will find winemaker Glenn Foster at a loss for words. However, the ebullient second-generation winemaker and driving force behind Talon Wine Brands hesitated just a second when asked recently about his awards from the Denver International Wine Competition. “Our what?” he asked his caller. “To be honest, I haven’t even checked. Let me call you back.” And it wasn’t very much later when Foster, who makes wines under three labels – ...

2012 Winefest attracts crowd with eye on buying

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mid-morning Sunday found winemaker Nancy Janes of Whitewater Hill punching down caps and making room for grapes yet to come in what’s expected to be an early wrap-up to the 2012 harvest. “Normally we finish around the third week of October but this year everything is early,” said Janes, moving around the tanks of crushed grapes fermenting in her winery on 32 Road. “I think we might get our last grapes sometime in the next two weeks.” Pulling the ...

Grape harvest kicks off just in time for 2012 Colorado Mountain Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Say it quickly and “wine harvest” and “Winefest” sound similar, but looking around the valley as the 2012 grape harvest gains steam, one notices more work, less fest when it comes to turning grapes into wine. Hand-picking grapes in the early light leads to long, hot days where endless lugs of plump berries are dumped into that seemingly bottomless destemmer and raucous pumps force crushed grapes through pulsing, boa-sized hoses to the immense tanks where the ...

Uncork your plans for the 2012 Colorado Mountain Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It’s time to uncork your plans for the 21st annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, set for Sept. 13-16 in and around the Grand Valley. Although most of the restaurant dinners with winemakers are sold out, there still are tickets left for the weekend’s other events, including the always-popular Festival in the Park (general admission $43) Sept. 15 at Palisade’s Riverbend Park. Winefest executive director Cassidee Shull said Tuesday that seats also are open for the ...

Hot summer makes jam of peach, grape harvests

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

PALISADE – Well before memories fade of the 44th annual Palisade Peach Festival, another fruit crop is waiting its turn in the sun. Or maybe that should read its turn in the smoky haze, which one grape grower theorized slowed photosynthesis enough to prevent the weekend from becoming a major Peach Fest jam of workers, equipment and space. By now, every backyard gardener in the Grand Valley knows any plant producing a fruit or vegetable is taking the short route to ripeness this ...

Fourth annual Food-Farm-Wine-Film Festival this weekend in Paonia (plus jazz at Leroux Creek)

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, August 9, 2012

The fourth annual Food-Farm-Wine-Film Festival runs Friday through Sunday in and around Paonia. Sponsored by Slow Food Western Slope and the Town of Paonia, the event highlights the farms and wineries throughout the North Fork Valley with special dinners, tastings and limited showings of select films at the Paradise Theater in Paonia. The films include Bitter Seeds (Friday), about the impact of genetic engineering in our food system; The Greenhorns (Saturday) about America's ...

Geographer’s book binds ‘complex, intricate and intimate landscapes’

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

HOTCHKISS – From the spacious lens of glass on the second floor of the Leroux Creek Inn near Hotchkiss, a viewer sees well-manicured vineyards stretching into the distance, the gentle fall of land dipping north to the North Fork of the Gunnison River and then climbing again to the distant mesas and patchwork tablelands of Fruitland Mesa. All of us, asserted writer/geographer Wallace Stegner, are “conditioned by climate and geography,” those “forms and lights and ...

West Elks Wine Trail kicks off busy late-summer season for wine events

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, August 2, 2012

This weekend (Friday through Sunday) is the West Elks Wine Trail but it really should be called the Wine Trail Plus. So much is going on in Delta County you’ll need the entire weekend just to get through the festivities. The West Elks Wine Trail, featuring the winemakers and wineries of the West Elks AVA, includes winery visits and vineyard and orchard tours along with special wine tastings, gallery tours and several dinners with winemakers. Most of the dinners are sold out but ...

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