Wine Openers - Blog

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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 ...

Concert helps fund research for fruit growers statewide

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another lesson in be careful what you ask for came Saturday. An innocuous phone call to fruit grower Neil Guard on East Orchard Mesa turned into a wide-ranging and thoughtful lesson in peach and grape management, politics, research funding and several other topics, including using a safety pin as a low-tech but effective cleaning tool for drip-irrigation nozzles. “Hey, Neil, whatcha doin’?” “Fixing sprinkler heads in the vineyards, come on out and enjoy the ...

Memories persist of 30th Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, June 18, 2012

ASPEN – The 30th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is history, although perhaps not without a hangover or two to prolong the sweet memory until next year. I’m not sure how many people have been at all 30 of the Classics but perennial favorite Jacques Pepin said he’s been to 27 or 28 which surely puts him among the leaders. Pepin, who said he teamed with the unforgettable Julia Child 10 or 12 times until Julia found Aspen’s 7,800-foot elevation a bit much, ...

Wines from Spain among the big draws at Food & Wine Classic

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, June 17, 2012

ASPEN – Cruising the Grand Tasting tents at the Food & Wine Classic can be an elbow-squeezer for room but among the most-popular areas this week is the Wines From Spain tent. But it’s not just at Aspen where Spanish wines are finding a growing audience, said Helen Gregory, representing the Wines from Spain trade association. She noted that last year Spanish wine exports increased by more than 21 percent. One reason is “People recognize the artisanal nature of ...

Hands-on seminars popular at Food & Wine Classic

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, June 17, 2012

ASPEN – Midway in his seminar on “Butchery for Beginners” at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Chef John Besh looked up from his carving up of a Colorado lamb at the Food & Wine Classic cooking tent and peered into the audience. “Are there any vegetarians in here?” to a round of laughter. Surprisingly, there was one, and Besh (pictured at right) knew her. “Well, in case you decide to eat meat, here’s how to get it,” said the New ...

‘Summer camp for foodies’ opens at 30th annual Food & Wine Classic

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, June 15, 2012

ASPEN – The 30th annual Food and Wine Classic in Aspen opened this morning and like all notable anniversaries this one has been long in the planning. A special concert by Elvis Costello, a 5k charity run with super-chef Bobby Flay and changes in the lineup of chefs has breathed new life into this long-time high-gloss favorite, the one Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food and Wine magazine, calls “summer camp for foodies.” It’s also notable that this is the ...

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