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DrinkLocalWine sets eyes on Colorado wine

By Dave Buchanan

A nation of wine writers descends on Denver April 27-29 to get a grape’s eye view of the state’s wine industry during the fourth annual DrinkLocalWine conference.

What they’ll find, particularly those who think the wine-making earth ends just east of San Luis Obispo, is the water here is safe and so is the wine.

The DrinkLocalWine movement was initiated by wine blogger Jeff Siegel (The Wine Curmudgeon) and Washington Post wine writer Dave McIntyre, both of whom want to see more attention paid to U.S. wines not coming from California, Washington or Oregon. Not that there is anything wrong (mostly) with wines from those states but, gee, enough is enough already. With wineries now found in every state, one has to think there are drinkable wines coming from states not attached to the Left Coast.

McIntyre, in the column link above, gives a boost to Grand Junction, calling it "the home of Colorado’s emerging wine industry." According to some industry sources, there initially was some thought given to having the conference in Grand Junction but the logistics came out in Denver's favor.

As someone who unapologetically spends an inordinate amount of time leaning against counters in tasting rooms around this state, I assume the three prior conferences (Texas 2009, Virginia 2010, Missouri 2011) surprised many people who rarely venture outside their comfort zone of wines. And that comfort zone includes sticking with local wines you know. You drink Plum Creek, Whitewater Hill and Carlson’s but have you tried Balistreri, Guy Drew or Boulder Creek?

The DrinkLocalWine 2012 conference will be a social media bacchanalia and that includes the Nomacorc-Colorado Twitter Taste-off on April 28, in which two dozen of the state’s “best” wineries (I have no idea who decides which of the state’s 100 wineries rank as the 24 best) go head-to-head in a live tweet fest. Another fave event is the traditional request that invited attendees bring three favorite regional wines to share. With writers coming from all across the nation, you can expect to find bottles of familiar grapes such as pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay standing neck to neck with hybrid varietals you never heard of, such as Kay Gray, Frontenac and Chardonel. Some you may like, some may not suit your palate, but that’s the beauty of the DrinkLocalWine movement: You get the chance to try something new.

There's also the Colorado Blind Challenge, pairing California and Colorado wine in a blind tasting. The idea sounds interesting but why? Colorado wine isn't California wine (isn't that the point of this entire DWL movement?). I leave the answers to you.

The DLW 2012 is presented by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board and sponsored by the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology and by Nomacorc, maker of alternative wine closures. Tickets are $65 with all events are at Metro State College. Information here.

Other local wine events coming soon:

Grand Valley Winemaker’s Dinner – April 27, 6 p.m., the Chateau at Two Rivers Winery
The Grand Valley Winery Association is hosting this event as a benefit for Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado.
Tickets are $87.50 per person. For information and reservations call 255-1471 or online at

Barrel into Spring 2012 – April 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; April 29 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; May 19-20, same hours.
Presented by the eight member wineries of the Grand Valley Winery Association, this event has become extremely popular and usually sells out in advance.
Join Canyon Wind Cellars, Carlson Vineyards, DeBeque Canyon, Garfield Estates, Grand River, Graystone, Plum Creek Cellars, and Two Rivers Winery for a taste of what’s new, what’s hot and some old favorites.
Ticket are $70 if purchased two weeks or more before the selected event; $75 after.
Information: Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, 2087 Broadway, 970-255-1471; e-mail: .

Wine, Buffalo and Chocolate Mother’s Day Trail – May 12, 1-5 p.m.
Bring Mom along for a free tour of vineyards, wineries and a buffalo ranch on Rogers Mesa between Delta and Hotchkiss.
Stops include Leroux Creek Vineyards and Spa, 12388 3100 Road; Liliputian Winery, 31424 Colorado Highway 92; and the High Wire Ranch, 27497 Buffalo Rd.
Information and directions at 970-872-3019.


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