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Thanks for the notice, Governor, but we’ve been here for a while

By Dave Buchanan

In case you haven't noticed, which likely means A: You're not from western Colorado; B: you're not interested in Colorado wine; or C: You're a Republican (or all three), our Democratic ( that's the big D democrat) Gov. John Hickenlooper recently tabbed June 5-11 as "Colorado Wine Week," a welcome but obvious political panegyric to the initial Colorado Winefest set for June 9-11 at the former and much-redeveloped site of Stapleton Airport in Denver.

Gee, the sudden attention being paid to Colorado wine is great and oh-so welcome but where has (have) Hickenlooper (and other politicos) been for the last 20 years while the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade has been rocking the state's wine world?

It's not like the Colorado wine industry hasn't been around for some 40 years (the first commercial winery was begun in 1968) or Colorado wine hasn't been winning awards since those early years.

Or that there might not even be an ever-growing state wine industry if weren't for the grape growers and winemakers in the state's two (count 'em, two) American Viticultural Areas, both of which happen to be on the Western Slope.

Of course, we're certainly not so coarse (or ungrateful) to say bad things about the state's top politician taking some time out of his busy schedule running for re-election to plan an expected but as-yet-not-confirmed appearance in Palisade to repeat his nice remarks about the state wine industry.

Giving the Guv as much credit as he deserves, here are some of the encomia the Governor's proclamation laid out at the feet of the Colorado wine industry:

– Colorado's wine industry "has .. a well-deserved reputation for creating ... premium quality wines;"

– The state's wineries, "many small family-owned estates, produce award-winning wines often using locally grown grapes, fruit and honey;"

– And the state's wine industry "provides jobs and adds value to our quality of life."

Well, yes, we quite agree, don't we?

And we hope the message gets out to everyone else who might wonder if there's life west of the Eisenhower Tunnels on Interstate 70.

Just please, Gov. H., don't take another 20 years to acknowledge there's a whole bunch of great things happening in the state's wine industry.

No sense in keeping this great secret to ourselves.


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