Valentine’s Day opportunity not lost on Leroux Creek Winery

This week brings us to Valentine’s Day, and if you’re just figuring that out, heaven help you with your plans for the weekend.

It’s unfortunate, and I think a missed opportunity, to see how few local wineries are jumping on the Valentine’s Day theme.

Actually, only Yvon Gros (hey, he’s French, he knows about these things) at Leroux Creek Winery in the North Fork Valley is advertising a special event this week.

He’s calling it The Wine Lover’s Trail, a weekend of wine, chocolate and buffalo.

Yeah, the bison part you don’t see often, but this is terrific.

The two-day tour offers the opportunity to sample wines, taste some great chocolate (that might be redundant to some reading this) and meet a buffalo or three at the High Wire Ranch in Hotchkiss.

Leroux Creek will offer Gros’ homemade pat&233;, truffles and wine while Lilliputian Winery hosts a launch party for its new ginger wine as well as some new releases from Jack Rabbit Hill poured by wine maker Anna Hanson.

Also, Dave and Sue Whittlesey at High Wire Ranch are offering farm tours of their elk and buffalo operation along with some of Pete Eastman’s chocolates.

How do you want to remember Valentine’s Day?

Here are the details:

WHAT: The Wine Lover’s Trail.

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

WHO: Leroux Creek Vineyards, 12388 3100 Road; Lilliputian Winery, 31424 Colorado Highway 92; and High Wire Ranch, 27497 Buffalo Road (all near Hotchkiss).

WHY: Taste interesting Colorado wines, sample lots of great chocolate and meet the wine makers and farmers.

HOW: Information: 872-3019.

New board members recently were announced for the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology. It’s acronym C.A.V.E. could be pronounced, although no one has ever told me this, like the French word cave (say cawv), which is the term for a place to age and store wine.

At one time, these places really were caves, but now, unless you can afford to punch a large hole in a rock, you hear the term bandied about referring to cellars, basements and other quiet places where wine develops its characteristic flavors and profiles.

C.A.V.E. is a professional organization of vintners and grape growers from around the state dedicated to improving Colorado’s wine industry. Its big fundraiser is the Colorado Mountain Wine- fest, of which there is some news (see below).

Where was I? Oh, yes, the new board members.

Neil Jaquet, Ambelos Vineyard, Palisade, C.A.V.E. president.

Marilyn Jensen, Palisade, vice president.

Rainer Thoma, Vendange Vineyard & Winery Management, Palisade, secretary.

Theresa High, High Country Orchards and Vineyards, Palisade, treasurer.

Others already on the board include:

Doug Caskey, executive director, Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, Boulder.

Blake Eliasson, Settembre Cellars, Boulder.

Julie Balistreri, Balistreri Vineyards, Denver.

Norm Christianson, Canyon Wind Cellars, Palisade.


Sarah Catlin, director of the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade, recently told that town’s council that a second Colorado winefest is in the earliest planning stages for the Front Range.

Catlin didn’t have any firm site or date for the new winefest, although May 2011 was mentioned as a possibility.

It’s no secret Front Range winemakers long have envied the success of the Colorado Mountain Winefest, which markets heavily to the Front Range and attracts from there several thousands wine lovers each year.

There was talk during the 2009 Wine- fest that other towns were looking at cashing in on the economic boost Palisade enjoys, a boost that lasts year-round since many visitors to Winefest decide to return again to the Grand Valley.

Considering how many wineries now can be found scattered from Ca&#241on City to Manitou Springs to Denver, Boulder and Golden — the Colorado Wine Development Board lists 38 licensed wineries — it’s inevitable that one of the existing Front Range wine gatherings could morph into the next major Colorado winefest.

But it won’t be Palisade.


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