Winefest begins with new food, wine pairings

With two days to go before the 22nd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, this year presented by the First National Bank of the Rockies, there is something new to try.

Instead of the lavish winemakers’ dinners, the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology and main sponsor of our favorite Winefest has teamed with six local restaurants to offer special wine-and-food pairings at $20 or less.

Starting Thursday and through Sunday, the restaurants will have one or more small plates specially paired with a select Colorado wine (think of it as a large appetizer with a glass of wine).

The restaurants include 626 on Rood, Bin 707 Foodbar, Bistro 743 at the DoubleTree Hotel, The Winery Restaurant, Inari’s in Palisade and the Tapestry Lounge at the Wine Country Inn.

The idea germinated at the Colorado Urban Winefest in Denver and last year there were 27 Front Range restaurants participating in the Sips & Snacks food pairings, what you might call “Colorado Wine 101.”

“It’s all about getting Colorado wine out there regardless of whether it’s at a festival or a great Grand Valley restaurant,” said Cassidee Shull, executive director of CAVE.

Also, the week’s activities range from float trips and stand-up paddleboarding with Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade to winery tours, wine-and-chocolate tastings, cooking demos, bicycle tours of the area’s vineyards and the always-popular festival at Riverbend Park on Saturday.

Oh, did I mention that also available Saturday (or any day, really) will be The Daily Sentinel’s newest book “Drink It In: Wine Guide of Western Colorado”?

Information and tickets to the many events during Colorado Mountain Winefest are available at


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