Grand Valley named a top wine getaway spot by Wine Enthusiast

Sherrie and Scott Hamilton are the owners of Red Fox Cellars, which was mentioned in Wine Enthusiast magazine's recent feature about the Grand Valley. Sherrie holds a bottle of Red Fox Cellars' Bourbon Merlot, the winery's best-selling wine. Scott holds the award the winery received from Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology as the 2017 Winery of the Year.

For those lovers of local wines and wineries wondering when the Grand Valley and the Colorado wine industry will receive the national attention it deserves, the future is now.

The most-recent edition of the well-respected Wine Enthusiast magazine is out and it features the Grand Valley as one of its Top 10 Wine Getaways for 2018.

The other top 10 getaways spots are Hong Kong; San Luis Obispo Coast, California; Styria, Austria; Melbourne, Australia; Corsica, France; Cape Town, South Africa; The Sherry Triangle, Spain; Val D'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy; and Uruguay's Southern Coast.

Heady company, indeed.

The article written by Fiona Adams, Wine Enthusiast's senior tasting coordinator, isn't solely a feature about the Colorado wineries, although they do get some major play.

There are sections and shout-outs about local eateries, places to stay while in the valley and a list of non-wine related activities to enjoy between your visits to wineries.

Mistalynn Meyeraan, the marketing and public relations coordinator for Visit Grand Junction, with cooperation from the Colorado Tourism office, did the considerable local legwork, setting up appointments and interviews and arranging meals and tours.

The two-page spread, emblazoned with a scenic photo of Colorado National Monument looking north across the Grand Valley, features Two Rivers Chateau and Winery, Red Fox Cellars, Colorado Cellars Winery and Varaison Vineyards and Winery.

Adams initially came to the Grand Valley earlier as part of a media tour initiated by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board and hosted by executive director Doug Caskey.

"I think the wineries she included in the story were those she visited as part of the tour," said Bob Witham, owner of Two Rivers Winery and Chateau. "It was nice of her to write an article and I think the recognition we'll get is good for us in the valley and the rest of the state wine industry."

Scott Hamilton, co-owner with his wife, Sherrie, of Red Fox Cellars, 695 36 Road in Palisade, said the publicity from Wine Enthusiast will be a fantastic marketing tool.

"I can't really put a dollar value on it, it's so huge," he said. "We were surprised and very pleased to hear about the article."

Last year, in but its third year of operation, Red Fox Cellars was named the 2017 Winery of the Year by the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology.

"As we're such a young winery, it's sure to help us locally as well the entire Colorado wine scene," Hamilton said.

When Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen (the Entertaining and Lifestyle editors for Wine Enthusiast magazine and AKA The World Wine Guys) visited Colorado Mountain Winefest in 2016, Meyeraan wisely made sure enough time was left for them to explore the area on their own.

"They came out here for Winefest and they had a great time," Meyeraan said recently. "They wrote a story in another magazine and shortly after that I got an email from Fiona (Adams), who is the Colorado taster for Wine Enthusiast magazine."

Meyeraan, as the article's featured Local in the Know, collaborated with DeSimone and Jenssen on the restaurants and other amenities while Adams selected the wineries featured in the Wine Enthusiast article.

"I leave it to the wine experts to select the wineries; I'm the travel expert," said Meyeraan with a laugh. "I spent a couple of hours in the van with Mike and Jeff, talking to them and all of us getting to know each other. They said they had a great time at Winefest and especially loved going to locally owned places for coffee and dining."

Given the magazine's reach and the upscale status of many Wine Enthusiast readers, it's a bounty of national and international advertising exposure that can't be understated.

"The reach is unimaginable," Meyeraan said. "We really don't know how far this is going to go."

According to the Wine Enthusiast website (winemag.com), the magazine has a monthly reach of more than 2.5 million readers, both in the United States and internationally. This includes 940,000 readers of the magazine, 831,000 website visits and 600,000 social-media followers.

The magazine defines itself as "the comprehensive source for the curious and cultured wine lover with an affinity for global travel, modern food and dining, craft brews and quality cocktails."

Caskey said the state's international exposure via the article "is beyond price."

"This will benefit not only the state wine industry but the state as a whole," he said. "We'll be using this for years to come."

Although several wineries didn't yet have the magazine on display during a recent visit, most people agreed the publicity was good news.

"It's really pretty cool to see it," said Kyle Hamilton, one of the winemakers at Red Fox Cellars and son of Red Fox's owners. "I can't imagine how it happened but it's terrific."

Meyeraan also noted the article and the Grand Valley will get plenty of attention when the International Pow Wow, an annual, three-day U.S. travel industry trade show with more than 1,200 travel buyers from 70 countries and more than 400 travel news media, is in Denver starting May 19. 

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