GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The aromas. The flavors. All the colors, too. Variety makes wine unique and oh-so alive. And to celebrate Colorado Wine Country and its many facets, the 21st annual Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade will run all weekend - Sept. 13-16 - with tastings, interactive seminars and even a celebrity chef demo with Aspen's Glenn Smith.General admission to Saturday's festival at Palisade's Riverbend Park is $43, with the "VIP Experience" running $185. Other weekend Winefest events are offered for an additional cost."It's our biggest fundraiser we do every year," Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE) Executive Director Cassidee Shull said. Shull noted that 50 wineries will be pouring unlimited sips at Saturday's event, with music, seminars and entrance to the park being part of general admission. Local artist Gary Hauschulz will also be signing this year's Winefest poster, an undertaking he painted completely with actual wine.More interactive seminars are part of this year's wine celebration, too - a wine aroma wheel is new this year, along with a Wine 101 seminar covering the basics of wine. There will also be a Sommelier Shootout, a taste-off between experts, winemakers, chefs and wine lovers. "It's a fun way to taste wine when it's all blind," Shull said.Winery tours, winemaker competitions, dueling chefs, jazz concerts, grape stomps, as well as wine and food pairing, will also be on this weekend's bill.Shull said she expects between 4,500 and 5,500 Winefest attendees, with many coming from out of town. Everyone's encouraged to buy lots of wine and store it at a station staffed by Child and Migrant Services, a nonprofit representing migrant workers. "They're the first people to touch the grapes," CAVE program director Sandie Cooper said.Cooper, who's also Winefest's volunteer coordinator, noted that this year's event wouldn't be possible without its 350 volunteers."We're expecting fantastic weather," Shull added. "It was a little rainy last year."For more information about the 21st annual Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade, visit www.coloradowinefest.com.
Friday, Sept. 14• 11:30 a.m. Dine, Wine & Vine Experience wine lunch with state enologist Dr. Steve Menke at Colorado Wine Country Inn, Palisade, $65• 1 p.m. "The Life of Wine" with Max Ariza, DoubleTree Hotel, GJ, $45• 4 p.m. Demo & Dinner with Chef Glenn Smith, DoubleTree Hotel, GJ, $120• 7:30 p.m. Enstrom's Chocolate & Wine Tasting, DoubleTree Hotel, GJ, $55• 4 p.m. Culinary & Chocolate Delight Package (includes Demo & Dinner with Chef Glenn Smith and Enstrom's Chocolate and Wine Tasting. DoubleTree Hotel, GJ, $170• Colorado Mountain Winefest Food & Wine Pairings (all weekend throughout the Grand Valley)Saturday, Sept. 15• All-day Shuttle Services to and from Grand Junction• 8 a.m. 19th annual Bicycle Tour de Vineyards, sponsored by Event Marketing Group• 10:30 a.m. 21st annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, Riverbend Park, Palisade, $43 (general), $185 (VIP), $23 (non-drinker). • Colorado Mountain Winefest Food & Wine Pairings (all weekend throughout the Grand Valley)Sunday, Sept. 16• 9 a.m. "Introduction to Grape Growing" with Dr. Horst Caspari, CSU Agricultural Station, Palisade, $45• 10 a.m. Tour of the Wineries, Grand Valley, free• Colorado Mountain Winefest Food & Wine Pairings (all weekend throughout the Grand Valley)