Colorado Mountain Winefest attracts 6,500 tasters to Palisade
TRY THESE INDULGENT DESSERT WINES
Palisade’s DeBeque Canyon Winery Fortified Syrah ($25): www.debequecanyonwinery.com
Clifton’s Graystone Winery Port IV ($25): www.graystonewine.com
Grand Junction’s Two Rivers Winery 2012 Port ($13.40): www.tworiverswinery.com
WINEFEST BY THE NUMBERS
600 pounds: The amount of grapes used at the annual Grape Stomp on Saturday.
80 percent: The amount of grapes grown in Colorado that come from the Western Slope.
1,000 acres: The amount of land used in Colorado to grow grapes.
100 and growing: The number of wineries operating in the state.
SOURCE: Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology
The 23rd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, the state’s oldest and largest wine festival, stayed true to its reputation last weekend by welcoming nearly 6,000 visitors to Palisade’s Riverbend Park on a sunny and seasonably warm Saturday, Sept. 20. More than 6,500 participants were reportedly tracked throughout the entirety of Winefest weekend (Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 18-21).
According to Cassidee Shull, executive director of Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE), Winefest was “a total success!” VIP tickets sold out weeks in advance, along with Friday’s Winemakers Dinner at Wine Country Inn and Wine, Dine & Paint tickets for Thursday. Attendees surveyed hailed from 37 states, along with travelers from Japan, Australia, Honduras and Canada; the majority of out-of-town visitors came from Utah, Texas and California.
More than 300 volunteers assisted with the event, Shull added in an email. Plus, over 50 Colorado wineries poured sips at the park on Saturday, where more than 5,500 wine totes with tasting glasses were given.
Though Jay Christianson, owner and winemaker at Palisade’s Canyon Wind Cellars, did not attend Riverbend Park on Saturday this year, he also reported a stellar weekend of business, selling more wine than usual.
“We indeed did see a larger then usual crew this weekend, roughly equivalent to when we attended Winefest in the park,” he said.
“Our No. 1 seller over the weekend was our 47-Ten Red.”
And while Mistalynn Meyeraan, Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau spokeswoman, did not have final lodging statistics to report, she confirmed that Grand Valley hotels were “very booked.”
Colorado Mountain Winefest ticket sales fund CAVE’s annual trade conference for the region — VinCO, which is held in Grand Junction every January. Final funding numbers from Winefest will be reported in October.
“The conference is a multi-track, multi-day event that brings speakers in from all over the country to educate our industry on growing better grapes and making better wine,” Shull said.
Next year’s Colorado Mountain Winefest is planned for Sept. 17-20.
For more information about Colorado Mountain Winefest and CAVE, visit http://www.winecolorado.org.
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