Colorado Mountain Winefest infused with tasting options in Palisade, Colorado |

Colorado Mountain Winefest infused with tasting options in Palisade, Colorado

Brittany Markert
Folks from around the state and further afield will gather in Palisade for Colorado Mountain Winefest this weekend. It's the oldest and largest wine festival in the state.
Caitlin Row / | Free Press


WHAT: Colorado Mountain Winefest

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20

WHERE: Riverbend Park, Palisade

COST: $45 for general admission



Before heading to the Colorado Mountain Winefest, take a ride through Palisade’s vineyards and orchards during the 21st annual Tour de Vineyards on Saturday, Sept. 20. The ride starts around 7 a.m. and it will ventures 25 miles through the Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway. An aid station will be available at the middle of the course at Carlson Vineyards (461 35 Road, Palisade), featuring peaches from Talbott Farms.

“This is a great way to have recreational activity before heading to the festival,” Tour de Vineyards’ event coordinator Mike Heaston said.

Registration costs $55 on the day of the event. Registration includes a commemorative T-shirt, a welcome packet, peaches and a post-ride pasta salad brunch.

The ride starts and ends at the Peach Bowl Park (corner of Fifth Street and Elberta Avenue in Palisade).

For more information, visit


It started in 1993.

Tour de Vineyards started with 300 riders and averages 900-1,000 today.

11 states were represented in 2013: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, California, Nebraska, Mississippi, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Washington

Last year 60 percent of its riders were female and 40 percent were male.

— Brittany Markert, Free Press reporter

More than 6,000 visitors from near and far will venture to Riverbend Park in Palisade for the 23rd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest. Events are set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 19-21. All activities are open to those 21 years old and over. Proceeds benefit the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology — a nonprofit organization supporting Colorado grape growers and wine makers. Money raised goes towards educational workshops and research for the growing industry.

“The most successful way to convert to drink Colorado wines is to taste it,” Colorado Wine Industry Development Board’s executive director Doug Caskey said. “The Winefest is the best place to go for it, and it’s a great event for the growing industry.”

According to Cassidee Shull, Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology’s executive director, more than 300 volunteers help run the annual event, from local residents to those visiting from China.


Three Winefest events will highlight food and wine from throughout the Grand Valley on Friday, Sept. 19. The first event — located at Wine Country Inn (777 Grande River Dr., Palisade) — will encompass a comparative tasting of six to seven wines. Tickets cost $45 and it’s planned from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Then, Wine Country Inn will host the sold-out wine-makers dinner from 5-7 p.m. It includes a multi-course meal with complimentary Colorado wines. Stick around Wine Country Inn after the wine-makers dinner for a chocolate and wine-tasting event to finish off the night. Enstrom’s Candies and Guittard Chocolate Company will provide chocolate samples to be accompanies by a wide selection of Colorado wines (ranging from classic dry white to sweet dessert options). Tickets for the chocolate and wine pairing cost $40. Space is limited.

Colorado Mountain Winefest’s main event is set for Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Palisade’s Riverbend Park. More than 50 wineries will pour unlimited samples of wines for $45 a head. The entrance fee also consists of a wine glass, wine tote, seminars, chef demos, live music, the popular grape stomp and more. Live music includes Retrospectacle and The Matt Smiley Quartet.

Tipsy Tip: There is no way to sample all the wine provided. To not be overwhelmed, choose a wine you like and test the same kind from other wineries. It’s suggested to eat a big meal before to ensure better absorption.

Not interested in wine? Several alcoholic ciders will be poured as well.

Tickets to enter the event without sampling cost $25.


After sleeping in a bit on Sunday, Sept. 21, Winefest attendees should take a self-guided tour of Palisade along the Fruit and Wine Byway. Venture through vineyards and orchards by bike, scooter or car and visit local wineries, fruit stands and galleries from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Many Palisade wineries will additionally host extended parties including live music, free food and more.

For instance, Mesa Park Vineyards ­— located at 3321 C Road, Palisade — will host a celebration on Sunday, Sept. 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will offer free music and food.

Plum Creek Winery (3708 G Road, Palisade) will be open on Sunday as well, with wine and cheese samples provided for visitors.

Avant Vineyards, a relatively new winery to Palisade, will attend Colorado Mountain Winefest for its second year. Located at 3480 E Road, owners plan to host an after-party on Sunday, too, with brick-oven pizzas and a two-piece jazz band from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about Colorado Mountain Winefest’s variety of events, visit

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