Colorado Mountain Winefest to feature an abundance of local libations
WHAT: Colorado Mountain Winefest
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 18-21
WHERE: Riverbend Park, Palisade
COST: $45 for general admission
WINE TERMS FOR NEWBIES
Aroma or bouquet: The smell of wine; some aromas are associated with wines including fruits, flowers, vanilla or chocolate.
Body: The weight of wine in your mouth, usually attributable principally to a wine’s alcohol content.
Crisp: A wine with refreshing acidity and more of a taste factor in white wines.
Dry: In winespeak, dry is the opposite of sweet. You can classify the wine as either dry, dry-off (sweet or semi-sweet) or sweet.
Finish: The impression of wine it leaves in the back of your mouth and throat as you swallow.
Tannic: A red wine that is firm and leaves the mouth feeling dry. Tannins alone can taste bitter but some tannins in wine are less bitter than others.
Grand Valley’s flourishing wine industry is celebrated yearly with the state’s largest and oldest wine festival. The 23rd annual Colorado Mountain Winefest is set for Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 18-21, at Palisade’s Riverbend Park. Thousands of visitors from around the state (and some even further afield) are expected to descend upon the sleepy farming community for a variety of libations.
Out of 50 wineries participating from around Colorado, more than 20 hail from Mesa County — including Mesa Park Vineyards and Plum Creek Winery.
Brooke Webb and her family took over Mesa Park Vineyards in 2009; it boasts eight acres of land where they grow grapes for merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon.
According to Webb, “any level of wine drinker can enjoy the wine tasting” at Colorado Mountain Winefest.
“It’s like our Christmas,” she added.
Plum Creek Winery (3708 G Road, Palisade) will also pour sips at this year’s Winefest. It’s presently celebrating 25 years in Mesa County with operations spanning 10 acres, growing grapes for riesling, petit verdot, and more. All of Plum Creek’s wines use 100-percent Colorado-grown grapes, a practice not all wineries uphold.
During its many events, Plum Creek Winery’s owner, Sue Phillips, suggests that festival goers be bold in their tasting choices.
“Be open to a new experience,” she said. “Also learn about the wineries, as we are happy to tell you what kind of sensory smells and tastes to expect.”
Folks should also match wines with crackers or bread to help the transition between wines from sweet to dry and white to reds, Phillips explained.
WINE COUNTRY ATTRACTS VISITORS
According to the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, hundreds of in-state wineries produced more than 1 million liters of wine last year. Although the Front Range has surpassed the Grand Valley in sales, most of the fruit comes from the Western Slope. And, out of the $28 million worth of wine sold around the state, approximately $7.7 million was sold just in the Grand Valley.
Doug Caskey, Colorado Wine Industry Development Board’s executive director, explained that the wine industry adds a new dimension for travelers around Colorado — from both in and out of the state. Instead of going to California’s Napa Valley from Denver, visitors instead head to Palisade.
“It’s a fantastic benefit to the valley for those who live here and are lucky to have it so close,” Webb said. “It also is great for the economy with tourists who come and purchase bottles and head back home.”
Along with tourism, the wine industry expands local agriculture’s playing field — adding another export on top of the region’s well-known peaches and corn.
“It creates a vibrant community,” Phillips said. “It brings agriculture as an underlying way of civilization and helps grow the community in good ways.”
For more information about Colorado Mountain Winefest, visit http://www.coloradowinefest.com. For a full list of events, pick up next week’s Free Press.
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