Number 5 in our "Top Seven Countdown of Stories We Should Have Covered" was written by The Daily Wine. It is a tour of the Grand Valley AVA and a leisurely interview with several wine makers, including State Enologist Stephen Menke. Under the headline, "Landscapes and Lifestyles in Colorado’s Wine Country," The Daily Wine wrote:
"Getting to Grand Junction from Denver International Airport is easy. Whether you drive through, or fly over the mountains, the trip is worth the effort. Or, if time is not your concern, you could take a leisurely Amtrak train. Go west through Colorado’s world-class ski resorts. Continue through the snow capped peaks and passes."
The Wine Makers Dr. Stephen Menke, Parker Carlson, Glenn Foster, and Jenny Baldwin
“When were you planning to clip those vines, Glenn?” Parker asks. “I just did them today.” Glenn responds, grinning. The two continue the conversation, both smiling and jesting about their neighboring vineyards and the longstanding, friendly competition that has become their lives."
"The conversation flows as freely as the wine at Il Bistro, a downtown Grand Junction favorite for its hand made pasta and authentic Italian cuisine. The table is full of wine and food as we try award-winning varieties perfectly matched, course by course, from Plum Creek Winery, the Colorado Wine Room, Confre Cellars, and Carlson Vineyards. Looking around the table, I realize that the winemakers have spent long years developing the scene we enjoy tonight."
"Grapes were first planted in the Grand Valley in 1881. Since 1991, the industry has enjoyed a 750% growth. In recent years, Colorado has become a contender in many Wine Competitions, often surpassing California wines and finding their footing with Cabernet Franc, Late Harvest Sweet Categories, Rieslings, Sangiovese and Port. Additionally, fruit wines and meads (honey wines) enhance the wine makers repertoire, using the valleys orchard fruit for superb peach and plum wines."
"The day after our dinner, Colorado’s wine expert, Enologist Dr. Stephen Menke, led me through Palisades, a small town minutes from the heart of Grand Junction. As a classic bon vivant, he shares readily, with a quick smile and earthy presence. What’s your favorite wine Steve? I ask. “The one in front of me.” he responds. I laugh, relieved that I don’t have to live through an uppity expert on this trip. It just wouldn’t fit the scene anyway—extreme mountains, desert, contrasted with budding vineyards and sun—it is as if the landscape itself decided that pretenses wouldn’t fit here."
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