Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: September 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Celebrities, Sports Heroes Snapping Up Vineyards

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that Sean Penn visited Grand Junction this summer for a few days. If you believe Penn's publicist, it was not to film a movie. We’re going to start the unfounded rumor right here with this MSNBC article that maybe he was in town shopping for something vinous. (Maybe).

According to an article written by Reporter Michelle Kung, celebrities and professional athletes are no longer content to lend their names to perfumes, running shoes and restaurants. They are getting into owning or co-owning wine labels, wineries and wine hotels. Francis Ford Coppola and Fess Parker led the way. Now a whole slew of famous celebs are going boffo for vino (Beat that, Variety!) These vineyards are largely based in California. But why not Colorado? We’ve got a lot of established talent waiting for a little investment. So, famous people, why not bring your star wattage to Palisade?

Under the headline, “Top Celebrity Vineyards: A-list Vintages at Hollywood and Vines,” Kung writes:

“David Beckham knows what's in fashion. For wife Victoria's 34th birthday earlier this year, the British soccer star tapped into the celebrity zeitgeist and bought his 'Posh'-er half the latest in trendy lifestyle accessories: her own vineyard in California's Napa Valley.

“The Beckhams aren't alone in owning a literal piece of the 'Hollywood and Vine.' Thanks to the increased marketing potential of celebrities and their ever-increasing paydays, winemaking has become the chic hobby of choice for the world's rich and famous.

“Whether actually buying a vineyard or simply partnering with a well-known vinter, bold-face names, running the gamut from rock stars (Santana, Bob Dylan, Motley Crue's Vince Neil) to MVP-winning sports heroes (Joe Montana) to Speakers of the House (Nancy Pelosi), have all soiled up and put down grape-stomping roots both in the United States and abroad.”

“Most celebrities run wineries, ‘because they're wine connoisseurs—or think they are,’ says Robert Smiley, director of wine education at the University of California, Davis, management school. ‘Fame brings them wealth and they can afford to invest in it. ... Although I don't think any of them do it purely as an investment.’

“While a select few choose to keep their vintages private (we're looking at you, Sting), most celebrities make their wines available for purchase and keep their estates open for tastings and tours. Unsurprisingly, the public's response has been overwhelmingly positive. According to statistics from Nielsen research, celebrity wines, based on 2007 grocery store sales, are up almost 19 percent from the previous year—a figure that represents almost one percent—or $42 million—of the U.S.'s total wine sales.

“Visitor attendance at celebrity vineyards has been surging as well. The Rubicon Estate, the recently renamed winery bought by director Francis Ford Coppola in 1975, has seen such an increase of visitors that it has been forced to institute a $25 a head parking fee to control the traffic.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eugenia Bone's Sunset Magazine Spread on Colorado's Wine Country

In case you missed it, here is Eugenia Bone's mid summer Sunset Magazine article. Bone is probably the area's preeminent living author, writing the memoir/cookbook At Mesa's Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley.

"Colorado: The next wine country: There's seriously good wine among Colorado's red rocks: 9 best wineries you've never heard of," Bone writes:

"I didn't even know wine existed in Colorado the summer of 1998, when I moved from New York City to a run-down ranch near Grand Junction. In fact, I was quite sure I was going to die of thirst. So I brought my own: crisp, lemony Pinot Grigio and rough Primitivo.

"Ten years later, those wines are still in the basement. That's because it took all of about one week to discover that I had relocated to the fringes of an extraordinary wine scene.

"After that first summer, I was hooked. Not only on the wine, but also on the adventure of following funky little signs down dusty roads and finding gems, the realms of winemakers who had a dream to plant green vineyards among the red rocks. Try one or all of our Colorado wine tours, and you'll be hooked too.


"For power tasters and spirit seekers'

"One very hot August day, I was standing in the cup of a cliff formation at Colorado National Monument, looking out over the Grand Valley, when I heard, suddenly and dramatically, the sound of a huge bird — eagle? pterodactyl? — swooping over my head. I ducked and looked over the cliff edge to see where the bird had gone. There was no bird, but below me was a verdant vineyard, green and rich with vines.

"Later that day, as I sipped a muscular Cabernet Sauvignon at Two Rivers Winery (one of 21 wineries in this most established of Colorado's appellations), I resisted telling the kind pourer that a winged spirit led me there. You just never know how that kind of story is going to come off. But I do feel there is a holy connection between the high drama of the Grand Valley's scenery and the region's many fine wines. Goût du terroir, indeed."

You can read the rest of the Sunset Magazine article here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fundraising for "Harley the Motorcycle Muffler Fish" Nearly Complete

The Blue Pig Gallery is raising money for an unusual public arts project to be donated to the Town fo Palisade. The artwork is part of the overall beautification of the town center. Under the headline, "Fund raising continues for the Town of Palisade's purchase of Harley - the 6' tall gleaming guppy!" the gallery writes:

"Fund raising for the Town of Palisade is almost complete! To date nearly $14,000 have been generated by local residents and business owners to acquire Lyle Nichol's sculpture entitled Harley for the new town plaza.

"To make a donation call The Blue Pig Gallery or email Jane Wood directely at Donors will be honored with a plaque placed at the base of the sculpture. We have just over $4,000 to go. Please join us in this important project!

"The eye-catching sculpture of a fish, with scales made from 66 Harley Davidson mufflers, will be purchased through donations made to the Town of Palisade. Lyle Nichols is a long time Palisade resident whose family has been living in and around Palisade for three generations. Nichols’ work is on display throughout the town at Plum Creek Winery, Palisades National Bank and at The Blue Pig Gallery. “Harley” will be installed in the water feature of the new Town plaza next spring at the corner of Third Street and Main Street.

Lyle Nichols is a local character. You can view some of his artwork in Palisade, such as the Chardonnay Chicken in front of Plum Creek Cellars, Rusty's Dream in front of the Palisades National Bank, or simply drive by his studio near Carlson Vineyards on Orchard Mesa.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Wine Filmography, Part 2

When we wrote about Bottleshock a few week ago, we mentioned how thin the filmography is for wine related movies and documentaries. Fortunately over at Wikipedia under the "Wine" listing, there's a list of TVs and film featuring our favorite beverage:

"* Falcon Crest, USA 1981–1990: A CBS primetime soap opera about the fictional Falcon Crest winery and the family who owned it, set in a fictional "Tuscany Valley" in California. The series was very popular and a wine named "Falcon Crest" even went on the market.

* French Kiss, 1995. Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline act in this romantic comedy. Kline's character wants to have his own vineyard since he comes from a family of winemakers.

* A Walk in the Clouds 1995. A love story set in a Mexican-American family's traditional vineyard showcasing different moments in the production of wine.

* Mondovino, USA/France 2004. A documentary film directed by American film maker Jonathan Nossiter, exploring the impact of globalization on various wine-producing regions.

* Sideways, 2004. A comedy/drama film, directed by Alexander Payne, with the tagline: "In search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves." Wine, particularly Pinot Noir, plays a central role.

* A Good Year, 2006. Ridley Scott directs Russell Crowe in an adaptation of Peter Mayle's novel.

* Oz and James's Big Wine Adventure, UK 2006–7. "Wine ponce" Oz Clarke tries to teach motor head James May about wine. The first series saw them traveling in a classic Jaguar through the wine regions of France, and the second series saw them drive a recreational vehicle throughout California.

* Crush, USA 2007. Produced and directed by Bret Lyman, this is a documentary short that covers the 2006 grape harvest and crush in California's wine country. It also features winemaker Richard Bruno.

* The Judgment of Paris, USA 2008. A film currently in production, it is based on journalist George M. Taber's account of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976.

* Bottle Shock, USA 2008. A film currently in production, it tells the story of the birth of the Napa wine industry."

You can view the rest of the Wine entry here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Winter Park Winery Bottles with Palisade Grapes

Winter Park Winery is bottling the last of its summer wines using a blend of California and Palisade grapes. Cyndi Palmer writes in the Sky-Hi Daily News:

"Riesling, Chardonnay, Grateful Red and Summer’s Blends. Hundreds of emerald bottles passed through the skilled hands at Winter Park Winery last week as the business finished bottling the last of its summer wines.

"The scene was something to behold. In fact, the public was welcome to watch the process.

"Vintner Jon Brickner, his 'main man' Robin Tolleff, and a crew of retired Coors workers who are friends of father-in-law Bob Peterson bottled 400 gallons Tuesday and Wednesday. For what ended up being a total of 15 hours, each manned a station for filling, corking, drying, labeling, boxing and just plain having a good time.

"Brickner, who is going into his fifth year at the winery, estimates he bottles four times a year.

"He is happy with his small-time, big-hearted operation.

“'I really don’t want it to grow much more,' he said.

"The two growers who provide his grapes are from vineyards in Mendocino, Calif. and in Palisade. The last summer shipment of grapes (for Syrah, merlot and his best seller, the cabernet Sauvignon) is set to arrive next week from Mendocino.

"He uses the Mendocino grapes because they are 'really good, yet still affordable.'
The grapes he gets from Palisade are the best Colorado grapes, he said. "

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Colorado Law Means No Wine at Art Shows Without Permit

When describing an art gallery show opening, it's natural to say it's a "wine and cheese" event. But thanks to a new Colorado law passed this summer, no wine can be served with the fromage without a state liquor license.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent writes:

"Up until now, this practice has not been subject to regulation, even though it has been a little shady in the eyes of the law. But this year the Colorado Legislature threw a monkey wrench into that situation, and galleries statewide are now trying to get used to a new law imposed on them by the state.

"Mark Couch, a spokesman for the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division, said it was a similar 'First Fridays gallery crawl' in downtown Denver that prompted Denver police to request a gallery liquor law from the state legislature.

"The new law, which went into effect July 1, specifies that if a gallery serves wine, beer or liquor to guests at artist receptions and show openings, it now must have a permit to do so, even though the beverages are complimentary. It also limits a gallery to only 15 days in each year when it can serve alcohol and limits the serving time to four hours per event."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Controversy Swirls Around New Franchise Wineries with Out of State Grapes

The good news is that interest in Colorado-bottled wines continues to grow. The bad news is that many of a new breed of franchise wineries rely on grapes grown outside of Colorado, typically in California or even outside the U.S.

Denver Post Reporter Steve Raab writes in the business section about this controversy between the state's artisan "Colorado grown" wineries and the new franchise model. On one side are the traditionalists who often grew the brand often painfully, on the other side are the franchisees modeling their business plans on Colorado's highly successful microbrewery industry. While it's not exactly mom and pop stands against McDonald's -- the economies of scale are too small -- the debate rages around what makes for authentic Colorado wines.

Under the headline, "Clash of the Vintners," Raab writes:

"Not so many years ago, Colorado's nascent wine industry was fighting for respect against snobs whose "you expect me to drink this?" mentality couldn't fathom a drinkable, locally produced wine.

"Now a new battle for credibility and customers is fermenting among a fresh, fast-growing entrant in the business — winemaking franchises with mass-market appeal and do-it-yourself attractions.

"At least three of them recently set up shop in Colorado, including D'Vine Wine, Vintner's Cellar and Water 2 Wine. A fourth, Iron Mountain Winery operated under the Wine Not franchise, went out of business earlier this year.

"Collectively the franchises operate dozens of storefront locations in North America and are on a strong growth curve.

"'You see how big the microbrew (beer) industry has become in Colorado? We're hoping the same thing happens to the wine industry here as it did to the beer industry,' said Ray McCarthy, owner of Vintner's Cellar in Littleton.

"His wines sell for $12.95 to $25.95. On a recent weekday afternoon, McCarthy's tasting bar was doing a steady volume."

You can read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Frisco Releases Town Meritage, Gewürztraminer

The town of Frisco has released a couple of specially labeled wines for a fall festival. They're named after landmarks around the town. Under the headline, "Frisco Celebrates Autumn with Two Very Special Wines," Summit Daily News Reporter Alex Miller writes:

"FRISCO — At almost 9,100 feet above sea level, Frisco isn’t exactly a wine-making region. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have its own signature wines.

"As part of the town’s 'Autumn Spectacular' celebration, Frisco partnered with Guy Drew Vineyards in Cortez to offer two special bottles with the town’s labels.

"One is '9097 Main Street,' a red Meritage; the other is 'Peak One Gewürztraminer,' a white, sweet wine.

"Tim Bock, the town’s marketing director, said the wines were produced and labeled to pair with the Autumn Spectacular and to add more marketing appeal to attract visitors to Frisco during the fall."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Taking the Perfect Fall Foliage Photo

The opportunities for shooting awesome fall leaf shots depends on knowing where and when to go. The Colorado Springs Gazette offers these pointers from professional photographers. Under the headline, "A Snapshot of Autumn," Gazette Reporter Scott Rappold writes:

"It's Colorado at its most photogenic, the favorite time of year for many photographers.

"But knowing when and where to go is as much an art as actually shooting the scenes that can be found in so many posters and calendars.

"'The beauty of the aspens in the fall, and really almost any time of the year, when you see that aspen, that really represents what Colorado is,' said Dennis Woods, a Colorado Springs landscape photographer. 'It's a combination of the white and the gray in the trunk of the tree and the yellow when it changes. It's like nothing else you see in the United States. The color is just so vibrant.'

"The Gazette interviewed five professional photographers, who shared their favorite places and techniques for capturing this fleeting, dazzling time of year, when Colorado's famous aspens put on their show."

You can read the rest of the tips and pointers here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blue Pig Gallery Goes Green with Environmental Exhibit

Palisade's Blue Pig Gallery has been making efforts to 'go green' since they opened. For example, they recycle in both the kitchen and office. They reduce waste in myriad ways by re-purposing tools and objects and reducing wrapping supplies. In new construction this year they installed sustainable materials like cork flooring and included tank-less hot water heaters.

Come learn about ways over 30 area Blue Pig Artists are inspired by the natural world, ways in which they aim to be 'green' and how you can go green in the artist's way!

For more details call the gallery (970) 464-4819 or visit their website

Exhibit dates: September 19 - October 19, 2008

Lots of fun things happening during this new exhibit! Here are some details:

* Opening reception Sunday, September 21, 2008 from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.

* Sneak a peek during special late night hours Friday and Saturday, September 19th & 20th. The gallery opens at it regular time, 10:00 a.m. and extends hours past 6 p.m. Come refresh your being after wine maker's dinner and Winefest with hot coffee and cool mint water, music and live demonstrations.

*Demonstrations during late night and throughout the weekend by Blue Pig artists including: Cynthia Duff, Penny Creasy, Mary Mansfield, Dianna Fritzler and more.

* Register for weekend Creativity Workshop with Gayle Gerson; Re-purposing objects for collage. Saturday and Sunday (9/20 and 9/21) from 9:00 - 4:00.

Exhibition includes landscapes, florals and other images celebrating the natural world. Exhibition also includes found object and re-purposed objects in collage, sculpture and other mixed media works.

Colorado Mountain Winefest Opens Today

Come join in the fun at Colorado Mountain Winefest 2008, September 19-21, 2008

Colorado Mountain Winefest is the fundraiser for the trade organization of grape growers and winemakers of Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Association of Vintners and Viticulturists (RMAVV), a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. All funds go towards education, seminars, research, and equipment purchases to improve the grape growing and winemaking of Colorado wines.

Thousands of wine lovers make the annual pilgrimage to Palisade to sample a growing array of Colorado wines and participate in a variety of events. 2008 events will include:

  • Hands-on workshops
  • Wine and food pairing events
  • Dueling chefs
  • Grape stomps
  • Winery tours
  • Winemaker competitions
  • Chocolates and wine tasting
  • Wine and dine experience
  • Bicycle tour of the vineyards
  • Shopping at artisan booths
  • Jazz concerts
  • The exclusive First Class Pass experience
Toast the grape harvest and raise your glass to Colorado's finest vintages at the state's oldest, largest and best wine festival, and the only festival held in the heart of Colorado's wine country.

For more information about specific events, click here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Awesome Fall Color Tour: Traveling Grand Mesa's National Scenic Byway

If you've never driven it in the fall, this is one of the premiere fall color drives in the Western U.S. There's nothing quite like looking west from the summit and seeing the gold bands of aspen interspersed with the emerald green of fir trees, chains of lakes sparkling in the sunlight, and in the distance, the blond and red sandstone of the Bookcliffs. The switchbacks and hairpin turns of Land's End Road is also not to be missed. It's worth it for the views.

9 News KUSA describes the drive of the Grand Mesa National Scenic Byway through Mesa and Delta Counties:

"The nationally designated Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway crosses over the Grand Mesa on a 63 mile trek ranging from the orchards of the valley floor to the alpine meadows of its 11,000-foot summit. You can begin your trip in Plateau Canyon, where Highway 65 joins I-70 approximately 30 miles east of Grand Junction or in Cedaredge at the Byway Welcome Center next to Pioneer Town.

"A second access road to the top of the mesa was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933. The twisting, rocky road (Lands End Road) was then known as the "Veteran Road" or 'Military Road' because many of the crew members were former servicemen. There were three CCC camps on Grand Mesa for crews who built the Collbran Road, three ranger stations, campgrounds and picnic areas and the Lands End Observatory. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the site is used by the Forest Service as a summer visitor center and provides a spectacular view of Grand Junction in the valley below.

"The byway's southern gateway in Cedaredge is home to the Cedaredge Welcome Center, where you can find interpretive exhibits about the byway and Grand Mesa.

"Grand Mesa is reportedly the world's largest flat top mountain...There are over 300 lakes and ponds hidden away on the mesa and more lakes per square mile than any other place in the western United States."

You can read more about the byway here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Paonia, Hotchkiss Mayors Face Off in Grape Stomping Contest

It's not exactly a battle of the minds so much as it is a battle of the feet. To raise money for the Paonia Library Building Fund, the Mayor of Paonia has challenged the mayor of Hotchkiss to a grape stomping contest.

The Delta County Independent staff writes:

"Paonia Mayor Neal Schwieterman has thrown the gauntlet down to Hotchkiss Mayor Larry Jakubiak. The competition is the Grape Stomp at the Black Bridge Winery on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 11 a.m.

"Schwieterman has the advantage with his team already assembled. On Schwieterman’s team are town clerk Barbara Peterson, and trustees Tricia Bliss and Sid Lewis. Now, Mayor
Schwieterman is waiting to hear from Hotchkiss Mayor Larry Jakubiak if he will accept this public challenge to stomp the grapes. Schwieterman is betting that by having this challenge made public, Jakubiak won’t be able to refuse.

"Each team of four will compete in four-minute heats. Three minutes of stomping grapes will be followed by one minute of collecting the juice. The winning team who has the most juice will have its name on the Stompin’ Trophy at Orchard Valley Farms.

In a separate article, the Independent writes:

"Remember that great “I Love Lucy” episode where our heroine stomps grapes in Italy?

"Here’s your opportunity to participate in a real-life grape stomp without travelling outside Paonia. This riotous event, in celebration of the harvest, takes place at Black Bridge Winery on Saturday, Sept. 27, starting at 11 a.m.

"Assemble your team and secure your sponsor now! Challenge your neighbors, co-workers, or members of the opposite sex to compete. Entry fee is $75 per team and each team member receives a free tee-shirt, compliments of First Colorado National Bank. There will be awards for the best overall costume and an “I Love Lucy” look-a-like. All proceeds benefit the Paonia Library Building Fund.

"Organizers Jackie Parks and Kathy Bradley hope to see a large crowd of spectators cheering on their favorite teams. Bring a chair and enjoy the fun! A silent auction begins on Saturday morning at the winery and continues on Sunday, Sept. 28, at the Paonia Town Park. Local businesses and artists have generously donated many unique items and services.

"Plan now to attend Paonia’s first annual grape stomp and have a rompin’, stompin’ good time. Entry forms are available at the Paonia Library. For more information, call Jackie Parks at 527-4585 or Kathy Bradley at 270-7733.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Powderhorn Hosting Two Color Sundays at Resort

Palisade Ski Resorts has set up two color Sundays for this year. This is a great way to see the changing aspens up close, both on the drive up the Grand Mesa as well as on the ski lift. Please note, this would be a great way to wind up your Colorado Mountain Wine Fest weekend. Here's the details:

Color Sundays

It's almost time for the aspens to start putting on a show! This year you'll have a great chance to catch the beautiful fall colors as we will be having TWO Color Sundays.

Sept. 21 & 28

Lift Rides


$5 Adults, $3 kids 12 & under

Sunset Grille- Lunch 11am-3pm

Wildewood Restaurant- Breakfast Bar 8-11am. Lunch 11am-3pm

Alpine Trade & Cafe- SALES 9am-4pm

Live Music-

Sept. 21 Chris Hughes

Sept. 28 Vintage Voltage

Plus season pass photos, bump-n-jump, hiking and disc golf.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Partners Drive Trailer-full of Palisade Peaches to Kansas

How far would you drive for a Palisade Peach? How about all the way from Kansas? And how many would you buy at one time? Maybe a flat or a box for the back seat of your car. A couple of business partners from Kansas drive 10 to 12 hours to get their Palisade Peaches, only the duo buys a trailer full at a time.

The Hays Daily News reports that Doug Berland and Linus Pfannenstiel go the extra mile for their peach fix. Under the headline, "Side Business Just Peachy for Hays Couples," Daily News Reporter Diane Gasper -O'Brien writes:

"Mention the phrase 'Colorado peaches,' and a lot of people's eyes light up.

"That's what two area couples were counting on when they decided to bring back from Colorado a trailerload of peaches and other fruit two summers ago.

"Now, Doug Berland from Hays and Linus Pfannenstiel from Damar make at least two trips a summer to Palisade, Colo., in the west-central part of the state near the Utah border and return with a trailer full of fresh fruit.

"Pfannenstiel and his wife, Debbie, own the Bingo Haus in Hays and got the idea to visit a Colorado orchard from one of their former longtime bingo players."

You can read about these dedicated peach fans here.

Autumn Harvests and Colorado Wine: A Blogger's Perspective

It's always interesting to hear an outsider's opinion of yourself. Here's one blogger who waxed quite eloquently about Palisade, the area wines and the harvests coming in off Orchard Mesa. In his (or her?) blog, "Outer Limits," Andi writes:

"It’s early September and the fruit and vegetable harvests are coming in from the surrounding farms. This is big ranching and big farming country, where the long growing seasons make this part of Colorado well-known for things like peaches, corn, tomatoes, and apples. As a testament to that, I have three flats of peaches stacked in the back seat of my car, a bag of Big Jim chiles for roasting, a bag of pears, and three bottles of Colorado wine, made from grapes grown in the soils of this part of the state. I’ve just left a wine-tasting venue in Palisade, a town about 11 miles east of Grand Junction."

"Palisade–named because of the stark, tower-like buttes of Mancos shale that surround it–is tucked along the Colorado River and it’s world famous for its peaches. Here you’ll find quiet streets lined with Queen Anne style houses and a downtown that’s about three blocks long. It might remind you of the Iowa town your grandma grew up in, back when people walked everywhere and knew everybody and you stayed out of trouble because holy crap, everybody kept an eye on the kids and would tell your mama if you were doing anything questionable. That’s the kind of vibe that still exists in Palisade, though its myriad fruit stands and vineyards–the Confre wine cellars tasting room is right off the interstate–demonstrate that it’s a small town that recognizes the need to put one foot in the future while keeping the other firmly in the past."

"This is an area of Colorado that demonstrates extremes in its topography. A mixture of canyonlands, desert buttes, and high mesas, the drive along I-70 takes you through eroding sandstone and shale obelisks and hoodoos–formations that might be comfortable in a cave or on a pockmarked lunar landscape. Agriculture clings stubbornly to the floodplains long irrigated by the Colorado River, continuing to produce world-class fruits and vegetables, in small family operations that somehow continue to survive and maybe even thrive in this mixture of harsh and hospitable landscape."

Nicely put, Andi. We appreciate the input.

You can read Andi postings and Outer Limits blog here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fruita Fall Festival Slated for Sept 26, 27, 28

This is a small town festival at its best, and worth visiting if you are staying at the hotel. For Grand Valley residents, attending the Fruita Fall Festival is an annual pilgrimage and a traditional part of our autumn celebrations. (Fruita is due west on I-70, about 15 minutes away from Palisade).

Under the headline, "Magic, music, more at Fruita Fall Fest," Grand Junction Free Press Reporter Sharon Sullivan writes:

"What began nearly 100 years ago as a cowpunchers reunion has grown into a regional festival featuring family-oriented activities and live music all weekend long. Bluegrass and other country bands from around the West perform at the event."

"The festival opens to the public Friday (Sept 26) with a carnival, vendor booths, an art exhibit, a Rotary-sponsored beer garden and Lioness spaghetti dinner. At 7 p.m., the Magic Traveling Show featuring magician and illusionist Jim Wright will perform at the Fruita Civic Center pavilion stage, 325 E. Aspen St. Wright has performed for more than 40 years, opening for Fleetwood Mac, Herbie Hancock and Chubby Checker."

"Meanwhile, down the street at Circle Park, the local country band Exit 42 will perform for a street dance that begins at 7 p.m."

You can read the rest of the story here. Just remember, the dates are largely left out of the article, so that the festival schedule can seem a little confusing. The important dates to remember are Sept 26, 27, 28!

Palisade Couple Retiring from Peach Business

Sometimes the Internet works in funny, global ways. This is a story originally filed by KKCO NBC11. But it was picked up by, a fresh produce web site based in the Netherlands, probably through an RSS feed. Anyway, NBC 11 writes that, after a lifetime of hard work:

"Bonnie and Leroy Ball of Ball Fruit are retiring and selling their orchard. 11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler has more on their last harvest. Bonnie Ball says she's always loved watching the peaches grow. It's how she measures the seasons.

"'I'll be sad in a lot of ways but just because it has been such a good life,"'she told 11 News on Wednesday. She and her husband, Leroy, have built a life on the Palisade fruit. They have spent a lot of time and sweat growing each tree. The same care the ball's take with their orchard, they take with their customers. It is after all Bonnie's favorite part of spending 61 years at the Ball's fruit stand.

"Thats the thing I'll miss the most, the people that come in and visit with me," said Ball. She and her husband have been married for 58 years and she knew when she married Leroy, she was marrying the orchard. "Leroy was born into it, in the house right across the street. It's in his blood."

You can read the rest of the transcript here.

Thank you, Bonnie and Leroy. Ball Fruit will be missed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Science Behind Changing Fall Leaves

What exactly are the scientific processes behind changing fall leaves? If you've wondered, you're in luck. The Mountain Mail explains its all for you. "Under the headline, "Fall Colors Expected in Two Weeks," Mail News Editor Paul Goetz describes exactly how an aspen or cottonwood leaf goes from green to orange, read or gold. While different U.S. Forest Service employees contradict their colleagues in the last story we posted, over when exactly the leaves will change, Goetz's article offered this explanation:

"Increased night length is the primary regulator of autumn leaf change. As days shorten and nights lengthen, biochemical processes in leaves begin to change leaf colors.

"Leaf pigments come from chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanins.

"Chlorophyll gives trees basic green color. Trees in temperate zones store sugars produced by chlorophyll for their winter dormant period.

"Carotenoids produce yellow, orange and brown in foods such as corn, carrots and bananas.

"Anthocyanins are water soluble and appear in the watery liquid of leaf cells. They produce color in foods such as cranberries, red apples, concord grapes, blueberries, cherries and strawberries.

"Chlorophyll and carotenoids are present in the choloroplasts of leaf cells during growing season.

"Most anthocyanins are produced in autumn in response to bright light and excess plant sugar within leaf cells. During the growing season chlorophyll is continuously produced and broken down and leaves appear green.

"In the autumn, however, chlorophyll production slows, stops and eventually is destroyed, unmasking colors from carotenoids and anthocyanins and the tree exhibits color change. "

You can read the rest of this informative article here.

Fall Leaves May Turn Early This Year

It's time for the aspens and willows to turn various hues of gold, orange and red. But according to the U.S. Forest Service, the fall color may come a week earlier this year, due to unseasonably cold weather. (Well, all right, it's seasonable, but a little darned early).

Under the headline, "Feeling and Looking Like Fall in Colorado Mountains, "9 News KUSA reporter Anita Dill writes:

"People in the high country may soon be putting away the lawn mowers the getting out the leaf blowers.

"The leaves are already starting to turn. Catherine Olsen lives in Twin Lakes in Lake County. She says she doesn't expect to be mowing her lawn for much longer.

"She says the leaves are already turning from green to gold and it won't be long until they are fully changed and fall off the trees.

"Floyd Freeman, a forester with the U.S. Forest Service, says the mountain vegetation has been getting plenty of water so the turning leaves are likely the result of cooler temperatures at night.

"Typically the best time to see fall foliage in the mountains is the last two weeks of September. This year, that peak may come early."

See the story here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Snowmass Wine Festival Features Garfield Estates, Plum Creek, Two Rivers' Wines

The Aspen Times has written an in-depth profile of Billie and Bob Witham, owners and founders of Two Rivers Winery. The article also covers the Snowmass Wine Festival, happening this weekend. Under the headline, "Snowmass Wine Festival Draws Colorado Winemakers:
Grand Junction-Area Winery's Varietals Among Those Featured at Weekend Event," Reporter Stewart Oksenhorn writes:

"Two Rivers’ wines will be offered at this weekend’s Snowmass Wine Festival in Snowmass Village. The festival opens Friday with a dinner at the Artisan restaurant, featuring wines from the Australian maker Penfolds. The Grand Tasting is set for Saturday, Sept. 13, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the Snowmass mall. Among the winemakers will be three from Colorado, all located in Mesa County: Plum Creek, Garfield Estates, and Two Rivers, whose full array of varietals — cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, riesling and chardonnay, plus a port — will be featured. It is a rarity for the Colorado wineries to be included, as the Snowmass event typically coincides with the Colorado Mountain Winefest, in Palisade.

"In total, some 200 wines from around the world will be featured at the Grand Tasting in Snowmass. The event will also feature food items, a silent auction, and music by Bobby Mason & Friends. The event is a fundraiser for the Snowmass Village Rotary. The festival coincides with the 33rd Annual Snowmass Balloon Festival, which runs through Sunday, Sept. 14."

You can read more about the Withams and Two Rivers Winery here.

Two Grand Valley Women Fight for Family Orchards

If you listen to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," you may be familiar with the StoryCorps Project, a series of people's life stories as told by the people themselves. StoryCorps set up a listening booth in Grand Central Station in New York so people could wander in and start talking. They've duplicated these efforts across the country. Many of the stories are mundane, but some are more compelling than others and the best get shared. In the group's own words, StoryCorps, "is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening."

The project also has a blog,, where they recently featured the lives of two Grand Valley locals involved in the area's small family orchards. Under the headline, "Fighting For Family Farms," poster Sasha writes:

"Paula Anderson and Doris Butler have been friends now for over thirty years - both heavily involved in saving family farms and orchards in and around Grand Junction, Colorado.

"Traveling through the neighboring towns of Grand Junction, you will notice several small orchards full of peaches and cherries. You might spot neat rows of vineyards in people’s backyards and at the very foot of the Grand Mesa.

"In 1977, Paula rolled into town as the Citizen Participation Coordinator for a new planning initiative to save the farmland. Doris, a housewife and orchard owner, was living in the community at the time and opened her house to host the first organizing meeting, where Paula and Doris were able to plant the seeds of the future Mesa Land Trust.

"The two women recalled the extraordinary vision and commitment that the East Orchard community embodied, remembering local meetings that often ran until 2 o’clock in the morning with passionate discourse.

"Their conversation exemplified the pride you will find in Grand Junction and Palisade, Colorado - pride in their agriculture. Boasting a unique micro-climate in Western Colorado, the bounty of these communities can be tasted during the annual Palisade Peach Festival or the autumn’s Wine Tours of Grand Mesa.

You can read Doris and Paula's StoryCorps conversation here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Expect Later Than Usual Colorado Grape Harvest

A cool spring in the Grand Valley means that the grape harvest will be a few weeks later, this year. Or so says the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Under the headline, "Harvest Close but Grapes Not Quite Ready for Picking," Sentinel reporter Dave Buchanan writes:

"Remember wearing that comfy fleece pullover -- the one you usually dropped back into the closet by the first of May -- well into the month?

"The cool weather last spring did more than change your fashionista stylings. It offered notice to wine makers that this summer wasn't going to be like recent years.

"Now, with grape harvest at least a week later than last year and maybe getting a bit later every day, wine makers are gearing up for a harvest tantalizingly out of reach.

"'We'll probably start picking sauvignon blanc (this) week, ' said Jenne Baldwin-Eaton, winemaker at Plum Creek Vineyards, during a conversation Friday. 'It's a couple weeks behind; usually I have sauvignon blanc in the last week in August.'

"Most produce and fruit across the valley is running two to several weeks late this summer after getting a late start in the spring, said Horst Caspari, viticulturist at the Colorado State University Research Station on Orchard Mesa.

"'It's probably two weeks late compared to the past few years,' Caspari said. 'It may actually be more than that; the last few days of cool temperatures haven't helped.'"

You can read the rest of the article here.

The Buzz About Palisade Bourbon

More Front Range attention for Western Slope libations. The Denver Daily News is taking a crack at Palisade's Peach Street Distillers' latest creation --Colorado bourbon. Under the headline, "Colorado Bourbon? Indeed, Peach Street Distillers Offers New Product," DDN Staff Writer Gene Davis writes:

"Be warned, Kentucky: Colorado has produced its first bottles of legal bourbon.

"Peach Street Distillers, producers of Goat Vodka and Jackelope Gin, released the Colorado caramel-colored liquor last month to heavy fanfare.

“'I’ve been dropping by every week for what seems like an eternity, but they say the finest things are worth waiting for,' said a statement from Grand Junction resident, Josh Williams, who purchased one of the first bottles.

"The 750-milliliter bourbon bottle is 46-percent alcohol by volume. Each bottle features a black wax-dipped top and is hand-numbered by head distiller Davy Lindig.

"Rory Donovan, co-founder of Peach Street, described the bourbon’s taste as having a heavy cereal note with distinct tannic caramel and vanilla qualities that come from the oak.

“'All in all, it’s a pretty nice whiskey for what it is,' he said.

"Unfortunately for Denverites, the 2-year-old batch is only available in the Peach Street Distillers tasting room in Palisade.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Brewpubs Tap into Grand Valley

The Grand Valley has its own fair share of microbreweries. There's the the Rockslide, Palisade Brewey, Kannah Creek and the Ale House. Move around to Moab or Montrose, and there's still good homemade beer on tap. Another brewery plans to open in the old Krispy Kreme building on the fringes of Mesa Mall by Thanksgiving. Back in August, the Grand Junction Free Press wrote this article under the headline, "Smugglers Brewpub prepares to tap into Grand Junction." Reporter Josh Nichols wrote:

"The owners of a Telluride-based microbrewery that’s been serving up beers for more than a decade have wanted to tap some kegs in Grand Junction for several years.

"They recently discovered their opportunity — in the form of what used to be a doughnut shop.

"Michael Metz and Scott Strong, owners of Smugglers Brewpub in Telluride, hope to have their Grand Junction pub opened by Thanksgiving in the former Krispy Kreme Doughnuts building, which has sat vacant since the doughnut shop closed its doors in August 2007."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Book Cliff Vineyards Releases New White Wine

Assistant Winemaker and Sommelier Justin Jannusch and Sommelier and Salesman Mark M. Stephan at Book Cliff Vineyards have posted that they have released a new white wine. The duo blog:

"We just released a brand new white wine. "Visanne" is now available exclusively at our Boulder, Colorado tasting room. Visanne is a crisp dry white blend of 70% Viognier, 29% Roussanne and 1% Orange Muscat. This extremely food friendly white has hints of grapefruit, white peaches, lemon and lime zest. If you like our Viognier, you'll love the Visanne! Come in to our tasting room and try this wine and other great Colorado wine."

You can view their blog here.

We didn't see anything about pricing, but it bears mentioning that Book Cliff uses 100 percent Colorado grown grapes.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New West Magazine Features Carlson, Grande River Vineyards

'Thyme To Travel with Rochael Teynor" in New West Magazine featured several wineries from around Colorado's Wine Country. Teynor writes:

"At Carlson Vineyards, winemakers Mary and Parker Carlson offer a taste of their Peach wine served warm with mulling spices (warm peach cobbler in a mug) – perfect for an autumn evening. Another favorite – and the winner of several awards – is their Laughing Cat Riesling, which is produced from 100% Colorado-grown Riesling grapes. With subtle notes of apple, apricot, and pear, it is a semi-sweet wine that is a perfect complement to light fare featuring prosciutto or ham, chicken, seafood, cheese and fresh fruit. Carlson Vineyards is open year-round for tours, tasting, and retail sales, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information call (970) 464-5554.

"Owners Stephen and Naomi Smith opened Grande River Vineyards winery in 1990. With the stunning Bookcliffs rising above the vineyard, it is the ideal setting for this award-winning vineyard. Grande River grows all of the grapes for their wine and supplies fruit to many other Colorado wineries as well as wineries in several states.

"Merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah – three prominent red grape varieties – together make up about half of Colorado’s grape production. After sampling their Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, and Meritage Red, it was hard to choose a favorite, but I decided the Viognier will be replacing my usual selection of Gewürztraminer and Beaujolais this Thanksgiving. Grande River Vineyards’ tasting room is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. 1-70 at Exit 42, Palisade, CO 81526/(970) 464-5867."

There's also nice plugs for Inaris Bistro and for the Wine Country Inn.

You can read the article here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bottle Shock: Could Colorado Ever Pull Off Its Own "Judgment of Paris?"

The wine buzz surrounding the movie Bottle Shock is probably the greatest since Sideways. And with reason. For starters, there aren't too many good movies about wine...the documentary Mondo Vino comes to mind, as does John Cleese's wittily instructional Wine for the Confused. But Google "wine" and "movie" and the filmography you return is surprisingly slim.

Bottle Shock tells the story of the now fabled 1976 blind tasting, the so-called "Judgment of Paris" where California wines dominated over French wines. It put Napa and Sonoma on the map. But the question is, could tiny, artisan Colorado wineries ever dominate California or French wines in a blind competition? To be sure, the medals lining the walls of many of our state wineries attest to their quality. But a shut out? Our terroir is kinder to whites than red, because the growing season is so short, but we don't have the rots and blights of warmer climates. Although we can medal in specific categories, Colorado can not match the breadth or volume of California wines. Sheer acreage determines this, as much as anything. It's like we're a tiny country at the Olympics competing against a massive, well funded country like America or China. Just being in the competition is an honor. Anyway, go see the movie and celebrate by cracking open a bottle of Colorado wine afterwords.

In the Houston Chronicle, Dale Robertson writes:

"Bottle Shock tells an important tale. As every oenophile knows by now, "The Judgment of Paris" (the headline Time put on George M. Taber's story about the tasting) gave California its rightful place on the world's wine map. The 1973 Château Montelena Chardonnay and the '73 Stag's Leap Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon defeated some of the greatest wines Burgundy and Bordeaux had to offer in this 1976 blind tasting, organized by Parisian wine merchant Steven Spurrier at the Intercontinental Hotel (which resembles not at all the picturesque ruin of a chapel where the movie places it).

"California's rise to global prominence was perhaps inevitable. The Napa-Sonoma terroir was perfect, and the best American winemakers at least as skilled as their French counterparts, not to mention hungrier. But the tasting's surprising outcome — the judges all were members of France's wine elite — surely fast-forwarded the process.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Soil Monitoring System Takes Terroir Wireless

Imagine a future of managing a vineyard's microclimates, where every grape stock is monitored wirelessly. Well, that future is now amongst the vines at the Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa. Tom Abate, Staff Writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, examines the "beta testing" going on at Stagecoach. This technology has interesting roots in a Silicon Valley company that designed sensor systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. This Defense Department offshoot has a storied track record. DARPA spawned the Internet, is hard researching robotic unmanned cars, and now, has inadvertently birthed a way to better control a grape harvest. Your tax dollars at work...They call this computerized monitoring of crops "precision agriculture."

Under the headline, "Wireless System Can Detect Water Level in Soil," Abate writes:

"On a rolling hillside planted with row upon row of Cabernet grapes, viticulturist Jason Cole waxes eloquent about the elusive notion of terroir, a term French farmers use to describe the je ne sais quoi of crops harvested in any given locale.

"'Grapes, chocolates, coffee, these are all incredibly good at soaking up their environments and spitting them out in their fruits,' said Cole, who oversees the preening and pampering of more than 500 acres of vines planted at the Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa County.

"That vineyard is a test bed for a new wireless sensing technology that measures soil wetness, wind speed, temperature and humidity to take the statistical pulse of the vineyard's microclimates to help determine how often and how much to irrigate."

You can read the story here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Z's Peaches in the Business Spotlight

Bob Kretschman's been busy. First he wrote up the hotel, then he swung by Z's Orchard to interview Palisade Peach grower Carol Zadrozny for Colorado Biz Magazine.

Under the headline, "State of the State: Agriculture, Education, Energy and By the Numbers" with the subtitle, "Agriculture: Peach crop plump, sweet — and pricey," Bob wrote:

"Colorado’s peach crop took its time this year, with fruit growing plump and flavorful thanks to an unusually long, cool spring.

"Although fruit is ripening 10 to 14 days later than normal, growers say the crop is one of the best in years.

'The peaches are late, but everything is coming off superb. Flavor and size are just awesome,' said Carol Zadrozny, owner of Z's Orchard in Palisade.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Colorado Biz Magazine Profiles Wine Country Inn

Reporter Bob Kretschman of ColoradoBiz Magazine wrotes an in-depth review of the Wine Country Inn and the Palisade agritourism market. Under the headline, "Rooms with Vineyard Views: New Hotel Aims to Boost Western Slope Tourism," Kretschman writes:

"Aside from a handful of bed-and-breakfasts and a small, aging motel, Palisade had no overnight accommodations for visitors. The Wine Country Inn’s opening makes first-class lodging available literally in a vineyard.

"'I think it’s going to be huge for Palisade,' said Leif Johnson, executive director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce. 'The concept is so unique, it’s going to help put Palisade on the map. It’s very unique to Colorado. It has a Napa Valley feel to it; it’s a hotel in the middle of the vineyards.'"

You can read the full article here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Master Sommelier Returns for Three Months in Vineyards

According to the Vail Daily, the sommelier of Larkspur Restaurant is headed into the vineyards of Calli for three months of hard labor. So, kudos on the hands-on, backbreaking work, but boo for not stopping and staying in Paonia or Palisade for those grapes. (Sorry, folks, we're partisan).

Under the headline, "Larkspur Sommelier Heads to the Vineyards," the Daily Staff writes:

"Larkspur sommelier Kevin Furtado will be heading to wine country this week to push up his sleeves and immerse himself in the annual harvest. This will be his third year moving to Santa Barbara County, Calif., in September to get to the roots of winemaking.

"Through friends, Furtado had the good fortune to meet the owner of Cuatro Vientos vineyards, a six-acre vineyard where syrah and viognier grapes are grown. 'Cuatro Vientos' means four winds and describes the climate of its location in Los Olivas. Furtado has lived on the property during each of his winemaking stints.

“'That’s where the romance ends,' Furtado said, laughing. 'The truth is, wine-making is agriculture. It’s long hours and hard physical labor.'

You can read the rest of the article here.

Profile of Julie and John Balistreri

Kevin Hamm over at wrote up the Balistreri family from Balistreri Vineyards. Under the headline, "Balistreri Vineyards a Family Affair," Hamm says:

"Julie Balistreri swirls the garnet-colored Syrah around in the glass and then holds it up to her nose for a sniff.

"'Wow,' she says, her eyes widening. 'Do you smell that black pepper?'

"Julie and her father, John, are in the storage room of Balistreri Vineyards engaged in a barrel tasting -- that's when they sample some wine from the oak barrels the wine is aging in to see which ones are ready for bottling. Over the next few weeks, they'll sample nearly 200 barrels of wine. When it's all said and done, they will end up with about 50,000 bottles of wine.

You can read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Winery, Boutique Hotel Pair Up for Gourmet Winemaker’s Dinner

Call it a unique pairing of Front Range wine with Western Slope hospitality. During Colorado Mountain Wine Fest, Denver-based Balistreri Vineyards and the Palisade-based Wine Country Inn will team up Saturday, September 20, for a gourmet winemaker’s dinner during Colorado Mountain Wine Fest.

Enjoy five food stations, each paired with wines from the Balistreri Vineyards, then top it all off at the dessert station with a choice of Filled Crepe, Chocolate Mousse Martini or Palisade Peach Cobbler served with Balistreri Port or Cherry Wine.

The event offers a great opportunity to check out the newest place to stay in Palisade, and to meet the Balistreri and Tally families who head up the winery and hotel, respectively.

A unique “buffet station” wine dinner features Balistreri wine pairings at each station, with seating inside the Vineyard Ballroom and outside on the poolside patio.

Tickets cost $125 per person and can be purchased by calling 1-888-855-8330.

Wine Fest is the largest Colorado wine festival in the state, with over 40 wineries in attendance. Executive Chef David Kassera, who heads the Wine Country Inn Catering Department, designed the menu that compliments the wine selections.

The dinner menu runs as follows:
* An Antipasto Course featuring olives, peppers, olive oils and crostini.
* The Salad Course, paired with Chardonnay, will spotlight flakes of maple-smoked Salmon tossed with mixed baby lettuce, Craisins, candied walnuts, and shaved Parmesan Reggiano cheese, then drizzled with pomegranate vinaigrette.
* The Poultry Course, paired with Sangiovese, will consist of individual thin crust pizzas topped with Duck Breast grilled outdoors and topped with julienne of roasted bell peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, sliced grilled duck breast and extra virgin olive oil.
* The Pasta Course, paired with Syrah, highlights Cavatappi with Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu. Roasted tomatoes, garlic and bell peppers are gently simmered with boneless short ribs of beef for concentrated flavors, then tossed with corkscrew pasta.
* The Game Course, paired with Cabernet Franc, will center around Chef Carved Buffalo Brisket. Specially selected spices are gently rubbed into buffalo brisket and marinated overnight to bring out the unique flavor of this full-bodied cut. Cooked by open flame then slowly braised to melt in your mouth tenderness, the bison will be served on cornbread with baked bean cassoulet.
* Finally, the Dessert Course, paired with Cherry wine and Port, will offer a Crepe station with apricot, cherry, or chocolate mascarpone filling, as well as Chocolate Mousse Martini or Palisade Peach Cobbler

About the Wine Country Inn
Nestled in 21 acres of vineyards in Palisade, Colorado, the Wine Country Inn is Colorado’s first wine-themed hotel. The inn sits within walking distance of two wineries and a short drive away from nearly two dozen more. The hotel sports wrap around porches with wicker furniture, a pool and spa, gift shop afternoon wine tastings and wine country breakfast.

You can learn more about the Wine Country Inn at:

About Balistreri Vineyards
Balistreri Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery dedicated to making high quality wine. The winery was licensed in 1998 and released its first vintage in February of 2000. It is a small winery producing 4,500 cases per year. Balistreri’s wines are primarily made with vinifera varietal grapes purchased from growers in the Grand Valley Viticultural Area located in Western Colorado. Select wines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Muscat are produced with grapes from the Balistretri family’s own Denver Vineyard. The winery also sources some varieties not available in Colorado from the Central Valley of California.

You can learn more about Balistreri Vineyards at

First Mention of the Blog in Free Press got its first in-print plug! Sure, we've gotten the hotel mentioned plenty of times, but forget that! What about the blog? Sometimes, we feel like the ugly red headed step child. Sniff, sniff! (And we promised ourselves we wouldn't cry).

But "Talk Colorado Wine" coverage was not a problem this week. We got triple mentions recently.

1) The Palisade Chamber of Commerce wrote us up in its weekly e-newsletter.
2) The Palisade C of C is actively featuring us at the bottom of its main page.
3) The Grand Junction Free Press printed a blurb in its "Who’s News in the Grand Valley business community:"

"The Wine Country Inn, the new hotel in Palisade, is now promoting the wine community through its new blog titled, “Talk Wine and Colorado’s Wine Country,” at Spread the word and get blogging."

Just a paragraph, but we'll take it!

You can view the rest of the blurbs here.

Thank you to Executive Director Leif Johnson at the chamber and to Free Press Community Editor Tracy Dvorak. And readers, keep sending us those tips!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meet Stephen Menke, State Enologist

The Grand Junction Free Press has written a very nice profile of Stephen Menke, the "new" enologist hired by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. Besides being a really decent guy, Menke teaches for CSU’s horticulture and landscape architect department.

Menke is also part of a dynamic duo researching Colorado varietals at the Western Colorado Research Center on Orchard Mesa, the other half being state viticulturist Horst Caspari.

Under the headline, "Grand Valley-Based Enologist Tracks, Promotes Colorado Wines," Free Press Reporter Sharon Sullivan writes about Menke's unique ability to taste and smell wines.

Sullivan goes on to write, "As the state enologist, Menke studies and tastes wine. It’s all part of the job. Menke travels a few thousand miles a month visiting wineries around Colorado, surveying the quality and flavor of wines and advising vintners about wine-making and business practices.

"Menke was hired by Colorado State University last February to research the unique characteristics of Colorado grapes and help develop the Colorado wine brand.

Great story, Sharon! You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Palisade Kayak Course Still in Rocky Waters

Avid kayakers may be in a bit of a quandry-- they love the environment, but four endangered fish --the Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, bonytail chub, and humpback chub-- are endangering one sweet stretch of whitewater.

The Town of Palisade's master plan to improve tourism continues to snag over the issue of a proposed whitewater park in the Colorado River. Grand Junction Free Press Reporter Marija B. Vader writes that Palisade Town Manager Tim Sarmo, "--questions whether the federal government wants a whitewater kayak park in Palisade, with its continual requests for more information.

"Late last week, Sarmo fired a request of his own to the federal government: a U.S. Freedom of Information Act request of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. In it, Sarmo asked a long list of questions about funding and other details of the endangered fish recovery program.

You can read the full article here.
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