It's an biannual tradition: wine lovers on the Front Range board the Amtrak California Zephyr at Denver's Union Station, then ride the rails up into the mountains, through the Moffat Tunnel under the Continental Divide and Glenwood Canyon to Colorado's Wine Country in Palisade and Grand Junction. But if you'd hoped to drink some Colorado vino on this spring's tour, you may be too late.
Under the headline, "Colorado Wine Train Is Sold Out: AAA and Visitors Bureau Promote Twice Annual Wine Tour," Wines and Vines Magazine Reporter Jane Firstenfeld writes:
"A twice-yearly wine train from Denver to Grand Junction is just one way the Colorado wine industry has managed to stay on track despite the derailed economy. Originally engineered by the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, wine train journeys are now organized and promoted in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain AAA, whose president became so enamored of the concept that he'll serve as host for a scheduled run this fall."
"According to Barb Bowman, division manager at the GJVCB, this year's first scheduled departure in April is already sold out, and the "president's train" during harvest is almost fully booked. Wine train passengers board a private AmTrak car Friday morning in Denver, along the railroad's most popular passenger route to Utah, spend the day viewing spectacular scenery inaccessible by automobile -- and enjoy eight hours of wine education, food and jazz, joined two hours before their destination by two vintners from among the 19 now doing business near Grand Junction."
"The railroad segment of the three-day, two-night itinerary ends at Grand Junction."
"In a private car on an eight-hour segment of AmTrak's California Zephyr route, passengers learn about Colorado wines in scenic comfort before debarking in Grand Junction to visit its many wineries."
"The wine trains have been wildly successful with residents from eastern Colorado's populous Front Range, as well as tourists from Nebraska, Florida and Texas. Bowman said the GJVCB and AAA would like to increase the schedule, but so far, only the "shoulder season" bookings have been available to them, due to heavy AmTrak travel during the summer."
You can read the rest of the Wines and Vines Wine Train Article here.