Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: January 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Palisade Grapes Gives Front Range Winery Head Start

Another winery is opening up near Fort Collins, planting its own vineyard along the Poudre River. Until their vines are established, Two Bears Winery is relying on grapes grown at CSU’s Orchard Mesa Research Center in Palisade to make its chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.

Under the headline, " Ten Bears Winery to Start Own Vineyard," the staff of the Fort Collins Coloradan wrote a question and answer interview with Bill Conkling, the owner and winemaker at Ten Bears Winery in LaPorte. Here are Conkling's replies:

"Question: How did you come to open Ten Bears Winery in LaPorte?"

"Answer: The Fort Collins area is great place to call home. I grew up near Masonville, and I have lived in Northern Colorado most of my life. My educational background is in biology and chemistry, and my "real job" is in quality assurance for one of the local brewing companies."

"Winemaking has been a hobby for about 10 years, and after touring vineyards in Columbia Valley, Wash., and the Finger Lakes Region of New York, I realized the one thing Fort Collins didn't have was a winery."

"Finding the right location was the real challenge. My wife and I had always wanted a home in the country, and we had been looking for a couple of years, and just after we had given up hope, we happened to find the perfect site while browsing through a Land & Home magazine at the car wash."

"The property was just outside of LaPorte, with enough acreage to put in a good-sized vineyard. The site had excellent southern exposure, sloping gently to the southeast, toward the Poudre River. It was also near U.S. Highway. 287 and had good road access."

"It was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. Originally, I thought about starting the winery in the city, but I felt that something would be lost without the country setting. After completing our house in 2004, I looked into starting the winery."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Critic Kyle Wagner Drops by the Wine Country

We've admired Colorado author and Kyle Wagner for years, all the way back to her food and wine critic days at Denver's indie newspaper, Westword. Wagner is tough yet fair, a prolific writer whose unpretentious critiques carry more heart than bite. Now she is travel editor for the Denver Post.

So we were surprised but ecstatic when Wagner paid a secret visit to the our little hotel. We're reprinting her criticisms, warts and all, because we feel they are even-handed. Under the headline, "Wine Country Inn," Wagner wrote:

"Rates: Standard king or double queen starts at $149 per night ($89 in winter); the separate Vintner's Guest House, with rooms arranged around a club room for rental by the half or whole for private functions, starts at $169 per room ($109 in winter). Check the Web for specials. Overnight parking in lot is free."

"Stay here if you: love the idea of sleeping right at a Colorado vineyard."

"It's close to: Interstate 70, which can be seen from the parking lot, but the noise is surprisingly muffled when you're inside the inn. The Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa views are just out the window. Grand Junction is 10-15 minutes down the highway."

"The rooms are: very new and very clean, decorated with rich-colored fabrics to give it an upscale look, such as golds and wines on the draperies and bedspreads, even though overall it is fairly casual. Each room offers a chair and ottoman, flat-screen TV, refrigerator and microwave, and the bathrooms feature granite counters and tub liners. King rooms can be updated with a private patio, which is nice for the Book Cliffs views. The only thing we weren't thrilled about in the room was the bathroom doors — sliders have a way of moving along the track too fast, catching fingers and banging when they close, which can be heard in the next room."

"They put all of the money into: putting an appealing lodging onto an established vineyard. When Steve Smith put his Grande River Vineyards winery up for auction in 2006, Palisade residents Jean and Richard Tally were able to realize a decade-long dream, and Smith has since begun bottling a Wine Country Inn label. The inn offers afternoon tastings for guests, which is a nice touch, and there's an outdoor heated pool and hot tub. Breakfast in an appealing room is included, as is WiFi, and there are also fitness and business centers. One more comment: When this place starts to become popular, as I suspect it will, that parking lot will be inadequate."

"The bottom line: With its farmhouse style and rocking chairs on the wraparound porches, the property has a welcoming feel that goes a long way toward overcoming its close-to-the-highway locale. Over time, the brand-spanking-newness of the building will fade, and the Wine Country Inn should blend in nicely with the surrounding area. It's a great addition to the Grand Valley."

To address a couple of the issues Wagner listed: the sliding bathroom doors are meant to evoke farmhouse doors from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Our architect, J.G. Johnson, deliberately paid homage to the historic farm houses and outbuildings that dot the valley floor around Palisade. Johnson calls the style, "farmhouse vernacular;" it has a Victorian influenced look and feel. These were part of our efforts to honor the history and tradition of the Palisade area.

Our parking lot is a little tight, and this was on purpose. We felt an obligation to preserve as much of the original 21 acres of the Mount Lincoln Vineyards as we possibly could. We wanted guests to admire vines and mesas around their verandas, not asphalt.

So, all in all, a great write up! You can read the rest of Kyle Wagner's Denver Post write up here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jazz, Martinis at Wine Country Inn’s New Jazz 777 Club

Enjoy hot food and cool jazz at the Wine Country Inn tonight, Friday, January 23, from 7-10 pm. Wander in from the vineyards and hear great piano or jazz, have a drink, and visit with friends. Even rent a luxurious guest room and spend the night at the hotel.

Called Jazz 777, the jazz club comes packaged with a room night special of $77.70 a night. The party will be in the hotel’s Tasting Room because it is cozy and the acoustics are great.
If you don't get a room, there is no cover charge. Attending the event is free.

The featured performers are the Miles Ahead Jazz ensemble, including keyboard, drums, bass, horn and vocalist.

Jazz 777 evolved after the Miles Ahead band played for a black tie Christmas party for a doctor's group at the Wine Country Inn. Set up in the hotel Tasting Room at a client's request, the band was ideally situated to fill the lobby with their great sounds. Guests (of the hotel, not the party) were lingering in the lobby just to catch a few riffs.

“Having live music wafting through our building lends an ambiance of civility that I think will be warmly received by guests,,”says Wine Country Inn Co- Owner Jean Tally. “We already have a great following among for our afternoon wine tasting. This just seems like a natural extension.”

Grande River Vineyards Launches Two New Wines

Our next-door neighbor, Grande River Vineyards, just launched two more wines: “Havin’ a Cow,” a Colorado red table wine which blends merlot and cabernet sauvignon, and “Coat D’ Roan,” which is 40 percent syrah, 35 percent cinsault and 25 percent mourvedre.

Grande River Winery has approximately 50,000 gallons of fermentation and storage capacity including 300 to 350 French and American oak barrels as well as some Hungarian oak barrels. We also have 26,000 gallons of tank capacity; they produce 7,000-8,000 cases of wine annually.

The winery and vineyard, nestled beneath the Bookcliffs, which tower 2,000 feet above the vineyard. The buttes & mesas radiate warmth down to their vines to ripen the crop to perfection in the late-August through October harvest and protect the vines from severe winter freezes and spring frosts.

Grande River is a short walk through the vines from the Wine Country Inn's front door. Their tasting room is open seven days a week, 9 am -5 pm. Grande River vintages are also available in the Wine Country Inn gift shop.

Grande River also produces the hotel's line of Wine Country Inn wines, including Merlot, Chardonnay, Meritage White, Sauvignon Blanc and Ten Acre Red. These can be tasted at our afternoon wine reception, held in the hotel tasting room daily.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Colorado Wine Country Takes Flight

They're the perfect time killers for a banal cross country flight --an airline's in flight magazine. These publications offer a crossword puzzle to scribble on, some catalog items to purchase, and --of course-- end destination articles and photo spreads to peruse and make us wish we could go there.

So it's wonderful to read the latest issue of American Eagle Latitudes Magazine, which features a write up of our local wine scene. Under the headline, "Grand Junction's Wine Country," Latitudes Reporter Tania Casselle wrote:

“If you forget everything you were ever told about wine, remember this...," Bob Witham pauses causing visitors to his Two Rivers Winery to lean forward in the oak-fragranced gloom, surrounded by barrels of aging Chardonnay. "When wine comes in, secrets come out."

"Already it's clear that one secret is out—Grand Junction's wine country is flourishing, with award-winning wines taking their place at the table alongside some of the best in America. And what better way to share the secret than to take a tour of Grand Valley vineyards? More than 19 wineries clustered around Grand Junction and Palisade have tasting rooms, and winemakers are eager not only to share their bounty but also their craft with behind-the-vine tours. Before Witham leads his oenophile visitors back out of his cellar and into the dazzling Colorado sun to let them loose in the tasting room, he describes using garlic paste to seal leaks in the $1,000 barrels—the pressure inside stops the garlic from seeping in and tainting the flavor. "

"The Grape Escape"

"The world's best wine regions tend to be spectacularly beautiful, and Colorado's Grand Valley is no exception, wrapped between three landmark vistas. The red rock spires of Colorado National Monument frame one side of the valley. Turn around to see 40-mile-wide Grand Mesa, one of the world's largest flat-top mountains and often called the "Island in the Sky." In between, the dramatic Book Cliffs jut against the blue. Every direction is picture-perfect."

Later in the article, the Wine Country Inn receives a nice write up:

"Where to Stay"

"The new Wine Country Inn, set in 21 acres of working vineyards, is the ideal base for exploring the wine country. Inspired by the owners' visits to wine properties in France, Italy and California, the Victorian-style Wine Country Inn is elegant but relaxed, with welcoming rooms decorated in soothing harvest colors—mellow yellows and warm clarets—and offering understated luxury in details from sumptuous beds to flat-panel TVs. Sunset on the wraparound patios affords grand views of the Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa. You can also soak in the outdoor hot tub under Colorado stars that feel close enough to touch. Arrive in time for the daily complimentary wine reception to meet other guests and taste the Inn's own wines, produced by Grande River Vineyards next door. Grande River also hosts summer concerts in its outdoor amphitheater, and has a mini "sample vineyard" where visitors can view nine different grape varietals on the vine. ¡Salud!"

It doesn't hurt to mention that American Eagle provides service to Grand Junction.

You can book your trip today. Visit, call American/American Eagle reservations at 1-800-433-7300, or call your travel agent for more information.

You can read the rest of the article here, although we suspect that this link will change as new issues are published. So go to the Latitudes homepage and use their search engine to Google "wine country inn."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Colorado Vino Wedding Site Garners Praise

Picking the right spot for your Colorado wedding is an important step in planning for the big day. So why not plan a wine-themed wedding? There are many fantastic wedding venues around Colorado's Wine Country, allowing a bride and groom to celebrate their matrimony while enjoying the romance and prestige of Colorado wine.

So we at the Wine Country Inn are extremely proud that PerfectOutdoorWeddings named us a "Top Five Location for a Vineyard Wedding" in the United States in 2008. This accolade received press coverage at The Denver Post, The Palisade Tribune, The Grand Junction Free Press, Bride.Net and The Business Times of Western Colorado.

We are also pleased that The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel wrote up the award. Under the headline,"Area Inn Gets National Praise For Wedding Site," Sentinel Reporter Anna Maria Basquez wrote:

"Atlanta-based this week ranked Palisade’s Wine Country Inn in the Top 5 Vineyard Wedding Locations in the United States."

"--The inn joins the company of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, California’s Napa and Sonoma regions, Newport, R.I., and the Catskill Mountains region of New York in the listing."

“We’re tickled to death about that,” said Jean Tally, co-owner of Wine Country Inn. “It will help us with the destination-type weddings. People from out of town might not want to go to California or to Martha’s Vineyard.”

"Wine Country Inn, 777 Grande River Drive, is described on the site as having a “dreamy outdoor wedding venue” with a range of outdoor activities for wedding parties, including horseback riding, fishing and hiking. The site describes the facility as “the perfect place for a ‘Cinderella’ wedding.”

"The inn boasts a large, outdoor gazebo with a paved path for an aisle. It has a salon inside and can do the catering on-site."

“We also have what we call an elopement package,” Tally said. “Sometimes brides, if it’s a second wedding and they don’t want a large group, will do a formal wedding with a smaller number of people. The budgeting really depends on what they want.”

You can read the rest of the Sentinel article here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Could Scientists Cook Up 'Instant' Vintage Wine?

Meek Doctor Jeckyll could swallow a magic elixir and turn into Mr. Hyde. Cartoon hero Underdog popped a pill to gain his superpowers. But what if a mild mannered wine could instantly yell "Shazam" and morph into "Superwine" ? According to the blogosphere, it's possible. The rumor has been circulating around the Internet for weeks. But unfortunately, the story had all the feelings of a con, urban legend or hoax:

Here's a typical posting, this one by The Pitch of Kansas City. Under the headline, "Coming Soon: Vintage Wine Over Night," Owen Morris wrote:

"Scientists have stumbled across a way to make the cheapest of cheap wine taste like a vintage pinot grown in the heart of Burgundy."

"It's an outlandish claim and people have been hawking various gizmos that promise to do the same thing for years, but this time it's respected scientists who have figured out a method that works -- and to prove it, they fooled wine-experts."

"Xin An Zeng of South China University was experimenting with electrical fields' effect on food when he decided to try it with wine. The electrical field acts as a catalyst in turning various acids into esters. Esters are the pungent compound that give aged wine that unique mouth feel and taste. As a wine matures, it gains more esters and becomes less acidic, but it takes years for oxygen to turn the acids into esters."

"Zeng found that by using electrical fields he could speed the acids-into-esters process into minutes. He presented his work to Hervé Alexandre, a professor of oenology at the University of Burgundy who was impressed, delcaring it a "feasible way" to shorten maturity. As strong of a vote of confidence as you're going to get from a French wine professor."

"Zeng published his work in volume nine of Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, a scholary journal that, in the same volume, included such breezy articles as "Comparison of hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressure to inactivate foodborne viruses."

You can read the rest of the article here.

To the authors credit, he doesn't swallow the claim wholesale.

Here's our line of thinking. We've had electricity since the 18th century, tons of scientists, research labs, both public and private, as well as the ultra competitive multi-billion dollar food and wine industries. Add into that the extreme nationalism that surrounds wine regions the world over --and with all these factors, no one ever thought to generate an electrical field around wine? All those researchers and tinkerers never hit upon this fairly obvious idea? It strains credulity. Either that, or Zeng's a genius.

So are the media and bloggers being suckered? Is this a "cold fusion" or "perpetual motion machine" kind of claim? Only time will tell. Until then, we are extremely skeptical. Don't look for your $10 box wine to turn into Château Lafite any time soon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wine Trail Traveler Keeps It "All In the Family"

A syllogism in the wine industry might work like this: Many small businesses are family businesses. Many wine-related businesses are small businesses. Therefore, many wine-related businesses are run by families. This statement is true enough, especially if you've read the recent examples provided by the Wine Trail Traveler newsletter.

The publishers wrote a nice article about the many examples of intergenerational involvement with wineries, vineyards and hotels. Mothers and sons, fathers and daughters work side by side to create authentic products and services in limited quantities. Luckily, a couple of Colorado vino-related businesses made the cut. Under the headline, "Families Creating Together," Wine Trail Traveler wrote:

"After visiting numerous wineries of all kinds, we discovered that a number of the wineries have a common theme of parents and children. In some cases, children became interested in the many aspects of the wine industry from helping in the vineyards to working in the winery or tasting room. We would like to take a moment to honor many of those wineries that have a lifestyle that the future generations appreciate."

"Balistreri, in Colorado, is owned by John Balistreri, winemaker. His daughter, Julie, also makes wine and deals with the business end of the winery. As we spoke with John and Julie, we became aware of the love and respect for each other. Julie watches out for her father and knows where he is and he is doing. John's son, while not involved at the winery, is an artist and professor at Bowling Green. He provided the sculptures seen in the landscaping."

Later in the article, the Wine Country Inn is mentioned:

"Although not a winery, Wine Country Inn in Palisade, Colorado, does have 16 acres of grapes. Wine made with their grapes and bearing the Wine Country Inn label are produced by their next door neighbor [Grande River Vineyards]. The Inn is new on the scene and provides a delightful stay for visitor. Wine Country Inn was built by Jean and Richard Tally. Their daughter Anne is deeply involved with the inn and supportive of her parents and the inn."

"After visiting more than 300 winery and vineyard tasting rooms and meeting so many wonderful people, it has been difficult to decide which wineries to mention in this newsletter... One of the purposes of Wine Trail Traveler is to make people aware that visiting wineries is fun, enjoyable, and if they don't visit wineries, they are missing an experience as well as some great wine."

You can read the rest of the newsletter here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Study: Boost Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids With Wine

Common medical knowledge has us maintain our blood through a variety of ways. Perhaps we pop an aspirin, eat fish rich in the right kinds of cholesterol and fatty acids, and of course drink a glass of vino (preferably a nice red swimming with that wonder compound reversterol, derived from grape skins).

Now researchers say that wine may actually raise the level of that "good blood" fatty acid, omega-3.

Under the headline, "A Little Wine May Boost Heart-Healthy Omega-3," Reuters news service is reporting:

"NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A glass or two of wine per day may increase the amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in a person's blood, a new study suggests."

"The study of European adults found that those who drank in moderation tended to have higher blood levels of omega-3 -- even when intake of fish, the major dietary source of the fats, was taken into account."

"The link was strongest among wine drinkers, compared with those who favored beer and spirits. The findings suggest that wine, in particular, may affect the body's metabolism of omega-3 fats, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Romina di Giuseppe of Catholic University in Campobasso, Italy."

"The results also point to an additional explanation for why wine drinking, in moderation, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, the researchers report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

"Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, are thought to protect the heart by lowering triglycerides (a type of blood fat), reducing inflammation and preventing heart-rhythm disturbances, among other benefits."

"For its part, wine may boost blood levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, reduce the chances of blood clots and improve the function of the blood vessel lining."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rocky Mountain Meadery 'Grand Example of Simple Complexity'

Honey wines, otherwise known as meads, conjure up images of Beowolf and Grendel, King Arthur and the Round Table, and other Medieval images of Knights of Old. One artisan producer of the beverage is located right here in Palisade. Meadery of the Rockies has been producing its honey wines for more than a dozen years.

The blog, Ramblings of a Beer Guy, enthuses about the Meadery's product line. Under the headline,"In a World of Beer, Is There Room For Other Libations?" the Beer Guy wrote:

"I was drug swiftly into the mead world by the Meadery of the Rockies. They are located in Palisade Colorado, and they produce a very nice mead. It is a grand example of simple complexity. They use California Orange Blossom honey exclusively, and masterfully convert it into several variations. They produce 4 standard "SHOW" mead variations:
King Arthur (Dry) Lancelot (medium dry) Guinevere (semi-sweet) Camelot (sweet) as well as a host of fruit blended mead and even a Honey Sheré."

"The show mead is what hooked me. It is simple enough that the inexperienced mead drinker can simply say "Oh That's good" but complex enough that you will eventually fall in love with the complexity of the bouquet and the flavor that screams honey from every corner of the glass!"

You can read the rest of the blog post here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Peach Brandy and Jackalope Gin From Peach Street

Palisade is more than the epicenter of Colorado's Wine Country. There's a variety of fruit wines, meads, handcrafted beers and hard spirits produced by our intrepid local artisans. Taking advantage of the area's abundant agriculture, these distillers add many local flavors beyond our excellent vino.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention two reviews of Peach Street Distillers. The first was written by Blogger CookManFood of their Peach Brandy.

"I am proud to have in my possession bottle # 25 of the first ever batch of peach brandy from Peach Street Distillers and I must say I feel privileged. I had enjoyed their immature peach brandy a little over a year ago and was excited to find out that they were bringing it out of the oak barrels as a mature brandy. You may be thinking about all the times that I have said that I am a purest and do not like fruit in my beer or liquor, but this is different. This is not simply some cheap peach flavor that was added to a cheap brandy or liquor. This brandy began its life from handpicked, hand pitted peaches from the world famous peach orchards in Palisade, Colorado. They fermented the peaches into brandy, and then placed it into barrels to age and gain character."

"This brandy has a rich amber color. The thick body of the brandy is evident when you swirl it around the snifter with droplets of brandy gathering on the side of the snifter then falling back into the glass. The initial aroma of the brandy is a light vanilla and peach scent. When you put your nose further into the glass you can smell the distinct peach aroma with the oak finish provided by the aging barrel. There is a very smooth feel when the peach brandy enters the mouth. The peach flavor comes on slowly at first, and then remains in the back of your mouth after you swallow. Peaches are a rich, flavorful fruit and this peach brandy captures this flavor perfectly. It is obvious they took great care selecting the fruit that was used to create this superb product."

You can read the rest of the article here.

The second review focused on Peach Street Distiller's Jackalope Gin. Blogger CocktailHacker writes:

"Jackelope Gin was the next gin on our tasting list. This is a small batch gin produced by Peach Street Distillers in Palisade, CO. Being a sucker for small batch, artisinal spirits I knew this bottle had to come home with me the minute I saw it. The gents at Peach Street give a superb telling of exactly why gin is the best bait for the Jackelope and sadly I can’t say we had any luck in catching any. I think this stems more from my location in a small city though than our choice of bait. As any amateur cryptozoologist knows Jackelopes prefer the sparsely populated high mountain deserts and sand stone mesas. What we did find is a great gin that is well worth seeking out."

"Jackelope has a nice fruity nose and the taste of sweet fruits comes through in the flavor as well. We all concurred that this gin is much smoother than our control (Bombay Sapphire) and has little burn which is also nice. Peach Street uses a blend of local junipers which I think adds to the uniqueness and great taste of this gin. Beyond that the “secret” ingredients are the standard gin fare: Coriander, Angelica, Oris root, Licorice, Lemon peel/zest, Lime peel/zest, Cassia bark. In this gin they are very nicely balanced and make for a complex but tasty gin. None of the botanicals are screaming at you but they are all there. I think this gin would be excellent in a Martini, but maybe go a little light on the vermouth, say 5:1, so as not to overwhelm the subtle flavors."

You can read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Flattering Review of Bookcliff Vineyards Merlot

It's always nice when someone in California wine country sits up and takes notice of a Colorado wine. Such was the case with Bookcliff Vineyards Merlot, which was recently reviewed by a reporter. In the publication's Cork Heads blog, Jessica Yadegaran wrote some flattering words for Bookcliff.

Under the headline, "Colorado Wine Rockies My World," Yadegaran wrote:

"Oh hush up. I know it’s a bad pun, but I live for them. And I’m ancy. I’m going home in less than an hour to light my menorah and make curried sweet potato latkes that I will wash down with the nectar of the mountain gods - a Merlot from Colorado."

"Yes, Colorado."

"I received the 2002 BookCliff Vineyards Merlot as a gift a few years ago and just got around to opening it last night, letting it breathe for half an hour and enjoying it with some curried Israeli cous cous and sweet potato soup."

"What a Merlot — Smooth, surprisingly crisp and light in body with all the classic aromas and flavors of plum, tobacco and soft cherries. This is a small production wine from the Grand Valley — the winery made less than 250 cases of the current 2004 vintage."

You can read the rest of the review here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bottled Palate Cleanser Under Development

The song talks about putting time in a bottle, but two Cal Poly students had another idea, to develop a palate cleanser in a bottle, to be consumed between wine tastings. Under the headline, "Wine Notes: Cal Poly Alums Create 'Palate Cleansing Beverage' Aimed at Winemakers," San Luis Obsipo Tribune Reporter Janis Switzer writes:

"Five months after receiving their diplomas, most college graduates are looking for a job, looking for a place to live, and just generally looking for a direction in life."

"Not so with Andrew Macaluso and Nicole Chamberlain, who are traveling California test marketing and selling the innovative new product they developed while working toward their degrees in enology and viticulture in Cal Poly’s wine and viticulture program."

"The product they created is SanTásti, a “palate cleansing beverage” that they hope will help winemakers evaluate their wines more accurately, as well as help tasting rooms better represent their wines to often overwhelmed consumers."

"The concept is simple, but there is no other comparable product on the market right now, and Macaluso and Chamberlain have already filed for a patent."

"They’ve already started the framework for a company they plan to expand into other innovative products."

"Neither of the partners initially started in the Cal Poly wine program. Macaluso was a chemistry major and Chamberlain a biology major."

'They met during their first year in chemistry class, but two years later they decided that the lab was not for them."

"They changed majors in their junior year, and found themselves analyzing the effect of enzymes and bacteria on wine quality."

“One thing that we just decided to look at out of the blue was the quality that was assigned to the wine based on the order the wine was tested,” Macaluso explains."

"It was then that the couple saw a pattern that indicated palate fatigue played an important role on how a person evaluates wine quality."

“It was things like that that really piqued our interest,” Macaluso says."

"So one night watching television at home, they decided to try to come up with a “palate cleanser.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What the New Year Holds for Colorado Wine

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has a few wise words for the New Year: "As for resolutions, Colorado has 72 or so wineries. How many of them one, can you name, and two, have you visited? Make a decision to see more of Colorado Wine Country in 2009, and get to know the winemakers."

Excellent advice. As the Colorado Wine Industry comes of age, there are more and more vintages worth trying. We have a resolution of our own for the industry:

That out-of-state reporters, after saying "Colorado Wine Country," will stop using the phrase, "Yes, Colorado." We've seen this used a couple of times in news articles. It's breathless, disingenuous and condescending all at the same time. There's wine in all 50 states, now, as Time Magazine recently pointed out -- so don't act shocked when there's decent wine to be had on something other than the coasts.

But we digress. The Sentinel went on to evaluate global wine sales for 2009. It corroborates other stories we've seen. High end wine isn't moving as fast as the cheaper stuff. The Sentinel writes:

"[We're not in] another capital-D depression seemed to be the general assumption, although there was obviously a wide-trending desire to hold the line on spending. That, of course, lends itself to the wine market, and a recent report on Wine Business News said savvy customers are looking farther and farther down the list of wines."

"Among its reports, Wine Business cited a story in the Los Angeles Times that said, “Sales of wine for $9 or less make up the fastest-growing segment of the wine market, while sales above that price are starting to trend down,” quoting Jon Fredrikson, a Woodside, Calif., industry analyst."

"This reflects what some local retailers have said, that bottle sales are up although revenue is down. Which means it takes several $6 wines to have the same income effect as one $20 bottle."

"That same story linked to an e-mail from Danny Brager, who tracks the wine industry in the United States for the marketing information source Nielsen Co., that said the wine industry’s “15-year bull run seems to have stumbled a bit.”

“The stumble is that while it’s growing, it’s not growing as fast as it was last year,” Brager said."

"And another story compared recent consumer trends to the dark moods following 9–11."

“We’re in a 9–11 mode, where people are hunkering down a little,” said David Freed, chairman of the Napa-based UCC Group, whose investments include hundreds of acres of vineyards in the Central Coast and North Coast."

"It’s not that people aren’t buying wines; it’s just they are buying lower-priced wines. Sales of so-called premium wines, the ones that once were in the $15–$20 range, have fallen steadily until now it’s the $5.99 to $9.99 wines that are making up the bulk of the sales."

"And many retailers are saying wines priced above $25 are moving sluggishly, if at all."

Many full bodied Colorado wines are priced within this range, so drink local this year. And visit those winemakers!

You can read the rest of the Sentinel article here.

Vintage 2008: What the Wine Year Brought

Globally, what were the trends for winemakers, viticulture and viniculture? News service Reuters says the focus was on greener production and an eye on production costs and consumer's pocketbooks. Under the headline, "Vintage '08? A Mixed Case of Economy and Ecology," Reuters Reporter Leslie Gevirtz wrote:

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - In the world of wine, vintage 2008 was a blend of economy and ecology as financial woes put the brakes on a bull run in prices and more producers went green."

"The marketers got into the green word for wine," said Alice Feiring, author of "The Battle for Wine and Love or How I saved the World from Parkerization."

"Boisset, the second-largest producer of Beaujolais Nouveau, bottled its entire 2008 harvest in plastic bottles."

"The lightweight PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles drastically cut shipping costs without affecting the young Gamay wine inside and created packaging that was "absolutely recyclable," according to a company spokesman."

"Of course, there are others that don't think the wine industry has really turned green yet, despite the rise in the number of biodynamic and organic wineries internationally."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Liquor Sales Steady in Spite of Economy

We didn't want this holiday article to slip by unnoticed. Back in December, the Denver Post reported that Colorado liquor sales remain steady, although consumers are steering towards box wine and well drinks over high-end vintage vino and top shelf liquors. Oh yeah, there are mentions of Western slope establishments like Peach Street Distillers and Crossroads Wine & Liquors in Grand Junction.

Under the headline, "Alcohol Sales Have Survived Despite a Slow Economy, But Tastes Are Shifting: Quantity Over Quality," Post Reporter Nancy Lofholm writes:

Customer numbers at Colorado liquor stores aren't down and liquor excise taxes are up 7 percent this year, lending credence to the old saw that people continue to imbibe in tough times. But liquor store owners and liquor industry officials say drinkers are avoiding high- end spirits in favor of more moderately priced goods."

"Or if they can't stand to give up their ultra anejo tequila and single-malt scotch, they may buy it in smaller quantities."

"I've never seen an environment like this," said Jim Smith, president of Republic National Distributing Co., who predicts that by the time the tinsel comes down, liquor retailers will have had a decent overall season."

"But their revenues just might come more from $20 premium boxed wines. Sales of the penny-wise cartons have jumped 40 percent in the past month, according to a survey by A.E. Nielsen. Or from economy vodka, which the survey showed has jumped 7 percent while sales of luxury vodkas have declined."

"There are people out there that this downturn hasn't even bothered, but then there is the guy who would buy the $25 bottle of wine and is now buying the $10 bottle," said Daveco Liquors manager Ted Sutton."

"No one has plunked down $13,000 for the store's priciest bottle of 55-year-old scotch. The last five-figure bottle of booze to sell there went out the door this summer before the economy really tanked."

Check out the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2008 Palisade, Colorado, Year In Review

O.K. --we know these sorts of year end retrospectives hit more around December 31st or Jan 1. But we've had no shortage of things to report about the Palisade area. It's been busy around here! We're blogging about Colorado wine and wine industry trends, but we don't want to forget what's been happening in our hometown. In the last 12 months, Palisade took major steps to revamp its tourism industry as well as give Main Street a face lift.

Palisade Tribune Editor in Chief Bob Dougherty said it best in his article, "A Year of Exciting Changes for the Town of Palisade." Uncle Bob wrote:

"It was a very good year for the Town of Palisade, 2008. It saw the town take on an exciting and vibrant pace of growth unlike any year in the modern era."

You said it, Uncle Bob. Highlights from the past year include:

A new look for downtown: "The town formulated a plan to turn the dirt area between Main Street and Kluge Avenue adjacent to the railroad tracks into a modern parking lot.... In the meantime, a new Town Center Plaza is being constructed at 3rd and Main where the old parking lot had been. Landscaping and other work will be completed in the spring."

This includes some donated sculpture; namely Harley the Chrome Motorcycle Fish by local artist Lyle Nichols. The fish is made out of mufflers and other shiny parts from old Harley Davidsons. The Blue Pig Gallery raised the funding to donate this civic minded arts project. (Trust us, it's dazzling).

On the tourist front: "A new Tourism Advisory Board was created early in the year and went right to work. In time for the 2008 tourist season, two brochures were readied and distributed. In 2009, the TAB will advise the town on how to spend the revenue generated by the new lodging occupation tax. The tax is paid by the owners of lodging establishments based on $2 per occupied room per night."

"The Palisade Peach Festival drew 29,000 people over its four days, its best year ever. Similarly, the Colorado Mountain Winefest set and attendance record, particularly for out-of-state visitors."

"Along the way, a new festival decided to call Palisade home. The Palisades Bluegrass and Roots Festival is set for June 11-13 in Riverbend Park."

We had tons of publicity: Over a dozen travel writers traipsed through Colorado's Wine Country in 2008, ranging from Eugenia Bone of Sunset Magazine to Stefani Jackenthal of the New York Times.

Unfortunately, some tourist efforts belly flopped: Palisade's plans for a whitewater slalom course on the Colorado River fell apart. "2008 was not all good news, however. The Palisade Whitewater Park eventually crashed and burned due to an implacable federal bureaucracy. The Town jumped through countless hoops, and provided everything that was asked for; but then the rules changed. Countless hoops were followed by countless hoops until the town said, "enough."

We lost some Colorado wine pioneers: Longtime teacher and farmer Curtis Talley died. He was age 85. Talley was one of the first growers in the valley to plant wine grapes after Prohibition. He was an instrumental force in turning Palisade into Colorado's Wine Country.

Also leaving us too soon was Doug Phillips. "Wine industry pioneer Doug Phillips of Plum Creek Cellars died of cancer July 15th. He was fine, and participated in Barrel Tastings in mid-May, and his passing was a shock to the industry and community here and in Denver, where he maintained a law practice with his wife, Sue Phillips."

Both Talley and Phillips will be missed.

And last but not least, the Wine Country Inn opened its doors: "Richard, Jean, Greg and Anne Tally opened their 80-room luxury hotel, the Wine Country Inn August 1, just in time for the 40th Palisade Peach Festival. The inn quickly became a source of great pride for Palisade; and in Decmber; it was named one of the five best hotels in the nation for an outdoor vineyard wedding."

A busy year for Palisade, with even bigger and better projects to come in 2009, for both the town and the Wine Country Inn.

Food Trends for the New Year

What will 2009 bring for food trends? According to the South Carolina News and Observer, the New Year will emphasize budget meals and bargain wines. Under the headline, "Food Trends 2009," Quick Bites Correspondent Greg Cox writes an informative roundup of various gourmet magazines:

"Once again, it's that time of year when pundits and prognosticators of all stripes hazard wild guesses -- er, make informed predictions about trends for the coming year. In the food world, everyone from magazine editors to marketing consultants gets in on the act. OK, restaurant critics, too."

"It should come as no surprise that the economy is the dominant factor influencing predictions for 2009. The January issue of Bon Appétit magazine proclaims that the guiding philosophy for its annual Best of the Year forecast is "Eat Better for Less." The editors single out ricotta -- that's right, humble ricotta cheese -- as the ingredient of the year for 2009."

"And if their forecast for next year's dessert trend is accurate, we'll be singing sticky-mouthed praises of peanut butter desserts. The next big wine trend? If you guessed "great bargain bottles," then you're getting the picture."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Palisade, Colorado 2009 Calendar of Events

Plan your 2009 visit to Palisade today. This year will be chock full of activities to enjoy in Colorado's Wine Country. The moderate temperatures, fruit orchards, vineyards and a quaint town make for activities galore. Whether you come in spring, summer, fall or winter, Palisade, Colorado, will have something to offer you. Here is the 2009 Calendar of Events, courtesy of :

April 15-19

29th Annual Peach Blossom Art Show

The Palisade Art Lovers Peach Blossom Art Show is one of the largest judged art shows in the Grand Valley, boasting nearly 125 artists and exhibiting more than 400 works of art each year. This fine art show exhibits everything from oil paintings to watercolors, pastels, batik, photography, and more. The show draws artists from throughout western Colorado and is the perfect gallery to showcase the quality, talent and variety of work this valley produces. Many awards are given by a notable judge, carefully selected each year. The show is set up in an inviting, gallery type setting with soft music, live greenery and refreshments for visitors. The admission is free. Entry forms and a prospectus is available on this website.

Contact Lise MacGregor, Show Chairman, for questions and information at 970-255-1553.

April -May
April 25-26, May 16-17

Barrel Into Spring Barrel Tastings

A couple of weekends of self-guided tours, wine tasting and delicious food brought to you by the members of the Grand Valley Winery Association. This is your chance to discover wines in the making and see how your favorites are made.

This self-guided tour includes several participating wineries. Each winery will pair delicious foods with their wines.

May 9

Palisade Bike Festival

The Bike Festival combines the Palisade Classic Mountain Bike Race and the Fruit Loop Cycling Tour for a day of bikes, bikes and more bikes!

The Palisade Classic Mountain Bike Race is an off-road competition and the Fruit Loop Cycling Tour offers three routes ranging from easy to challenging. You can also choose to ride in both events.

There is also a Grand Valley Bike Swap. Bring your bike, gear and wallet and buy, sell or swap gear. There is no charge to sell. For details, call Rapid Creek Cycles at (970) 464-9266 or Palisade Chamber of Commerce at (970) 464-7458.

May 30-31

3rd Annual Palisade Parade of Roses

Pavilion.Roses and Black Muscat champagne are on the brunch menu at Varaison Vineyards and Winery . The winery is releasing its inaugural champagne this weekend in conjunction with a rose “parade” competition amongst Palisade rose gardeners..

The Grand Junction chapter of the American Rose Society will judge the roses. Rose categories include two different classes: rose gardens that are five years or older, and those less than five years old. The varieties include hybrid tea roses, the best floribunda, best grandislora and best climbing or hedge roses.

June - September
June 21-Sept 20

Palisade Farmer's Market

The Town of Palisade is excited to announce the return of the Palisade Sunday Market. The market will feature local artisans, crafters, musicians, non-profit organizations, wineries and, of course, our wonderful Palisade produce! It will be located in downtown Palisade near the intersection of 3rd and Main. The market will be organized and sponsored by the Town of Palisade.

June, 12, 13, 14

Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Music Festival

Bluegrass, Folk, Acoustic Blues, Old-Time, Celtic, Singer/Songwriter & More!
The festival formerly known as the North Fork Bluegrass & Roots Music Festival in Hotchkiss, CO.

This is an acoustic music event made in the shade. --Right on the banks of the Colorado River in the west side of Riverbend Park. Festival features on-site camping, jam sessions and kids activities. Local wines, micro-brew, food and area artisans. Workshops for guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, vocals, songwriting. Artisan demonstrations for adults and children. .
Easy access off Interstate-70.

July 4

Annual Independence Day Celebration

Fourth of July Family Celebration with a great parade and fun games and food in Palisade Memorial Park.

July 3-5

Reds, Whites, & Blues Festival, Varaison Vineyards

August 13-16

41st Annual Palisade Peach Festival

Ah, peaches – soft, sweet fruit with enough juice to run down your chin when you bite into one. Come and celebrate the peach with the 41st annual Palisade Peach Festival. The festival kicks off four days of fun-filled, entertaining events and features more than 100 food, art and craft vendors, live music, a children’s area and various culinary activities. And of course, lots of Palisade Peaches.

August 21-23

8th Annual Ravenshire Renaissance and Pirate Faire

Western Colorado Renaissance Festival welcomes everyone back for another year of festivities with the 8th annual Ravenshire Renaissance and Pirate Faire. The festival is fun for the whole family blending the Renaissance in the year 1550 and pirates of the 18th century. Dress up in period attire and just come as you are. Experience special activities, performances, vendors and food.

September 17-20

Colorado Mountain Winefest

Wine lovers unite! Thousands make the annual pilgrimage to Palisade to sample an array of Colorado wines and participate in a variety of events including workshops, wine and food pairing events, dueling chefs, grape stomps, winery tours, winemaker competitions, chocolate tasting, golfing, jazz concerts and artisan vendors.

Don’t forget the bike tour of the Valley. This 25-mile bike tour of Colorado’s wine country passes through the vineyards of the Western Slope and gives cyclists and opportunity to see the area’s wineries and fruit orchards. Participants can then attend the Winefest.

September 19

16th Annual Tour of the Vineyards

Come join us for a great great way to celebrate the start of fall, by joining in this bicycle tour of Colorado’s Wine Country. This 25-mile ride through the vineyards of the Western Slope (on paved roads with a few hills) gives cyclists an opportunity to pass by the area’s wineries, as well as acres of fruit orchards, located in the Grand Valley prior to the Colorado Mountain Winefest “Festival in the Park”.


Olde Fashioned Christmas

Turn back the clock with the nostalgia of Olde Fashioned Christmas in downtown Palisade. Beginning at noon, activities include street carolers, holiday music, wagon rides through downtown Palisade, as well as kids’ activities throughout the day. Tour some of Palisade’s Victorian homes or enter to win the Gingerbread House contest. The Gingerbread House showcase is open to the public.

There will be a parade and Christmas Tree Lighting taking place in downtown Palisade. Make it a Christmas to remember for all ages.

December 31

2nd Annual Varaison Vineyards New Year’s Eve Gala


Monday, January 5, 2009

Century House Restaurant Opens in Palisade

For a sleepy little town, Palisade offers several high quality-restaurants that are patronized by the entire Grand Valley. The list that includes Inari's Bistro, the Red Rose Cafe and the Palisade Brewery just got a little longer as the Century House enters the fray. The eatery is a steak and prime rib joint in an authentic Victorian farm house.

The staff at the Business Times of Western Colorado writes:

"A restaurateur has opened a second operation in Palisade, offering what he bills as a fine dining experience at affordable prices.

"Bruce Jensen has opened the Century House at 349 W. Eighth St. The restaurant is open for dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations are accepted for parties of eight or more by calling 970-464-9202."

"Jensen also operates the Packing Shed Restaurant, located adjacent to the Century House, which he opened in June 2004. The Packing Shed serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday in a diner-style setting."

"From the time I opened the Packing Shed Restaurant, I had a vision of renovating this building into an upscale restaurant," Jensen said. "After four years of planning, hard work and persistence, my vision has now become a reality."

'The Century House originally was constructed in 1905 as a farmhouse. Much of the original wood has been preserved in the flooring, windows and cabinetry. The decor blends turn-of-the century ambiance with warm wood tones and antique finishes."

"Jensen said the menu offers value and variety with such featured entrees as chicken, prime rib, pork, steaks and vegetarian lasagna."

"Dinners are priced at $9.95 to $19 and include a choice of soup or salad. Beers, liquors and wines are available."

"Jensen earned a bachelor's degree from the hotel and restaurant management school at the University of Denver."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Denver Post Mentions Wine Country Inn Honor

In their Business Briefs section, the Denver Post recently mentioned the Wine Country Inn. Under the headline, "Palisade Inn Named a Top Wedding Site," the Post wrote:

"Palisade's Wine Country Inn was named one of the "Top 5 Vineyard Wedding Locations" for 2008 in the U.S. by"

"The inn was No. 4, ranking alongside wine destinations in the Napa and Sonoma valleys of California and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts."

"This is a tremendous honor for our hotel, Grande River Vineyards and the Palisade area," said Wine Country Inn co-owner Jean Tally."

"The Wine Country Inn sits in its own 21-acre Mount Lincoln Vineyard that surrounds the hotel and is bordered by the Grande River Vineyard."

You can view the Denver Post article here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Grand Junction Colorado 2009 Calendar of Events

There's so much to do in Grand Junction, Colorado, and the surrounding communities of Fruita and Palisade. A wide variety of festivals and events occur throughout the year. Be sure to reserve your hotel room early; many of these festivals fill up months in advance.

April 25-26, May 16-17
Barrel Into Spring Barrel Tastings

A couple of weekends of self-guided tours, wine tasting and delicious food brought to you by the members of the Grand Valley Winery Association. This is your chance to discover wines in the making and see how your favorites are made.

This self-guided tour includes several participating wineries. Each winery will pair delicious foods with their wines.

April 23-26
Fruita Fat Tire Festival

Join the fun at Colorado's "kickoff" to the mountain bike season in the beautiful red rock country! Visit the shop that started it all - Over the Edge Sports - and join the fun at Civic Center Park in downtown Fruita.


May 8-10
Downtown Art and Jazz Festival

Main Street comes alive with jazz music performed by local and national artists, artist demonstrations in a variety of mediums and artists selling beautiful, high-quality work. This three-day festival surrounds the re-installation of Art on the Corner sculptures. A celebration of art and music, this outdoor event features street vendors, live music, extended shopping hours with participating merchants and other fun activities.

Spring Barrel Tasting

Junior College World Series (JUCO)


June 25-28
Country Jam USA Music Festival

All star lineup of country music's best performers. Four days of fun in the sun and wild partying.

June 11-Sept. 17
Thursday Farmers' Market Festival

Summertime’s signature event in Grand Junction... The American National Bank Farmers' Market Festival features the freshest produce, high-quality handcrafted items, specialty shops and exciting entertainment! A celebration of Grand Valley harvests, the Farmers’ Market Festival is a weekly community event series drawing an estimated 5,000 visitors per event. Comprised of farmers, artisans, vendors, musicians, and Downtown merchants and restaurants, the festival atmosphere attracts local and regional visitors eager to support local entrepreneurs while meeting old and new friends.

Thursday Farmers' Market Festival

July 4
Independence Day Parade

The annual Independence Day Parade will be held at 6pm starting at 9th and Main in Downtown Grand Junction. The parade will travel down Main Street and end at 1st Street.

July 21-28
Mesa Country Fair

Annual celebration of the county, its residents, community and history. The Fair creates an environment that promotes the diversity of the area and features family oriented entertainment, educational opportunities and is a showcase of local products.


August 13-16
41st Annual Palisade Peach Festival

Ah, peaches – soft, sweet fruit with enough juice to run down your chin when you bite into one. Come and celebrate the peach with the 41st annual Palisade Peach Festival. The festival kicks off four days of fun-filled, entertaining events and features more than 100 food, art and craft vendors, live music, a children’s area and various culinary activities. And of course, lots of Palisade Peaches.


Thursday Farmers' Market Festival

September 11-12
Rock Jam Music Concert

Rock your heart out at this two day outdoor music festival.

September 18-19
Pork 'n' Hops

Sample the best barbecue and brews and enjoy a wide variety of events.

September 17-20

Colorado Mountain Winefest

Wine lovers unite! Thousands make the annual pilgrimage to Palisade to sample an array of Colorado wines and participate in a variety of events including workshops, wine and food pairing events, dueling chefs, grape stomps, winery tours, winemaker competitions, chocolate tasting, golfing, jazz concerts and artisan vendors.

Don’t forget the bike tour of the Valley. This 25-mile bike tour of Colorado’s wine country passes through the vineyards of the Western Slope and gives cyclists and opportunity to see the area’s wineries and fruit orchards. Participants can then attend the Winefest.

September 19
16th Annual Tour of the Vineyards

Come join us for a great great way to celebrate the start of fall, by joining in this bicycle tour of Colorado’s Wine Country. This 25-mile ride through the vineyards of the Western Slope (on paved roads with a few hills) gives cyclists an opportunity to pass by the area’s wineries, as well as acres of fruit orchards, located in the Grand Valley prior to the Colorado Mountain Winefest “Festival in the Park”.

September 26
Downtown Car Show

Main Street rumbles with the sound of hundreds of motors as participants pour into Downtown Grand Junction for the 7th Annual Fuoco Motor Company Downtown Car Show. Hundreds of modern and antique vehicle owners attend the show to enjoy a full schedule of activities, entertainment and demonstrations. Both car owners and spectators from all over the Western United States visit with each other, talk cars, and participate in a friendly competition for great prizes.

September 26-27
Air Show! Western Colorado

Barn stormers, stunt pilots and areal flying formation all in the mild fall weather of the Grand Valley.


October 31
Downtown Spooktacular Parade

Downtown Grand Junction becomes the place to be in town for Halloween fun. Dressed from head-to-toe in scary, creative or just plain adorable costumes, kids of all ages fill 6th Street for the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, including face painting, entertainment, pumpkin and cookie decorating and a costume parade. This is an event for ages 11 and under.


November 27
Downtown Wells Fargo Tree Lighting

In the manner of Times Square, the Wells Fargo Christmas Tree and the rest of Main Street light up to officially kick off the holiday season in Downtown Grand Junction. The tree, located in front of Wells Fargo Bank, 359 Main Street, is lit when Santa arrives to welcome the holiday season and shoppers to Downtown Grand Junction.


December 5
Winter Festival

Main Street hums with more acitivty and music as holiday shoppers fill specialty stores searching for gifts and local non-profit organizations line the sidewalks ready to sell hot drinks and tasty snacks to weary buyers and those lined up for the best viewing places for that evening’s Parade of Lights. The Winter Festival begins at 1 p.m. and provides local non-profits with an opportunity to raise money with bake-sale type activities.

December 5
Parade Of Lights

The community gathers on Main Street and celebrates the holiday season with colorful floats, marching bands and Christmas lights. The perfect way to experience some holiday cheer.

December 11, 2009, from 5 – 9 p.m
Spirit Of Christmas Walk

An enchanted evening event, the Spirit of Christmas Walk is a wonderful night of old-fashioned caroling, visits with Santa, shopping and snacking. Dine in any of our fine Downtown restaurants and view the beautiful Holiday Downtown lights and festive window displays. Vote for your favorite window in seven Downtown restaurants.

The Spirit of Christmas Walk features live entertainment on Main Street, a strolling Santa Claus and extended shopping hours with participating merchants who traditionally offer holiday cookies and warm beverages.

Happy New Year 2009 From the Wine Country Inn

The old year dies and we face the new year, as though it were an entity, new as a newborn babe...Yet all our yesterdays are summarized in our now, and all the tomorrows are ours to shape... and new years is neither an end or a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. --Hal Borlund.

Good luck and a Happy and Prosperous 2009 from the owners and staff of the Wine Country Inn.

CellarTracker Reviews of Colorado Wine

As the saying goes, "Everyone's a critic," especially in these days of democratic web site reviews. We can all voice our opinions on Amazon, Trip Adviser, Rotten Tomatoes and thousands of other sites. We can bloviate on blogs, fulminate on Facebook and wax episodic on YouTube. (Think "Leave Britney alone!")

So it is no small relief to find an online community dedicated to quality feedback. Such is the case with a great web site called Cellar Tracker, which is chock a block with relevant, member generated critiques of various vintages of wine. Grand Junction and Palisade wines have a healthy presence.

These honest, informed opinions are one of many reasons we'll be returning to Cellar Tracker from time to time to see what others are saying about Colorado wine.

Check it out for yourself here.
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