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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Survey: More Americans Drinking Wine

According to the Sacramento Business Journal, more U.S. citizens drank wine in 2007 than any other year.

The Journal wrote:

"Overall wine drinking in the United States rose 3.2 percent in 2007 to 292.1 million 9-liter cases, according to the Beverage Information Group.

"It was the 14th consecutive year of gains.

"Consumer spending on wines from shiraz to chardonnay is not slowing, either. Wine retail dollars totaled $27.9 billion last year, according to the group’s recently-released 2008 Wine Handbook.

"'If wine continues to grow at these levels, the U.S. will surpass both Italy and France to become both the largest wine market and biggest wine importer in the world by the end of the decade,' said Eric Schmidt, manager of information services for the Norwalk, Conn.-based Beverage Information Group.

Nation's Largest Wine Distributors Uniting to Create 38 State Giant

This one could have some far reaching impact on how and where smaller artisan wine labels get distributed. Is this a good or a bad thing? Does this mean mega labels like some of the California wines win out, over regional wineries?

According to the East Bay Business Times, "Two Leading Wine & Spirits Distributors to Form Giant 38-State Joint Venture." Reporter Chris Rauber writes:

"Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc., which operates in 30 states, and Glazer’s Distributors, which does business in 12 states, said Tuesday afternoon they’ve formed a national strategic joint venture to distribute wine and other alcoholic beverages in 38 states, subject to regulatory approval.

"Those states represent more than 80 percent of the U.S. market, according to the companies.

You can read the full article here.

Is Colorado Straight Bourbon Really Bourbon?

Whiskey lovers everywhere are eagerly awaiting Peach Street Distillers' spring 2009 release of Colorado's first bourbon.

But isn't all bourbon supposed to come from Kentucky? Not necessarily, says the staff at the Durango Herald. Unlike, say, champagne, bordeaux or port, bourbon is not a government- protected trade term defining the drink by region.

"Whiskey does not need to be made in Kentucky to qualify as "bourbon." The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau certifies whiskey as bourbon if it does not exceed 160 proof, is made from a fermented mash of at least 51 percent corn grain and aged for at least two years in charred new oak containers, " writes Herald Staff Writer Chuck Slowthower.

Slowthower also connects the dots between Palisade's Peach Street and a Durango brewpub called Ska.

You can read the full article here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Perfect Palisade Peach Pie From The Highland Foodie

Susan Stone, the Highland Foodie critic for the Sky-Hi Daily News, says there's no better Peach pie than starting with the raw ingredients from Palisade. Stone writes:

"Wait, did I say peaches, my all-time favorite fruit? Yes, indeed. They arrive at the farmers market in August and continue into September from organic orchards in Paonia and Palisade brought in by old man DeVries and the ever-present Forté clan. And the peaches are so incredibly delicious.

"I’m contemplating a trip to Palisade to buy a box of my favorite peach variety - the Elberta. This ancient peach is full, lush and delicate - it doesn’t travel well, so it’s appearance at markets is rare. But it is the one peach worth driving for, even with high gasoline prices."

You can read the article here.

Here's Stone's perfect peach pie recipe: "Here is the best peach pie we made:
Put 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup butter and 2 tablespoons sour cream into a Cuisinart and blend until they form a ball. Pat out into a buttered pie tin, and bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees.

Beat 3 egg yolks slightly and combine with 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons flour and 1/3 cup sour cream. Pour over 3 peeled, sliced peaches arranged in the crust. Cover with foil. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes more, or until the filling is set.”

Stone is quoting in turn from Nora Ephron's novel “Heartburn.” But the key, of course, is in those Palisade Elberta peaches...

Buy Clifton's Only Winery Graystone For $1.5 Million

Always wanted your own winery in the mesa country of the Grand Valley? Well, now's your chance. Clifton's only winery, Graystone Vineyards, is up for sale for, "$1.5 million for the tasting room, winery and inventory worth $1.6 million. The owners also have for sale their estate and 25 acres of land, which is priced at $2.4 million in addition to the winery property."

Or so writes Anna Maria Basquez in the Daily Sentinel. You can read the article here.

Graystone Winery founder Barbara Maurer is retiring. Graystone is known for its port wines. According to Graystone, port is a unique wine. During the fermentation, a portion of still sweet must is drawn off and combined with a high quality brandy. The infusion of high alcohol halts the fermentation, preserving the residual sugar to add weight and balance to the wine. The port ages in American and old French oak barrels before it is bottled.

Basquez goes on to write, "“I think this can be one of the biggest port houses in the country," says Maurer, "--but it is now a boutique winery and we make a limited number of bottles. It has potential for making as much as you want to increase your labor.”

Palisade Tribune Praises Wine Country Inn

We had a write up in the Palisade Tribune the week of August 28. Tribune Editor Bob Dougherty wrote, under the headline, "Hotel Gives an Inviting Look to Town Entrance:"

"Richard and Jean Tally's Wine Country Inn gives Palisade a whole new dimension. Since its August 2 grand opening, to 80-room facility has beckoned to travelers on nearby I-70, sending a message that fruit and wine country is ready to welcome you in style. And style it is.

"Even just a brief stroll through the hotel's public areas offers proof that the Tally's spared no expense in putting together a luxury destination resort without equal. Everything spells custom and quality with meticulous detail around every corner.

The handsome color scheme of chartreuse, golds and yellows gives the place an aura of comfort and relaxation that leads one to say, 'I think I'd like to stay here!'"

And a shout out and thank you to the businesses that advertised in the paper wishing us well: Spectrum Sound, GJ Ready Mix and Grand Valley Sheet Metal.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Denver Harvest Week Celebrates Colorado Wine

Here's another slow foods movement event in Denver, one that celebrates locally grown foods and beverages and the people who produce them.

According to a press release ,"The Denver Independent Network of Restaurants (DINR), comprised of the area’s top independent restaurants, has created Harvest Week, September 6 through 12, a weeklong celebration of Colorado’s exceptional produce and products. Harvest Week is presented in partnership with the Colorado Wine Board, Colorado Proud, a statewide program that promotes local food and agriculture, and the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"Each participating restaurant will create a menu for Harvest Week that features food and/or beverages grown or produced in Colorado and highlights the style of that particular eatery. All menus will be posted on the Harvest Week section of DINR's website...Several renowned Colorado ingredients are expected to make appearances, such as peaches, sweet corn, chevre, trout and lamb. Other lesser-known Colorado products will also be featured, such as heirloom tomatoes, berries, greens and potatoes."

You can read the release here.

As Lori Midson writes in a special to the Rocky Mountain News, the event pays, "--homage to local farmers, ranchers, suppliers, winemakers, breweries and distilleries during Harvest Week. This weeklong tribute is all about supporting independent restaurants while embracing the bumper crop of food and beverages grown or produced in Colorado."

"Forty local restaurants turn out seasonal menus focused on local produce and fruit, buffalo, lamb, beef and fish, farmstead cheeses, wines, microbrews, whiskeys and vodkas."

Read the article here.

DINR goes on to say,“Eating locally not only helps keep the cost of food down because it doesn’t have far to travel, but also encourages the production of superior ingredients while benefiting the environment,” said Elizabeth Williams, Harvest Week Committee Chair and Events Manager at Highland’s Garden Café. “Harvest Week will surely be the start of more ongoing relationships between restaurants and local producers.”

Time Magazine Ranks Plum Creek 'Excellent'

When Time Magazine reporter Joel Stein heard that wine was now produced in all 50 states, he decided to try one one from each region. In his words, they ranged from outstanding to dreadful. Fortunately, the Colorado entry from Palisade ranked as one of the best -- Plum Creek Winery's Grand Mesa Cabernet.

Under the headline, "50 States of Wine," Stein's all American wine reviews can be found here. He tasted bottles in the $15 to $20 range.

““I rated each wine Excellent, Good, Bad or Undrinkable,” says Stein. "As for the methodology, wine critic Gary Vaynerchuk, my wife and I tasted 10 randomly selected wines. Another 20 were downed at a wine-tasting party with a dozen friends. One wine I tried while visiting the state that made it. And my wife and I tasted the rest together.

Here's what Stein said about Grand Mesa Cabernet:

"It's too hot with alcohol, too bitter from tannins, too vanilla from oak. But so are most California wines. This red tastes like many big New World wines. It's a Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, and it has nice, dark, smoky fruit and a lot going on for the finish. Maybe you could even age this stuff."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Canyon Wind Served at Vail's Labor Day Food Fest

The Vail Daily is reporting that Canyon Wind Cellars will be served at this weekend's Gourmet on Gore food festival. Canyon Winds is based in Palisade and has a tasting room in Georgetown.

With vineyards located in the shadow of Horse Mountain, in the western mouth of DeBeque Canyon, Canyon Wind's terroir is a bench filled with loose cobblestones, sand and mineral rich soil.i
ch fill

The Daily writes, "Visitors and locals alike can sample wines from vineyards including La Crema, Stonestreet, Barefoot, Redwood Creek, Sebeka, Canyon Wind and more. Winemakers and sommeliers will be on hand to speak about their selections and educate wine lovers on the tasting process. Gourmet on Gore will showcase many different varietals."

You can read the article here.

Colorado in Top 10 Easiest States for Shipping Wine

Colorado ranks as the fifth easiest state in the U.S. for shipping wines. Or so says Wine in an August survey.

You can read the full article here.

Under the headline, "Wineries See Both Risk and Reward in Direct Shipping," Wine Business Wrote:

"According to the survey, the states that wineries are shipping to the most are, in descending order, California, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Washington, New York, Oregon and Ohio.

"In the survey, wineries identified California, Florida, New Hampshire, Missouri, Oregon, Colorado, New York, Washington, Illinois and Texas as the 10 easiest states for direct shipping compliance. The reasons these states were easier than others often had to do with geography, as they were shipping within the winery's home state. Others were identified because forms were easy to understand and submit, the frequency of reporting was reasonable and the costs were not prohibitive."

2008 Palisade Peach Festival Sets Record Attendence

The 40th Annual Palisade Peach Festival set a record number for attendance. “This was our best Peach Festival, ever,” said Leif Johnson, Festival chairman. “We recorded more than 29,000 visitors to all events over the 4-day weekend – a 16% increase over last year. Within the last four years, we have experienced a 45 percent increase in attendance.”

“We saw a lot of people from the Front Range. We attribute this increase to our marketing efforts, people staying close to home, and improved venues at the Festival,” Johnson said. “Thanks to our presenting sponsor, City Market, and with support from the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau, we had beautiful Peach Festival posters and brochures placed in each City Market and King Soopers in Colorado.

"We developed a valley-wide promotion with Palisade peach growers and many of the Grand Valley’s best, independently-owned restaurants. We expanded marketing programs with our media partners. FOX 31 News in Denver did a special feature on the Peach Festival. And the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau advertised the Festival in Colorado’s mountain resort communities and the Front Range.”

Sunset Magazine Shuts Out Colorado Wine From Top 50 List

Sunset Magazine published its annual "Sunset Western Wine Awards 2008 Top 50 Wine List" in the September issue. While there are lots of wines from Napa and Sonoma, Paso Robles and the Yakima Valley, not one single Colorado wine made the list. You can see the full list here. Sunset goes on to pronounce the Wine Trend of the Year as the, "The Rise Of Great Dry Rosés In The West."

The Sunset editors write:

"Five years ago, it was hard to find a good dry rosé in this country; now it's hard to find a maker of reds who doesn't turn out a rosé too. Pinot Noir, Syrah, even Cab, and, yes, Zinfandel are all going into crisp, fruity, fabulous dry pink wines."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two Rivers Winery, Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes Featured at DNC

The Democratic National Convention this week got serviced by the likes of Two Rivers Winery and Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes. Two Rivers donated to a charity event while Decadence Gourmet merely had its name on a vendor list. Due to miscommunication with convention organizers, the cheesecake makers could not set up their booth for the DNC.

Lee Mathis of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes in Grand Junction told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel that, "--he’s just happy for the free advertising that goes along with being on the DNC vendor list.

“'I wouldn’t have wanted a booth anyway,” Mathis said. “I’ve been at too many political conventions before and, trust me, it’s a zoo. I get more business here than I’d get over there.'”

Decadence Gourmet bakes an unusual line of "Cheesecakes in a Jar." Decadence launched this product line at the Downtown Grand Junction Farmer's Market in June of 2006

For its part, Grand Junction’s Two Rivers Winery provided the wine at a charity event for the homeless, one of a number of events Friday beore the convention began. The winery donated 14 cases.

You can read the full article here.

Grand Junction Chamber Delivering Wine To China

The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce plans a trade mission to China in 2009. According to Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Writer Anna Maria Basquez, the mission will, amongst other things, attempt to open the Chinese market to Colorado wines. Under the headline, "Chamber OKs its first mission tour to China in 2009," Basquez writes,

"Chamber organizations in California have done similar trips and were able to negotiate contracts for wines...

"Businesses here associated with the wine industry, tourism, manufacturing and real estate are some of the those that would probably be interested in taking the trip, said Richard Weigand, broker associate with Remax, a member of the chamber.

You can read the full article here.

Recipe Writer Says, 'Grill Some Palisade Peaches for DNC'

This is a three-peat of sorts. Coloradans, wishing to serve delegates of the Democratic National Convention, the best of the best that Colorado has to offer, keep returning to Palisade Peaches. This is our third post mentioning this peachy suggestion. It simply makes sense. The peaches are at the height of their season at the same time as the DNC. And Democrat or Republican, Independent or Libertarian, we Coloradans want to show off the best of our state while the world has us in the spotlight.

So it's no great surprise when we unearthed this story in the National Food Examiner, "Celebrate the DNC with Grilled Colorado Peaches." Denver Food Examiner Andrea Spikes gets the credit for starting this trend all the way back on July 30. Here is her peach recipe:

"Once you have these succulent stone fruits on hand, here's an easy way to grill them. They will pair nicely with some vanilla ice cream and maybe even a drizzle of orange liqueur.

Grilled Colorado Peach
1 small peach (ripe but still fairly firm)

1. Preheat grill to medium-hot.

2. Cut peach in half, remove pit and brush lightly with vegetable oil.

3. Grill skin-side up for 4 minutes. Turn over and grill skin-side down for 3-4 minutes. Fruit is done when it is marked on the exterior, just barely softened and heated through in the center."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sentinel Defends Colorado Peach Wines

Peaches are big business on the Western Slope of Colorado, as is wine. So when Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reporter Anna Maria Basquez writes a spirited defense of local peach wines, we say bravo. These are a category of dessert wines perhaps lacking in the sophistication or clarity of their grape-made cousins, but they are sweet and fun. --AND-- entirely appropriate for the peach-heavy area of Palisade, Colorado.

Under the headline, "Processing the Peach," Basquez writes, "In the world of wine, there are those who turn their noses to anything fermented that isn’t a grape.

But in the wine country of Palisade, especially during the Palisade Peach Festival, there are those that show up expecting to taste some fermented peach."

See the full article here.

Distiller Introduces Colorado's First Bourbon

Orchard Mesa in Palisade is rapidly evolving into more than just a wine region. With its proximity to quality fresh produce, a variety of other spirits are being distilled in the area -- meads, fruit wines, vodkas and now, bourbon.

In case you missed it last week, the Rocky Mountain News ran this blurb Aug 18:

"Peach Street Distillers, based in Palisade, has released what it calls Colorado's first legal bourbon, following more than two years of barrel aging.

"'Waiting for this bourbon has proved to be quite an exercise in restraint, but the rewards are well worth it," Rory Donovan, co-founder of Peach Street, said in a news release.

Straight Bourbon Whiskey's initial release is limited to 200 bottles, available only at the distillery. The company didn't provide a price tag. A company spokesman wasn't available."

Bourbon is a distilled grain spirit typically made from corn, in this case Olathe sweet corn. For those of you more in love with things fermented from grapes, Peach Street also produces peach, pear and plum brandy. (Brandy is produced by further distilling wine).

Grand Junction ABC Affiliate KJCT8 elaborated on the release, "Dave Lindig of Peach Street explains bourbon is typically made with 51% corn; Peach Street uses 60% corn, making for a higher quality spirit, Lindig said."

For the full KJCT8 transcript, click here.

Colorado Mountain Winefest Helps Fund State Enologist

Reason Number One you should attend The Colorado Mountain Winefest, September 18-21, 2008: It is more than just another wine and cheese event. It is even more than simply a showcase for local foods and appellations. There are dozens of other festivals fitting that bill all over the state.

You should come to Winefest because it is the premier fundraiser for Colorado winemakers and for the trade organization of state grape growers, the Rocky Mountain Association of Vintners & Viticulturists (RMVAA). All Winefest funds go towards education, seminars, research, and equipment purchases to improve the grape growing and winemaking of Colorado wines. If you like Colorado wine, coming to Winefest will literally make it better.

2007's funds went towards hiring a state enologist, or a scientist who studies all aspects of wine making.

According to a RMAVV press release, the proceeds from last year’s event supported the hiring of Dr. Steve Menke, the new Colorado resident enologist. Menke currently researches the unique characteristics of Colorado grapes, helps develop the Colorado wine brand and teaches enology classes at Colorado State University's Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

“Having our own enologist working with grape farmers to ensure they are growing the right grapes enables the small family farms to stay in business,” says Guy Parker, president of the RMVAA.

So, not only will Winefest be fun and an indulgence of the senses, it is the best way to support Colorado wines other than buying and drinking them.

See the full release here in Steamboat Magazine.

DNC Swag Bags Should Include Enstrom's Toffee, Palisade Peaches

It's a staple of the Oscars, the Emmys, and dozens of other award shows -- a swag bag, that fabled sack of giveaway gifts handed out to celebrities. But what should delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver get in their swag bags? Under the headline, "The Colorado Swag Bag You Wished You Had - Part 2," Denver NBC Affiliate 9 News KUSA urges DNC-goers to be showered with a variety of Grand Valley gourmet food, namely Palisade Peaches and Enstrom's Almond Toffee. To read the transcript and see the video, click here.

Besides Enstrom's gooey confectionary treats, 9 News specifically mentions the produce of High Country Orchards in Palisade, who have family-owned and operated orchards, vineyards and gardens.

Reporter Strong On Palisade Wines, Weak On Local Eateries

First, the good news: Writer Niki Hayden visited the Grand Valley and wrote a lyrical description of the Palisade, Colorado, wine region in the August 2008 edition of the Front Range Living e-newsletter. Not only does Hayden give a full wine tour, she also celebrates the natural beauty of the area. Here is an excerpt:

"When it comes to great wines from river valleys, France has the Loire. Germany owns the Rhine. California claims Napa. In Colorado, it's Grand Valley, nestled between rock walls east of Grand Junction on the Western Slope. The Colorado River trickles alongside a carved canyon. Master winemaker Ben Parsons, who got his start at Canyon Wind Winery in Palisade, says 'wineries are located in the most beautiful parts of the world.'"

Hey, when you're right, you're right. The photos include gorgeous shots of Horse Mountain, the Colorado National Monument and several tasting rooms. But sadly, Hayden gave more print and links to Grand Junction restaurants than to Palisade eateries. Place like Inari's, the Red Rose Cafe, and the Palisade Brewery did not make the cut. A word to the wise, reporters, try them all when you come to town. You can read the full article here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Judges Taste 96 Homemade Colorado Wines

Photo credit: Emily Anderson, Grand Junction Free Press.

This weekend Doug Caskey, the executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, was one of a panel of judges evaluating amateur wines from around Colorado. According to the Grand Junction Free Press, the judges, "sniffed and sipped 96 wines made by 35 amateur winemakers, two-thirds of whom hail from the Western Slope." Under the headline, Judges stir, sniff, sip and spit the work of amateur winemakers in Palisade,"You can read the full article here.

The judging was done at the Palisade Community Center on Saturday. The winners of the competition will be announced Sunday, September 23, at the 17th Annual Colorado Mountain Wine Fest.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sodas Into Ice Cream? Palisade Brewery's Proposed $100K Expansion

There's room for beer and soda in Colorado's Wine Country. Heck, there's even room for ice cream. If the Palisade Brewery has its way, it will be able to deliver on all three treats.

In order to keep its clientele seated in the winter months, the Palisade Brewery is proposing a $100,000 remodel of its facilities. The local brewpub is dreaming big. The owners dream of, "doubling the size of its kitchen, making their own Oktoberfest brew and turning some soda flavors into ice cream," says the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Read about it here.

The Palisade brewery has teamed up with Jackson Hole Soda Company to produce hand crafted soda pop. Their Sarsaparilla soda pop has been featured on the Food Network's "Unwrapped," while their Huckleberry soda pop won a bronze medal from the North American Brewer's Association.

Limited seating and a wish to expand its menu are driving the brewery's remodeling plans. Drop by for dinner sometime after you check into the hotel.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We Get Covered at

Blogger Deidre Woollard has covered the Wine Country Inn over at Under the headline, "Colorado Wants Your Wine Tourism Dollars," Wollard writes, "When I think of a wine country vacation I'm generally letting my mind wander up the Pacific Coast, Napa Valley or maybe Oregon or Washington. A new Colorado hotel is hoping tourists will look a little farther afield." And this nice picture appeared, too. Those DIA-like tents around the front were temporary, erected as part of our ribbon cutting ceremony.

Check out the full article here.

Welcome Democratic Delegates. Now How About A Glass of Wine?

Aahhh...if only we could help Biden imbibe, or Obama unwind, we have the perfect location for the Democratic ticket to do both. What better way for Democrats to let their hair down after the convention than to relax in our vineyards? In fact, we've been trying to do just that for at least six months. Here's how our homespun campaign evolved for the DNC to come and experience Colorado's Wine Country.

We posted on the DNC Forums all the way back in February. Our post can be found at:

On our main page at, we point out that Palisade, Colorado, is only a half tank of gas away from Denver.

-Finally, we have a print ad getting handed out to every delegate in a special packet.

Hopefully, these things will make a difference for weary convention goers who wish to experience a unique slice of Colorado before heading home.

'Democrat's' Dirty Little Secret: California Grapes

The folks over at 5280 Magazine are blogging about a Democrat-labeled wine served to high rollers and Dems during the DNC.

Under the headline, "Democrat Wine Has a Colorado Label," blogger Johnua Zaffos wrote:

"Patrick Laguens, a Fort Collins chef and restaurant proprietor, owns the rights to the party-oriented label, which will be served during dinners and events at the Governor’s Mansion during convention week.

"Laguens blends merlot and cabernet franc grapes — a right-bank Bordeaux style, he says — to embody the party of FDR, the Kennedys, and Obama in a bottle."

You can read the full blog post here.

All well and good. But a Colorado wine served at a Colorado event made by a Colorado chef would use Colorado-grown grapes, right? Not so fast! Zaffos went on to post:

"[Laguens] first started his wine-making venture about four years ago, as a négociant, a French term for merchants who buy grapes from several different growers to make their own wines.

“'In the U.S., we have more grapes and resulting juices than we have livers to consume it,' Laguens says.

Laguens tasted 700 different grape juices from California before selecting his wines. He chose the merlot/cab franc for the Democrat label simply because it’s a personal favorite and easy to drink.

Hopefully in the future, Laguens will use his négociant skills to taste a few homegrown grape varietals...

And Now, a Word About Our Wines...

The inn sports a new wine label with five varieties marketed by Grand River Vineyards. The varieties include Chardonnay, Merlot, Meritage White (blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon), Ten Acre Red (blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon). A Sauvignon Blanc will be available under the Wine Country Inn label after harvest 2008. The grapes in the Meritage White were harvested from the vineyards surrounding the inn. They are available for tasting in our afternoon wine receptions and are for sale in our gift shop and at Grande River Vineyards. But where else should we market the wines? Help us out with your input!

Palisade, Colorado Whitewater Park Now Viewed As Unlikely

Fruita and Moab have the Fat Tire following of inveterate mountain bikers, but will Palisade have to say adios to its attempts to win over the kayaking crowd?

The tourism efforts of the town of Palisade received a major blow this month. According to Town Administrator Tim Sarmo, writing in the Palisade Tribune, the long fought for efforts to build a whitewater park in the Colorado River may be at an impasse. The town's endeavors have hit troubled waters.

Sarmo writes: "After a failed attempt to build the project in conjunction with a fish ladder at the Price Stubb Damm in DeBeque Canyon, the Town of Palisade regrouped, found a new location and has attempted to make one final effort at constructing a whitewater park..."

That effort, Sarmo writes, has met with too much resistance to continue.

To read about the growing list of questions from a plethora of Federal Agencies, read the Grand Junction Free Press article here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our First Online Review -- We've Got 'Posh Beds'

Life is full of firsts. There are first kisses, first cars, and first jobs. But how about our first online revie w? Among other things, a guest who booked with us through, wrote on that web site: under the headline, "very enjoyable:"

"The beds were very comfortable and the six pillows and bedding were very posh! As a physical therapist, I noticed some interesting features: the beds were more elevated than most hotel beds, as was the toilet, which makes it easier for the elderly and people with back/hip/knee issues to get up."

We were rated a perfect 5.0 out of 5. Not bad for the first spin around the block.

The anonymous reviewer also gave a shout out to a local eatery, saying under the headline:

"Traveler's tip on dining"

"The Palisade Brewery was very simple yet good food - more of a local hangout and down to earth!"

Hey, we'll take guest praise wherever we can get it. Congratulations, Palisade Brewery.

And look out, TripAdvisor and Yahoo! Local, here we come.

Bluegrass Festival Moves to Palisade

nfbluegrassSome call it a welcome edition to the Town of Palisade's summer line up. Others (the Delta County Independent), call it out-and-out theft. But no matter how you view it, the North Fork Bluegrass Festival is moving from Hotchkiss to Palisade next summer, June 12 through 14 at Riverbend Park. The event has a name change, too. It will now be called the Palisade Roots Music Festival. The venue change was met with cheers and boos, depending on the location.

Here's how the story played in Hotchkiss.
Here's how it was covered in the Grand Valley.

Yipes! We're staying out of this one, other than to say, welcome bluegrass lovers!

Author Eugenia Bone Visits Hotel

We have been in e-mail contact with author Eugenia Bone, who wrote, At Mesa's Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado's North Fork Valley. As Googlebooks, puts it "Eugenia Bone was perfectly happy with her life as a New York City food writer, but she knew that her husband, a transplanted westerner, was filled with a discontent he couldn't explain. So when he returned from a fishing trip in the Rockies one day and announced that he wanted to buy a forty-five-acre ranch in Crawford, Colorado (population 255), she reluctantly said yes."

She's now in love with the Western Slope, developed a passion for gardening, and if we're not mistaken, just ribboned at the Delta County Fair in several competitions, including award winning oregano, parsley, and tarragon:

(How many Eugenia Bones in Crawford can there be?).

Long story short, we invited her for a visit to the inn, but imagine our surprise when when she said she had already visited and toured the property! We don't know what this all means, other than it possesses a certain cool factor about it.

We're Now On Facebook

We've decided to jump on the whole social networking bandwagon. The hotel can now be found in two great places on Facebook. Just hop on over to our business profile, Colorado Wine Country Inn, at:

--Or you can join our Facebook group, "Friends of the Wine Country Inn" at:

Forgive us if we're wrong, but you can view the business listing without being a member, while Facebook may ask you to join up to join the group. Soon you'll be poking, slapping, tickling your fellow wine lovers. If you don't know what that means, maybe you should join! (it's not as risque as it sounds). Plus, it's free!

These efforts complement our MySpace Listing, at:

Which doesn't require any membership to view, but you will have to be a member to join our circle of friends.

Palisade Peaches Mentioned on NPR

Palisade peaches got an International mention this morning on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." The story was about five things Democratic National Convention delegates should do while in Denver (but probably won't). One of the promoted choices: Go on an agritourism trip and eat a Palisade Peach or a Rocky Ford Melon. You can catch the story here, but you'll have to listen to the piece, Palisade is not mentioned in the transcript:

Who knows, maybe a central plank of the DNC 2008 will be, Eat More Palisade Peaches!

Balistreri Unwind in the Vines

Do you have your tickets yet for the Balistreri Unwind in the Vines Vinter's Dinner? Balistreri Vineyards will be headed up to the Colorado Mountain Wine Fest in Palisade Colorado. It’s the largest Colorado Wine Festival in the state, with over 40 wineries in attendance. Certainly stop by the Balistreri Tent!

Then after the Fest join the Balistreri's at the brand new Wine Country Inn for “Unwind in the Vines” Wine Dinner.

It’s a great opportunity to check out the newest place to stay in Palisade, and to meet the Tally family, owners of Wine Country Inn. A unique “buffet station” wine dinner featuring Balistreri wine pairings at each station, with seating inside the Ballroom and outside on the poolside patio. Only $125*/ person.

Check out all our specials at:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Dream Comes To Life!

The new 80-room Wine Country Inn in the vineyards of Palisade, Colorado is now open!

Opening a new 80-room Wine Country Inn in the vineyards of Palisade, Colorado, began with an invitation from Steve Smith, owner of Grande River Vineyards, to build a hotel somewhere near his winery.

After extensive touring in California’s wine country, Richard and Jean Tally came home with a wealth of photos, ideas and hope. But the timing was not right, so the plan was put on the back burner for a decade. Over the years, the Tallys continued to travel and dream.

“There were so many good ideas everywhere we went, we took notes, talked to people and made lots of pictures,” explains Richard. “We were especially impressed with the Summer Wood Inn (formerly the Arbor Inn) and Justin Winery in Paso Robles, the new Santa Ynez Inn and Gainey Winery in Santa Ynez, Fess Parker’s Inn and winery in Los Olivos and the Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast in Santa Barbara.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hazel Miller, R&B Legend Sings Next Door

Hazel Miller wowed 'em during Peach Fest at Grande River Vineyards. She has inspired a passionate following of regulars that routinely trek over the Continental Divide to hear Hazel sing at various Western Slope festivals. She told the Free Press that, “We don’t come to ‘shock & awe’ ... we want you to lose yourself for a night, and if we’re not doing that we haven’t done our job.”

See the full article here to get into the groove.
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