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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Stories We Should Have Covered #1

The Wine Country Inn Covered in the New York Times
Not surprisingly, the Number One Story of 2008 we should have covered was the fooferaw surrounding the New York Times October coverage of Palisade and the Wine Country Inn. We mentioned it in passing, but never posted the article itself. The story was picked up by The Boston Globe, the Denver Post and countless other newspapers, magazines and blogs around the U.S. and the world.

Granted, the Wine Country Inn's mention is a passing one --but hey!-- every little bit of coverage helps. Grand Junction TV station KJCT 8 summarized the phenomenon best.

Under the headline, "New York Times Calls Palisade Rising Star in Wine Industry," KJCT 8 wrote:

"An article published Sunday in The New York Times titled "Biking Colorado's Wine Country", shines a national spotlight at Palisade's wine making industry, calling it a, "...rising star in the wine-making universe."

"The author, Stefeni Jackenthal, wrote she was, "intrigued by the idea of checking out the area," after sampling some the state's wine."

"Jackenthal toured area wineries on her bike and visited some of the peach orchards. The author describes the Grand Valley as having great views and spectacular weather."

"The article gives Palisade and it's growing wine industry national notoriety and may increase tourism in the area."

You can read the rest of the NYT article here. (You may need a free online subscription to view the story. But signing up is pretty easy).

Try Palisade Sparkling Wines For New Year's Eve

There's more than Colorado's famous Champagne powder to try this New Year's Eve. We recommend these sparkling wines that are local to the Palisade area:

Varaision Vineyards has invested heavily into a dedicated sparkling wine facility (Charmat method). All of the Colorado sparkling wine is Estate Bottled from Chardonnay, Orange Muscat, and Black Muscat grapes grown in the Grand Valley AVA. The Chardonnay has a light toast flavor and a smooth biscuit finish from fermentation sur-lees. Exquisitely balanced for acid and smooth finish, this exceptional Colorado sparkling wine is sure to please the most sophisticated palate. Limited production of this product will be made available in 2008.

Black Muscato sparkling wine is new to Varaison in 2008. Produced in limited quantities, this sparkling wine is a unique and pleasing experience! The wine is brilliant pink with aromas of blackberry, strawberry, and honey. This wine is finished as Extra Brut with a bright acidity that is well balanced with the traditional biscuit flavors of fine Champagne. An exceptional and unique wine produced for the first time in 2008.

Orange muscato is produced as a semi-sweet to sweet dessert wine at this Palisade winery. The wine has a rich and smooth body, lingering finish, and is accentuated by the aroma of orange blossom. This is a delightful wine either by itself or paired with semi-sweet dark chocolate, angel food cake, or fresh fruit tortes.

Varaison Vineyards produces a special occasion and wedding sparkling wine which combines the traditional biscuit flavor of Champagne with the aroma of oranges. Mimosa is produced as a very limited sparkling wine and is made available only through booking of the new Varaison Pavilion reception facility.

Oh you raise a glass of Palisade wine or bubbly this New Year's Eve, don't go overboard. Please drink responsibly. Salut!

2008 Stories We Should Have Covered #2

Number Two in Our Stories We Should Have Covered in 2008, but somehow didn't get around to is the second half of a tough review of Colorado wines. (We might even argue it's harsh). However, the reviewer is a self described Wine Curmudgeon, so some curmudgeonly assessments are to be expected. Here's what the Wine wrote about Colorado's Wine Country.

"This is the second of two parts looking at Colorado wine."

"How do Colorado's wines compare to the state's incomparable scenery? I've tasted them twice -- once on a wine trip through the state, and again last fall. The verdict? It depends."

"In many parts of the state, Colorado’s winemakers face the same problems that everyone from everywhere that isn’t California or the Pacific Northwest faces. Retail prices are higher than they should be, since the state’s wineries are too small to enjoy economies of scale. This means there aren’t many decent $10 wines, or much $10 wine at all."

"Distribution is limited, not only because most wineries don’t make much wine (one of the biggest, Plum Creek, makes 14,000 cases a year, about what a decent-sized California winery will do in a month), but because most national distributors aren’t interested in carrying Colorado wine. (In fact, if anyone outside the state wants to buy these wines, they'll probably need to order from the winery.)"

"In addition, the industry is too young to expect too much (though this is something many Coloradoans don't understand). It took California 40 years from the end of Prohibition to emerge as one of the best wine growing regions in the world, and Colorado’s most important efforts are only 10 years old. It takes at least that much time to just understand weather patterns, let alone figure out how what grapes to grow to fit the weather. Growers have had some success with riesling, which likes cold weather, but are still experimenting with other varietals."

"Many wines, though, do display considerable progress:"

"• Canyon Wind Cellars has hired consultant Robert Pepi, whose family has made wine in Napa Valley since the 1960s, it shows. The reds, and especially the $25 cabernet sauvignon, are well-made and price competitive. The biggest surprise was the $15 pinot grigio, full of citrus and mineral flavors, a wine that does the entire state proud. "

"• Guy Drew Vineyards produces an $18 syrah similar to some made in Washington state, a nice wine if a trifle pricey. "

"• Drew's neighbor down the road, an ex-British commando named John Sutcliffe at Sutcliffe Vineyards turns out a $20 riesling that is crisp and food-friendly -- again well-made and again a bit pricey. "

"• Palisade’s Plum Creek does a respectable $10 sauvignon blanc that is more than adequate for that Tuesday night takeout dinner."

You can read the rest of the review here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Powderhorn Ski, Varaison Vineyards Plan New Year's Eve Bashes

So what's going on in Palisade and Grand Junction, Colorado on New Year's Eve? Celebrate the New Year with some revelries not too far from the hotel. Both Varaison Vineyards and Powderhorn Ski Resort are offering premium events near the Wine Country Inn:

At Varaison Vineyards, they're offering their First Annual New Year's Eve Gala, 7 pm - 1 am. For $149 per couple, revelers receive five gourmet courses, two dessert courses, four wines, champagne toast and valet parking. For reservations, call 970-464-4928.

This is what they're saying over at the Grand Junction Free Press:

"Powderhorn Ski Resort’s New Year’s Eve events start immediately after lifts close at 4 p.m."

"At that time, Vintage Voltage, a band that plays ‘60s to contemporary rock, will play at the day lodge, said Do Crowe, business services officer at Powderhorn."

"After the sun sets, ski instructors, patrol and others will take a ride up to the top of the mountain and then slowly ski down carrying lit flares, Crowe said."

“They snake down the ski run with lit torches, and in the end, we go through the ring of fire,” Crowe said. “It’s all flamey and fun.”

"After the crew douses the flames, a fireworks display takes over the sky."

'At 8 p.m., when Vintage Voltage winds down, live music flares up next door at the Wildewood Restaurant with Jimmy and the Instagators (“Yep, that’s how they spell it,” Crowe said.)"

"The Wildewood Restaurant will serve up gourmet food to the music."

"Reservations are suggested for the buffet, which includes rosemary chicken, London broil, shrimp, vegetables, bread, and dessert. The buffet price of $29.95 does not include drinks. The buffet runs from 5-7:30 p.m."

"Then, the restaurant offers three different price levels of champagne, ranging from $15 to $50, Crowe said."

"This is the first year Powderhorn offers music immediately when the lifts close, Crowe said."

“It’s nice to have some fun music right from the get-go,” she said."

2008 Stories We Should Have Covered #3

Number Three on our List Of Stories We Should Have Covered in 2008, but didn't quite get around to it, is a actually a two-parter. This is a very thorough survey of Colorado's Wine Country by the Wine Curmudgeon. It covers the state's terroir, wine history and viticulture. Under the headline, "A Look at Colorado Wine, Part I," the Wine Curmudgeon wrote:

"This is the first of two parts looking at Colorado wine. Today is an overview..."

"Guy Drew, who owns the self-named winery outside of Cortez in southwestern Colorado, insists the high desert in that part of the state will eventually produce world-class wines. And he isn’t alone in that optimism, either. Talk to growers and winemakers throughout Colorado, from Grand Junction in the west to the Front Range in the east, and you’ll hear the same thing. Colorado is a wine phenomenon waiting to happen."

"Says Horst Caspari, the state viticulturist: “One day, we’ll be so popular, you’ll see Hollywood celebrities buying land here and opening wineries.”

"Colorado is not there yet, of course. Save for a handful of producers, the wine isn’t on the level of New York, Missouri or Texas, let alone California or France. Their owners and winemakers -- an eclectic assortment of lawyers, venture capitalists, oilmen, geologists, and even a former British army commando – are still struggling to find the right grapes to grow and the right methods to use for Colorado’s peculiar weather and soil."

"But the state has more than 70 wineries, a number that has increased 13-fold since the early 1990s. And what they lack in consistency, they make up for in enthusiasm and determination. “Yes, we have a long way to go,” says Drew, who was a trucking and shipping executive before opening his winery in 1998, buying 155 acres on a hay farm. “But we’re going to get there.”

"Don’t worry if you’ve never thought of wine and Colorado. Until the mid-1990s, almost no one else had either. The state had just six wineries until 1993, and very little history of winemaking. And why should it have had either? At first glance, Colorado is too cold in the winter, too warm in the summer, too dry year round, and way too high in the mountains to grow grapes. Grand Junction, for example, in the Grand Valley viticultural area, has 21 wineries despite its 4500-foot elevation (and some of the wineries are even higher than that). Compare this to Napa Valley in California, where the land is mostly less than half as high."

"Yet today, Colorado's wineries are in areas as diverse as Cortez; Grand Junction and Delta and Montrose counties to the southeast; the Front Range in and around Boulder and Denver; and even a couple in the Rockies in what is otherwise ski country. What makes a difference in Colorado is something called a microclimate -- a climate within a climate."

"How microclimates work involves entirely too much physics to discuss comfortably (it’s the same process by which icebergs float), but what it means is that some locations in a Colorado valley – like Drew’s -- can support wine-quality grapes, while a spot a mile away is either too cold or too hot."

"On a normal spring day, the temperature can be 80 degrees at Drew’s property and 90 degrees farther west along Highway G. It also helps that even when temperatures reach 100 degrees in the summer, they cool off as much as 50 degrees at night, something grapes like (though the industry is still working its way around the shorter growing season and early frosts typical of high altitudes)..."

"Hence wineries located amidst scenery that is as distinctive as anything in Burgundy or Bordeaux. Canyon Wind Cellars, east of Grand Junction near Palisade, sits on a rise along the Colorado River, with the Book Cliffs perched to the north and sandstone bluffs all around. And if you ask owner Norm Christianson, a geologist, he can even explain how the bluffs came to be, moved hundreds of miles by Ice Age glaciers."

You can read the rest of the overview here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Stories We Should Have Covered #4

We are running down the list of all the stories we should have covered in 2008, but didn't get around to posting them. Number 4 on our list is an article that appeared in about the Wine Country Inn. Under the headline, "Wine Country Accommodations: Newly Opened Palisade Hotel Brings Unique Lodging to the Very Heart of the Grand Valley Growing Region," wrote:

"Richard and Jean Tally lead an impromptu tour of their newly opened hotel in Palisade, pointing out the small details that have gone into the large lodging and events complex."

"Historical photographs hang from nearly every wall, providing a glimpse back in time to the people and activities of the past. Wrap-around porches and white wicker chairs invite guests to sit and relax. An intimate dining area located just off the lobby serves as a versatile venue for breakfast, wine tastings and conversation."

"Of course, it's one of the biggest features of the hotel that draws the most attention. And that's the setting: smack in the middle of not only a vineyard, but also the Grand Valley wine-growing region."

"The Wine Country Inn constitutes a dream come true for the Tallys, who spent nearly a decade visiting lodging properties in the wine-growing regions of California and Europe to carefully study what works and what doesn't."

"The couple says the best of the best went into planning the Wine Country Inn, only on a much larger scale. The Tallys are pleased with the end result of the $8 million project."

"We're proud of it," Richard says."

"But as a co-owner of the family enterprise and a 14-year veteran of the lodging industry with an MBA from Columbia, he's also eager for business to begin in earnest following the Aug. 1 opening. "We're anxious for it to get going and kick in."

"Leif Johnson, executive director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, expects just that. "I don't think there's going to be any doubt it will be really, really in demand."

"The 80-room hotel already has benefited nearby restaurants and other businesses, Johnson says. But he's even more excited about the potential for the Wine Country Inn and Palisade. "It presents a very unique opportunity. There's nothing else like it. To have that kind of unique and prestigious property come to Palisade, I think we have no where to go but up."

You can read the rest of this article here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ski Deep Powder at Powderhorn

Ski Advisory for Powderhorn Ski Resort: Great snow has arrived on the Grand Mesa! Here's what the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel is saying about all the champagne powder:

"A massive winter storm that dumped up to 7 feet of snow in the high country earlier this week boosted snowpack levels at area ski resorts, jump-starting the ski season with open terrain and lifts..."

"On the heels of the storm Saturday, the first bluebird day of the season, skiers and snowboarders arrived in droves at Powderhorn to swish in the 5 inches of new snow reported Friday. The mountain reports a 39-inch base."

"Motorists entering the resort were diverted to overflow parking as early as 9 a.m. Some waited in line for nearly an hour to rent equipment, and as the resort ran out, staff scrambled to find more rentals in storage. Lines for some lifts were up to 15 minutes — a comparatively long wait for the small resort with four lifts."

"Despite the influx of skiers and boarders, the sun’s appearance made the crowds manageable, skiers and riders said."

“It was gorgeous the whole day,” one snowboarder enthused."

You can read the rest of the article here.

2008 Stories We Should Have Covered #5

Number 5 in our "Top Seven Countdown of Stories We Should Have Covered" was written by The Daily Wine. It is a tour of the Grand Valley AVA and a leisurely interview with several wine makers, including State Enologist Stephen Menke. Under the headline, "Landscapes and Lifestyles in Colorado’s Wine Country," The Daily Wine wrote:

"Getting to Grand Junction from Denver International Airport is easy. Whether you drive through, or fly over the mountains, the trip is worth the effort. Or, if time is not your concern, you could take a leisurely Amtrak train. Go west through Colorado’s world-class ski resorts. Continue through the snow capped peaks and passes."

The Wine Makers Dr. Stephen Menke, Parker Carlson, Glenn Foster, and Jenny Baldwin

“When were you planning to clip those vines, Glenn?” Parker asks. “I just did them today.” Glenn responds, grinning. The two continue the conversation, both smiling and jesting about their neighboring vineyards and the longstanding, friendly competition that has become their lives."

"The conversation flows as freely as the wine at Il Bistro, a downtown Grand Junction favorite for its hand made pasta and authentic Italian cuisine. The table is full of wine and food as we try award-winning varieties perfectly matched, course by course, from Plum Creek Winery, the Colorado Wine Room, Confre Cellars, and Carlson Vineyards. Looking around the table, I realize that the winemakers have spent long years developing the scene we enjoy tonight."

"Grapes were first planted in the Grand Valley in 1881. Since 1991, the industry has enjoyed a 750% growth. In recent years, Colorado has become a contender in many Wine Competitions, often surpassing California wines and finding their footing with Cabernet Franc, Late Harvest Sweet Categories, Rieslings, Sangiovese and Port. Additionally, fruit wines and meads (honey wines) enhance the wine makers repertoire, using the valleys orchard fruit for superb peach and plum wines."

"The day after our dinner, Colorado’s wine expert, Enologist Dr. Stephen Menke, led me through Palisades, a small town minutes from the heart of Grand Junction. As a classic bon vivant, he shares readily, with a quick smile and earthy presence. What’s your favorite wine Steve? I ask. “The one in front of me.” he responds. I laugh, relieved that I don’t have to live through an uppity expert on this trip. It just wouldn’t fit the scene anyway—extreme mountains, desert, contrasted with budding vineyards and sun—it is as if the landscape itself decided that pretenses wouldn’t fit here."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Wine Country Inn Near Grand Junction, Colorado

Whoops! If you meant to go to the Colorado Wine Country Inn, please check out our web site,

If you want to read the main page of this blog, "Talk Wine and Colorado's Wine Country," simply click on the banner headline above or go to

If you are a little iffy or careful about what links you click, just Google us at "wine country inn" or "colorado wine country inn." Or check us out on a trusted partner such as Expedia or Travelocity. We'll be waiting!

Common Typos When Searching for Wine in Colorado

We've noticed a lost of goof ups when searching the Internet. It's easy to transpose letters and end up with wacky search results. Take a deep's O.K. to be "typographically challenged." From time to time, we all suffer from the fastest fingers syndrome; we type too fast and get an incorrect search result. Here are a few of the errors that we've caught.

There are many different ways to misspell “winery.” Amongst this list are: Inery, iwnery, wwinery, wnery, wniery, wiinery, wiery, wienry, winnery, winry, winrey, wineery, winey, wineyr, winerry, and winer. All are considered typos.

Common ways to spell “Colorado” wrong include olorado, oClorado, Clorado, Cloorado, Coorado, Coolrado, Colrado, Colroado, Coloado, Coloardo, Colordo, Colordao, Colorao, Coloraod and Colorad. (And from the postal code, don't forget "OC").

Typos for “wine” are legion. Incorrect spelling includes (but is not limited to): ine, iwen, wein, wwine, wnier, wine, winn, niwe, wine, and eniw.

“Country” is another word that unfortunately is frequently, linguistically mangled. Recurring mistakes are: ountry, ocuntry, countyr, cuontry, and counytr.

Mistakes for "Inn" are fewer, as there are fewer letters. Mistakes include nin and nni. There are fewer variations because there are only three letters. The word, “hotels” has many permutations: otels, htels, hoels, hotls, hotes, hhotels, hootels, hottels, hoteels, hotells, hotelss, ohtels, htoels, hoetls, hotles and hotesl.

Our very own hometown of Palisade can be mangled, mashed, used and abused in oh so many ways:

alisade, Plisade, Paisade, Palsade, Paliade, Palisde, Palisae, Palisad, PPalisade, Paalisade, Pallisade, Paliisade, Palissade, Palisaade, Palisadde, Palisadee, aPlisade, Plaisade, Pailsade, Palsiade, Paliasde, Palisdae, Palisaed, and Palisad e.

But the Grand Daddy of all word scrambles comes from the town nearby this blog, "Grand Junction". Because has so many letters, it can misspelled so many ways: rand Junction, Gand Junction, Grnd Junction, Grad Junction, Gran Junction, Grand unction, Grand Jnction, Grand Juction, Grand Juntion, Grand Juncion, Grand Juncton, Grand Junctin, Grand Junctio, GGrand Junction, Grrand Junction, as well as Graand Junction, Grannd Junction, Grandd Junction, Grand JJunction, rGand Junction, Garnd Junction, Grnad Junction, Gradn Junction, Gran dJunction, Grand uJnction, Grand Jnuction, Grand Jucntion, and Grand Junctoin.

A decent spell checker program can avoid problems with all of these phrases. E-mail us if you can think of any more! Thankfully, Google usually corrects the results and offers a “Did you mean to search for:” link.

2008 Stories We Should Have Covered #6

We're doing a Top Seven Countdown for all the wine stories we should have covered in 2008. All of these are about either Colorado's Wine Country or the Wine Country Inn. Number Six on the list was an extremely gracious photo spread and preview of the hotel in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Written by Dave Buchanan, the story appeared in May under the headline, "Palisade's Wine Country." Buchanan wrote:

"Like a Narnian Castle rising out of the forest, the appearance of a multi-storied, 80-room hotel growing amidst the vineyards of Palisade causes more than a few second looks."

"But this is no fairy tale. The country inn-like hotel, designed like an enlarged version of the farm houses that dot the area’s vineyards and orchards, is rapidly taking shape a few good swirls from the tourists traveling Interstate 70, a position which might be marketing at its best."

"Richard and Jean Tally, experienced hoteliers with properties in Grand Junction (Quality Inn) and Denver (Best Western Denver Southwest), are building the Wine Country Inn, Palisade’s first hotel and the state’s first hotel with a wine-country theme."

"With a planned August opening, barely a year from when the first shovel dug into the vineyards, the Tallys recently hired their general manager and are taking advance reservations on the inn’s Web site,"

“I think we see ourselves as a catalyst that will boost the whole concept of agritourism in Palisade,” said Jean Tally, recently. “The big missing piece in what’s out there is lodging and we see ourselves as providing a place for people to come and then we can send them out into the community.”

"The hotel is a big change from the comfortable bed and breakfasts sprinkled around the Grand Valley’s wine lands, and it’s sure to bring a decided economic boost to Palisade and the area’s tourist-popular wine industry."

“I think it’s really going to be great for Palisade and it’s going to take the whole Grand Valley to the next level,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. “But it’s not just wines, it’s agritourism and everything else. It has a lot going for it.”

You can read the rest of the story here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 Stories We Should Have Covered #7

Here is our New Year's count down for some of the wine-related stories about Grand Junction, the Grand Valley and Palisade, Colorado, that we should have covered this year. Back in January, months before we opened, covered the Wine Country Inn. Under the headline,"Haute Hotels on the Horizon," Jetsettersblog wrote:

"With a slew of new developments and major events, Colorado is looking for big things in 2008. From brand new resorts, museums and restaurants to new recreational activities, adventure sports and attractions, the state is brimming with exciting new things to see and do in all four seasons."

"Wine Country Inn (Palisade): The 80-room Wine Country Inn in the vineyards of Palisade invokes the Victorian feel of farm homes in small towns across America. Guests can stroll through the surrounding vineyards and pamper themselves with first-class accommodations."

Thanks for the mention, Jetsetters! You can read the rest of the article here.

Fourth Annual Colorado Wine Restaurant Recognition Program

Attention all restaurant owners! If your restaurant offers Colorado wine on its wine list or as a special feature, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board would like to thank you for recognizing the quality wines being produced in our state - and for allowing your customers to experience a Colorado wine. Restaurants play a crucial role in the development of a state's wine industry by introducing local wines and wineries to wine enthusiasts.

And now more than ever consumers are seeking authentic local culinary experiences, demanding local foods and wines with a smaller carbon footprint and giving a boon to the local economy.

The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board realizes how important your restaurant is to the continued growth of the state's wine industry and is thereby proud to announce the Fourth Annual Colorado Wine Restaurant Recognition Program. The awards given out recognize and honor those Colorado restaurants that have demonstrated support for the Colorado wine industry by actively promoting Colorado wines on their wine lists.

In addition, the Colorado Wine Restaurant Recognition Program will formally recognize two restaurants that have demonstrated extraordinary support for the Colorado wine industry. By providing a platform for recognizing Colorado wine supporters, the program hopes to encourage all Colorado restaurants to support Colorado wines.

If you are interested in participating in this year's recognition program, simply go to:

Check the "Yes, I want to participate!" check box and complete the requested information. You will be required to have included Colorado wines on your wine list at sometime during the twelve months ending December 31, 2008, and to submit a copy of your wine list verifying the presence of Colorado wines as well as records verifying purchases. Entries will be reviewed by Rocky Mountain News food writer John Lehndorff and Colorado Wine Board Executive Director Doug Caskey.

At a special reception on Monday, February 2, 2009, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board will present awards for "Colorado Wine Restaurants of the Year" for their outstanding recognition and support of Colorado wines.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Wine Country Inn!

"It would be ungrateful not to drink his health. Here is a glass of mulled wine ready to our hand at the moment," -- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

We at the Wine Country Inn raise a glass of wine to your health!

Christmas is a time to celebrate the many blessings we enjoy and the love we share with one another. As we revel in this holiday season, we unite in peace to spread joy and goodwill toward one another.

We wish you and your family the Joy of the Season and hope that the year 2009 will bring happiness and prosperity to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Smuggler's Brewpub Now Open for Business

For those of you who prefer handcrafted beer over wine, the Grand Valley offers plenty of choices: the Rockslide, Palisade Brewery, Kannah Creek, Ale House and now, Smuggler's Brewpub and Grille.

According to the Grand Junction Free Press:

"Smuggler’s originated in Telluride over 12 years ago, expanded to Montrose 2 ½ years ago, and Mesa Mall will be their third location.

"Smuggler’s Brew Pub & Grille will offer loft and outdoor/beer garden seating, live music and an original line up of 14 handcrafted ales and lagers, an original root beer and crème soda. Their menu boasts a wide variety of fare from sandwiches to fresh salads to steak and shrimp, all at moderate prices."

"Smuggler’s menu is online at Check out its award winning brews located on page 7 of the menu; the Colorado influence is evident with names like Shred Betty Raspberry Wheat, Rocky Mountain Rye, Wildcat Wheat, and San Juan SkyHop."

"For more information, reach Metz at (970) 729-1910."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Experience a 'Norman Rockwell' Christmas at Palisade Festival

The absolute best of small town life was on display at the Palisade Olde Fashioned Christmas --crisp air, warm food, cheerful, neighborly camaraderie. Here's what local TV station KJCT had to say about this annual event:

"Palisade, Colo. (KJCT)- The wind didn't keep many from enjoying Palisade's Olde Fashioned Christmas on Saturday. Where else can you find local wine, music... and the Town Grouch?"

"Gusts of wind swept over the Bookcliffs and into Palisade, but didn't blow away the fun. Men and women stepped out in Victorian-era clothes, bringing you back to another time."

"We love it because Palisade is such a Norman Rockwell kind of experience."

"Carol Zadrozmy from Z's Orchard brought her jams and jellies with her. Her family-owned business even debuted a new line based on old family recipes, called "preserving the past.""

"Stopping at another booth around the corner, you could find gifts that will truly give back this Christmas.

Lynnae Kochis and Deb White are donating every penny they make to a family down the street that's struggling this holiday season."

"Years ago I was in the same situation, so I know what it feels like. That's what really touched my heart, because I have been there," Kochis said.

"Her neighbor just got laid off and is supporting a family of five."

"We did all this in six days, to try to get them money for Christmas presents. Probably won't be much, but it'll help," she said.

"Cheery snowmen, cookies and hot chocolate-- they made it all from the heart."

"It's a good feeling. It gets you in the Christmas mode, giving," she said.

"You could find more than vendors at Palisade's Olde Fashioned Christmas-- from classic cars to train rides for the kids, and even camel rides."

"Palisade's Olde Fashioned Christmas ended with the lighting of the Christmas tree and a Christmas parade."

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Local's Paean to Yeast

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel is singing a love song for yeast, or more specifically, fermentation in the wine making process. Under the headline, "At This Stage, My Syrah Offers Only Noises, Bit of Heat and Glorious Smells," the Sentinel wrote:

"Once or twice a week, I slip down the stairs into Sal Sassano’s basement where our 2008 syrah is sitting in glass carboys, perched on wooden shelves like choir boys peeking down from the loft."

"The wine still is fermenting and there’s not really anything for me to do, so I just watch it bubble slowly and hope it turns out drinkable."

"Fermentation takes a while. After the grapes are crushed, the winemaker adds some yeast to kick off fermentation and for the first week or two, the activity is amazing."

"You can hear the snap and pop of fermentation and feel the heat as the yeast bugs attack the sugar. One of the glorious smells of winemaking, admittedly one you either enjoy or hate, is the smell of the fermentation turning grape juice to wine."

"The initial blast of yeast bugs eating sugar is done in a week or two and then the wine is pumped out of the fermentation tanks into storage vessels for the final fermentation. Depending on the wine and whether the winemaker wants to tweak the wine’s natural flavors, that storage might be oak barrels, glass jars or stainless steel tanks or a combination."

"Fermentation, where the yeast bugs convert the grape sugar to alcohol, might be the most delicate of the winemaking operations."

"Fermentation happens everywhere, as you know after leaving a jug of milk on the counter for a day or two."

"In most cases, that milk is tossed out, although some (people) cultures enjoy the product of yeast cultures. Yeast makes sourdough starter, but you control how much fermentation takes place when you refrigerate the starter between batches."

You can read the rest of the article here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wine Country Inn Named “Top 5 Vineyard Wedding Location” in U.S.

Perfect Outdoor has named the Wine Country Inn in its Top 5 list for the best all around Outdoor Weddings in the U.S. The Wine Country Inn was featured alongside Martha's Vineyard, Napa and Sonoma. The hotel was ranked as the fourth best wedding spot overall.

The Top 5 List includes famous end-destination wine regions such as Napa and Sonoma in California, Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Newport, Rhode Island, and the Catskill Mountains region of New York State.

The article also mentions Grande River Vineyards, the Wine Country Inn’s next door neighbor, going on to describe the hotel as both a, “dreamy outdoor wedding venue,” and the perfect place for a “Cinderella” wedding:

“Looking for a “dreamy” outdoor wedding venue? The Grande River Vineyard, located in Palisade, Colorado– is a fantastic place to say “I do”. The Wine Country Inn, found on the vineyard, gives a breath-taking view. The Wine Country Inn also has a nice gazebo and an open patio area, perfect for a “Cinderella” wedding! There’s a range of activities you and your wedding party can take part in—horseback riding, fishing and hiking,” wrote Author and Web Site Creator Victoria Sinclair.

(The Wine Country Inn actually sits in its own 21-acre Mount Lincoln Vineyard that surrounds the hotel, although the Inn’s vineyard borders Grande River’s grapes).

The Atlanta, Georgia,-based is a resource for wedding planners and brides to gain fresh ideas. Sinclair conceived of the Web site after planning her own wedding.

“This is a tremendous honor for our hotel, Grande River Vineyards and the Palisade area,” said Wine Country Inn Co-Owner Jean Tally. “Especially considering that we are a younger property being listed among so many older, more established wine regions. It is proof that we can provide a unique venue where quality weddings will make a bride’s special day come to life.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

'Santaland Diaries' a Hilarious Dysfunctional Christmas Play

The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris will be performed at the Two Chairs Theater Company December 17, 18, 19, and 20.
A hilarious one-man play about the author's experiences working as an elf in Santaland at Macy's department store in New York City. It chronicles everything from his dismay at having to choose an 'elf name', to his questionable co-workers, the quality of the visitors, and his final relief at the end of the season.

Curtain time is 7:30 PM at the KAFM radio room.

Two Chairs Theater Company was created to promote new voices in the theater and bring new experiences to audiences in the Grand Valley by producing original scripts and existing works of merit with an emphasis on providing a theatrical venue for Colorado playwrights.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Colorado Wine Pairings for the Season offers a very condensed guide to pairing Colorado wines with Holiday meals:
  • The flavors of turkey are really determined by the ingredients of the stuffing or the seasonings and the sauce. For sausage or savory stuffing, look to the exotic flavors of Gewürztraminer to complement. If you are using oysters in the stuffing, the tangy, brisk flavors of Sauvignon Blanc, a flowery Viognier or an off-dry Riesling are delightful. And should you prefer red wine to match a rich brown gravy, the Pinot Noirs from the West Elks area are ideal.
    All of these aromatic, lighter wines benefit from the cool nights in Colorado. Cooling off at night preserves the acidity of these delicate varietals, making them the perfect food companions.

  • Roast beef, lamb or wild game on the menu? Colorado’s intense Cabernets and Syrahs (aka Shiraz) from the Grand Valley are wonderful. Syrah offers lots of black pepper notes to match a heavily peppered recipe. Cabernet Sauvignon with intense dark fruits and tannins cries out for a nice juicy prime rib. The aromas of Cabernet Franc, a close relative of Cabernet Sauvignon, or Petit Verdot, frequently blended with the Cabernets in Bordeaux, are enchanting with the flavor medley in Colorado lamb.

  • Going vegetarian? The soft fruity notes in Merlot compliment Colorado grown butternut squash or a dried-cherry sauce.

  • And don’t forget a great Colorado Port for dessert with pecan pie or a Muscat with pumpkin pie.
  • Holiday Shoppers Special at the Wine Country Inn

    The Wine Country Inn is offering a shopper's special through the month of December.

    We can make this shopping thing a whole lot more fun!

    Shop Till You Drop, Then Relax in Luxury!

    * Room Night
    * Starting at $79 plus tax*

    Great Buys at Palisade Wineries
    Galleries and Shops
    Retail Outlets in Grand Junction
    Wine Themed Items Available in Our Gift Shop
    Enjoy Our Afternoon Wine Reception
    What a way to go!

    *Some Restrictions May Apply. Standard King or Double Queen Room. No Other Discounts Apply

    To view more rates and specials, click here.

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Serving Up Hot Cocoa and 'The Polar Express'

    Palisade Tribune Editor-in-Chief Bob Kretschman has written a fantastic overview of what there's to do around the Grand Valley at Christmas time. He started with a simple local tradition, hot cocoa and the children's classic, The Polar Express.

    Writing for the Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau, Kretschman posted under the headline, "
    Jolly Grand Junction:"

    "At Main Street Bagels in downtown Grand Junction, holiday tradition is served by the cup."

    "Each holiday season, the store sells helpings of its signature "Polar Express Hot Chocolate," which shop owner Mark Smith says was inspired by the classic Christmas tale for which it is named."

    "Smith and his wife, Missy, used to read The Polar Express to their children, and a line in the book describing hot cocoa "as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars" gave him the idea to experiment with such a recipe. Combining three different types of chocolate with cream and other ingredients, Smith has perfected the drink described in the book."

    '"We sell a lot of it for the Parade of Lights," Smith says. "We have a line out the door."'

    "Main Street Bagels has been serving the rich delight for about a decade, and to some people, it has become as much a part of the downtown Grand Junction holiday tradition as the many events that happen there between Thanksgiving and Christmas."

    You can about other Grand Junction Christmas traditions on the GJVCB web site here.

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    Wine Trail Traveler Review of Hotel

    Kathy Sullivan of the Wine Trail Traveler added a profile of the Wine Country Inn to their website. Here's what Sullivan had to say:

    The Wine Country Inn, a recently opened inn located in Palisade, Colorado is a delightful inn to stay at while visiting Colorado wine country. Wine Country Inn is conveniently located close to I-70. Even with its close proximity to an interstate road, the rooms at the inn are quiet and peaceful. Numerous wineries are a short distance from the inn, with three winery tasting rooms in walking distance. Several other wineries are a perfect distance for bikers.

    While staying at Wine Country Inn, we took a detailed tour and saw the many amenities available to guests. After a day of visiting area wineries, it was wonderful to return to the inn for a quiet evening. Waking up the next morning, and having breakfast with a gourmet main dish and several accompaniments was great before leaving to visit more wine tasting rooms.

    We enjoyed meeting Jean Tally, her husband, Richard and daughter, Anne. They are friendly and enthusiastic about the operation of the inn and its potential as a place to stay for people visiting this fertile grape and fruit growing area of Colorado. They have had experience owning hotels and for ten years had contemplated building an inn in Palisade, Colorado.

    According to Jean, "Steve Smith, owner of Grande River Vineyards, had approached the Tallys a decade ago to see if they were interested in building a hotel near his winery. The Tallys believed the historic Victorian town of Palisade, with its significant agricultural role, deserved a first-class hotel whose architecture looked like it belonged there. In 2008, their dream came true with the August opening of the Wine Country Inn. The Tallys' attention to detail confirms that this project is indeed a labor of love."

    The Wine Country Inn offers an atmosphere of old home welcoming. “This place feels like home.” With 80 rooms available, the inn can function efficiently and as a hands on operation, providing an atmosphere of congeniality. It is restful and has a laid back atmosphere. As Jean Tally says, it is a “doable getaway.” Whether you want to visit wineries or sit on the porch and rock, Wine Country Inn is inviting.

    We experienced a delightful and detailed tour of Wine Country Inn with Michael who extolled the virtues of the inn. In a welcoming area, guests enjoy a fireplace open on two sides. The other side faces the dining area. Breakfast is available daily in the dining area. Jean Tally mentioned that the dining area is the most used area at the inn. In late afternoon, the inn holds wine tastings here. We discovered camaraderie here between guests. It wasn’t long before we were talking about wineries in South Dakota and Nebraska. Wine is the commonality that brings people together.

    The Wine Country Inn includes very comfortable rooms with high beds and delightful views. Some rooms have an outside door, allowing guests access to a porch with a small table and chairs. Guests will discover a good-sized laundry room with two washers and dryers. Sports enthusiasts may want to stay fit working out in the fitness room. A business center is also available for guests.

    You can see the article and photos of the property here.

    Victorian Afternoon Tea at Wine Country Inn

    The Wine Country Inn invites the ladies of the Grand Valley to start a new Christmas tradition. On Sunday, Dec. 23, the 80-room hotel in Palisade will host a Victorian Afternoon Tea from 2 to 4 p.m. for guests and local residents.

    “The tea will give the ladies a chance to dress up and bring their daughters and grand –daughters to celebrate the holidays in grand style,” explains Juliann Adams, Event Coordinator. “We will have tea sandwiches and sweet treats traditionally served at high tea. It will be very pretty and genteel, a great way to teach etiquette to youngsters. ”

    Adams says the Afternoon Tea will be similar to those offered by historic hotels such as the Brown Palace in Denver, complete with silver service, fine china and linens.

    “We hope our guests will enjoy an experience similar to what is offered in large cities, and will make this an annual tradition when they make their holiday plans,” she adds.

    Tickets cost $10 per person. Book your reservations today by calling the Wine Country Inn at 464-5777.

    The Inn also will be the venue for Palisade’s Olde Fashioned Christmas Tea on Saturday, Dec. 13. Information and reservations for the fund-raiser event are available through the Palisade Chamber of Commerce.

    The Wine Country Inn is located at 777 Grande River Drive, just off Interstate 70 at Palisade Exit 42.

    Start a New Tradition

    A Special Time for Grandmothers, Daughters, Granddaughters

    Victorian Afternoon Tea

    Where: Wine Country Inn
    When: Sunday, December 21, 2008
    Time: 2 to 4 pm
    Cost:$10 per person
    (Event Only, Room Charge Not Included)

    Reservations Required: 1-970-464-5777

    Please call to reserve

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    Saturday Kicks Off Palisade’s Olde Fashioned Christmas

    Saturday, December 13th, visitors will enjoy a full day of holiday events in Palisade. “Olde Fashioned Christmas really reflects the true spirit of Palisade during the holiday season,” said event chairman, Leif Johnson.

    Festivities start downtown at 11:00 AM. Live entertainment, chimineas and outdoor fire pits will fill the town with warmth and holiday cheer. Activities include kid’s train rides and craft tent, Olde Towne Marketplace, self-guided art studio tours and historic walking tours. The Gingerbread House Contest & Showcase, in the United Methodist Church, runs from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

    At 12:00 Noon, visitors can enjoy a tour of the area’s Victorian Homes. Wagon rides, a silent auction, and Show & Shine Car Show begin at noon. The Soup Challenge, featuring eight of the Grand Valley’s top restaurants, starts at 1:00 PM. Santa will greet children of all ages at 2:00 PM.

    High Tea commences at 2:00 PM at Palisade’s new Wine Country Inn, with shuttle service available from downtown. At 3:00 PM, guests can enjoy complimentary wine tastings as well as the Palisade Fire Department’s Chili Cook-off. At 5:00 PM, the Peach Queen officially lights the Town’s Christmas tree, followed by the Christmas parade.

    Throughout the day, be on the lookout for Palisade’s cast of holiday characters, including the Town Grinch (a.k.a .the Town Grouch), Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Crachit and Tiny Tim, and the Town Crier. Visitors are encouraged to dress in the style of the time.

    “Olde Fashioned Christmas has grown into one of Palisade’s premier events,” Johnson said. “We invite you enjoy the festivities and see first-hand the unique feeling that Palisade offers.” For more information, contact the Palisade Chamber of Commerce at 464-7458 or visit their website,

    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Grand Junction's Annual Spirit of Christmas Walk Tonight

    Event date: Friday, December 12, 2008, from 5 – 9 p.m. on Main Street

    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. Performances by Burning Desert Collective (fire dancers), Lisa Lingo, Ric Gaines, Sweet Adelines , Central High School Choir, Pomona Elementary, and other strolling singers and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
    Creative Avenues is hositng a Holiday fun night for the kids from 6-9 p.m.. Drop kids (ages 3 yrs - grade 8) off while parents enjoy a night in Downtown! $15 for the first child, $10 for each additional child.
    Brown Cycles will be sponsoring an "ice" rink in the 500 block of Main Street during the Spirit of Christmas Walk. The synthetic ice rink will be open Thursday (5-10 p.m.), Friday (8a.m. - 10 p.m.) and Saturday (8 a.m.-10 p.m.). Rent skates for $5 at Brown Cycles or bring your own skates and pay only $3.
    Road closures:
    There are no road closures for this event.
    Parking tips:
    Main Street parking will fill up fast, but plenty of parking is available in the new Parking Garage on Rood Avenue and off of Main Street on Colorado and Rood Avenues. Parking is free during the holiday season. It’s a good idea to carpool and wear comfortable shoes! Please dress very warmly.

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Outdoor Ice Skating Rink on Main Street

    Lace up your skates and enjoy a romantic old fashioned outdoor rink in downtown Grand Junction, right here in in the Grand Valley.

    Under the headline, "Ice Skate Grand Junction's Main Street This Weekend," Grand Junction Free Press Reporter Marija B. Vader writes:

    "Come Thursday, you’ll be able to ice skate on Main Street."

    "Chris Brown of Brown Cycles is bringing an ice skating rink to Main Street Thursday, Friday and Saturday."


    “Because it’s Christmas!” he said. “It’s in the spirit of the season.”

    "The rink glides well with The Spirit of Christmas Walk, the annual Downtown Development Authority event happening Friday night on Main Street. The event involves carolers, hot chocolate and shops staying open late."

    "At Coffee Muggers, Grand Junction musician Jerry Colby will unveil his first solo CD, and Just Us will also play."

    "Now, people can add Christmas Skate to their Christmas Walk events to do."

    "On the rink, the “ice” is actually synthetic, similar to a plastic resin cutting board, so “you could skate in the middle of the summer if you want,” Brown said."

    "This rink will be assembled in a few parking places in front of Brown Cycles, 549 Main St., so traffic will continue to flow. The ice on skates works like a knife on a resin cutting board."

    "Or like ice, Brown said."

    “You can twist, turn and hockey stop. It’s a tad bit slower, but you glide,” Brown said. The more grooves are made, the quicker it gets, and if it’s wet, it’ll work better yet."

    "“So when it’s snowing outside, it’s perfect,” he said."

    "For $5, people can get ice skates and ice time for half an hour. People who bring their own skates will pay $3 to get on the ice."

    "Brown has spent six months researching the idea and putting it into action.
    “I have three kids, and they want to skate,” said Brown, who takes his kids to The Glacier, Grand Junction’s ice arena."

    "But this rink will be romantic, because it’s outside on Main Street."

    “It’s Main Street ... wrap it with Christmas lights, play Christmas music, drink hot cocoa, I’m all over that,” he said."

    “It’s romantically appropriate to put it on Main Street in Grand Junction during the holidays,” he said."

    "Mike Allen, owner of Toys for the Fun of It, is also a sponsor, along with Main Street Bagels and The Grand Junction Free Press."

    “Anything we can do to enhance the experience downtown is a good thing,” Allen said. “People associate ice skating with the holiday season, and I think it’s a good thing.”

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Costumes for Nutcracker a Hometown Affair

    Sharon Sullivan of the Grand Junction Free Press has written an article about our local holiday production of The Nutcracker.

    Under the headline, "Sew It Goes: Grand Junction Seamstress Creates 'Nutcracker' Costumes," Sullivan writes:

    "When Ramona Danzo’s sewing machine broke down last weekend, she nearly panicked."

    "“To me it was the worst thing ever,” Danzo said."

    "That’s because Danzo was finishing up the costumes for tonight and Saturday’s performances of “The Nutcracker” ballet at the Avalon Theater. She started the sewing project for the Institute of Dancing Arts production in June. "

    "Danzo, 32, created 60-some costumes, all without a pattern."Link
    "“She figures it all out,” said Diane Revie, choreographer and artistic director of “The Nutcracker” and the Institute of Dancing Arts.'"

    'Revie told Danzo what she wanted in the costumes and gave her fabric and pictures to go by, and Danzo ran with it, turning Revie’s ideas into creations."

    "“I’m very, very, very picky, and our costumes are very detailed, and she’s just been my right hand,” Revie said. “She’s an amazing seamstress. Spectacular is putting it mildly.”'

    You can read the rest of the article here.

    Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    Curtis Talley, Palisade Wine Pioneer, Passes

    The and owners and staff of the Wine Country Inn offer our sincere condolences to the Family of Curtis Talley, 85. One of the first growers in the valley to plant wine grapes after Prohibition, Talley was an instrumental force in turning Palisade into Colorado's Wine Country.

    Under the headline, "Grower Was A Peach of A Teacher," The Denver Post wrote:

    "Curtis Talley loved peaches.

    "He loved them so much he raised them, ate them, made wine out of them and taught people how to grow them.

    "Talley, a longtime Palisade farmer and teacher, died Nov. 20 in Delta. He was 85.

    "Talley had a 40-acre farm near Palisade and tended it after his teaching duties each day at Palisade High School. His wife and four kids all had jobs in the business: picking, sorting, de-fuzzing, boxing and canning of peaches, said his daughter Donna Deleff of Delta.

    "The kids started helping at age 5 and continued through high school. Deleff said she can remember her first salary being 5 cents an hour.

    "The family canned about 50 quarts of peaches a year, Deleff said.

    "Talley was named Peach Grower of the Year in 1971.

    "He also was the Future Farmers of America adviser and organized and taught fruit-growing classes at night. He taught agriculture, farm mechanics, welding and woodworking in his 32 years at Palisade High School, retiring in 1983.

    "Talley was one of the first farmers to plant wine grapes in the Grand Valley in the late 1960s.

    "He made peach wine in the basement, but usually didn't drink it. "He was a beer person," Deleff said."

    He is survived by daughter, Rhonda Moore of Grand Junction; and two sons, Curtis Talley Jr. of Montague, Mich., and Dick Talley of Grand Junction; 10 grandchildren and six great- grandchildren; and two brothers, David Talley of Española, N.M., and Vallon Talley of Palisade.

    You can read the rest of the obituary here.

    Talley was also a distant relative of the Tally family, who owns the Wine Country Inn.

    We wish the Talley family all the best in the days ahead.

    Monday, December 8, 2008

    Winery Celebrates 1st Annual Festival of Lights for Charity

    The 1st Annual Varaison Festival of Lights will ‘light up’ Palisade from Monday, December 15 through Sunday, December 28, 2008. The public is invited to see this magnificent holiday display of Christmas trees and lights. This charity event is a pay-per-view event to raise money for the charity, the Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots.” The event will be held at Varaison Vineyards & Winery, 405 W. 1st Street in Palisade

    “Twenty businesses are sponsoring Christmas trees which will light up our pavilion and really showcase Palisade this Christmas season,” said Varaison Winery owner, Ron West. “The public will see a spectacular display of Christmas trees and lights. Coffee, tea, hot cider, hot chocolate and chili will be for sale with proceeds benefiting the Palisade Fire Department’s new building fund.” Hospitality will be provided by Chapter CD of PEO benefiting women’s educational grants. Wine tasting and wine by the glass available in Varaison’s tasting room.

    For more information, contact Varaison Vineyards & Winery at 464-4928 or visit their website at

    Saturday, December 6, 2008

    25th Annual Parade of Lights

    There are plenty of Christmas events in the Grand Valley, a perfect reason to stay and play at the Wine Country Inn. Make the Colorado's Wine Country part of your holiday tradition!

    The 25th annual Parade of Lights floats down Main Street before thousands of enchanted spectators. This is the centerpiece of the holidays in Downtown Grand Junction. Thousands of enchanted spectators line the street to watch over 100 floats light up the night on seven blocks of Main Street. The parade starts at 5pm and various community groups, businesses and organizations enter their floats as they compete for cash prizes in various categories.

    Be sure to take advantage of free parking in the Downtown Parking Garage for the Parade of Lights. It is located on Rood Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets.

    Friday, December 5, 2008

    Magic, Wonder on Display in Local Production of Nutcracker

    Dreams and adventure abound with the Grand Junction Symphony's first local production of The Nutcracker. With its colorful sets, imaginative storyline, dazzling costumes and local dancers, it's a must-see event for the entire family.

    Participating organizations: Western Slope Chamber Music Series, the Institute of the Dancing Arts.

    Number of musicians: 40.

    Number of dancers: 75.

    Style: Traditional with a kid-friendly emphasis.

    Choreography: Diane Revie, Institute of the Dancing Arts’ artistic director.

    Special performers: University of Colorado and Denver University music doctorate and masters candidate students. Guest dancers Alex Speedie from North Carolina and Alisha Clubb from Nebraska.

    Lead dancers: Rachel Worth, Jaime Bourget, Leroy Donegan, Rosemarie Mientka and Alex Speedie.

    Length: Less than two hours.

    Preparation: 10 years. That’s how long Revie said she’s been building up her dance studio and dancers to the quality she said she thinks “The Nutcracker” deserves. Conductor Tyme Mientka attended dance rehearsals with a metronome and memorized the dancers’ speeds long before the orchestra began rehearsals.

    Costumes: Nearly 150 detailed costumes — tiny yellow lollipop leotards to the fantastic hand–stitched beading and sequins on tutus — made by Revie and dance studio volunteers.

    Favorite scene: The Grand Pas de Deux, said Howard Revie, Institute of the Dance Arts’ executive director. “It almost makes you cry.”

    Performances: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St., and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30, (sold out) at the Montrose Pavilion.

    Tickets: For the Grand Junction performances: $20 in advance for adults, $22 at the door; $15 in advance for children 12 and under and $17 at the door. Tickets can be bought in advance at Roper Music in Grand Junction, Over the Edge Sports in Fruita, Finishing Touch in Delta, Hardin’s Natural Foods in Hotchkiss and Paonia Farm and Home or online at The Montrose performance is sold out.

    More information: or call 256-0775.

    Thursday, December 4, 2008

    Holiday Tour of Homes Benefits GJ Symphony

    Come and join us in a Christmas tour of some local homes. Several Grand Valley residents have decked their halls for a fund raiser benefiting the arts.

    Under the headline, "Seasonal Sights and Smells, All on Tour," Reporter Melinda Mawdsley wrote in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

    "Evelyn Brady’s home even smelled like Christmas."

    "The scents of cinnamon, vanilla and fresh evergreen followed Brady around like a shadow as she walked from room to room, showing off her Christmas display."

    "The Brady Quarter Horse Ranch in Clifton is one of five homes featured in this year’s Holiday Tour of Homes on Dec. 6 and 7, and Brady is taking her spot in this year’s tour seriously."

    “'We are just a Christmas family,' Brady said."

    "The Holiday Tour of Homes is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Grand Junction Symphony Guild, which helps fund the Grand Junction Symphony and various children’s concerts throughout the year.

    "Holiday Tour of Homes tickets are $15 and can be purchased at City Market, Albertsons, Safeway and the Grand Junction Symphony office. Tickets enable people to tour the inside of the homes, which all will be decorated differently for the holiday season."

    "At 6 p.m. Dec. 5, there is a homemade soup supper at Holy Family Elementary School. Tickets for the supper are $40 and include a ticket for the Holiday Tour of Homes.
    For more information, call 241-8671."

    You can read the rest of the story here.

    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    Special Holiday Art Workshop: Merry Making with Mary Mansfield

    Palisade's Blue Pig Gallery is sponsoring its very own Special Holiday Art Workshop: Merry Making with Mary Mansfield. The cost is $35 per person.

    Add a touch of art to your holiday festivities with your own creation. Bring visiting family or friends and make this workshop one of your holiday get-togethers.

    Professional artist and floral designer Mary Mansfield offers this special workshop to learn how to create your own table decorations for all of your holiday festivities. Workshops take place Monday, December 15, 2008 at either 11:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. Bring your own components including some of the following items and tools:

    • Favorite container – such as soup tureen, ceramic or glass bowl or any low profile container that will hold water.
    • Scissors for cutting ribbon
    • Large ribbon – 2” or larger
    • Lots of different greens as in eucalyptus, bay leaves, fir, juniper
    • A few flowers from garden, florist, grocery store or Sam’s Club
    Mary will provide a more detailed supplies list when you sign up. Call the gallery to register (970)-464-4819.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008

    Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Wine Country Inn

    Afternoon Tea in Palisade! On Saturday, December 13th, enjoy Afternoon Tea at Palisade’s new Wine Country Inn. Take pleasure in fine tea, sweets and savories served Victorian style, in a social setting. Centerpieces are provided courtesy of The Arts & Antiques of Palisade and Purrfect Creations Floral & Gifts. Fine music and the beautiful ambience of the Wine Country Inn complete the venue. Period attire is encouraged, but not required.

    The event starts at 2:00 PM and finishes at 4:00 PM. Tickets are $10.00 per person, or $15.00 for an adult and child. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Wine Country Inn, The Arts & Antiques of Palisade, and the Palisade Chamber of Commerce. Purchase of tickets on Olde Fashioned Christmas Day will be available at the Wine Country Inn. Seating is limited!

    Shuttle service will be available to/from the Wine Country Inn from downtown Palisade. High Tea is sponsored by the Wine Country Inn, EB Realty, The Arts & Antiques of Palisade, and Mumzel’s.

    Monday, December 1, 2008

    Palisade Gingerbread House Contest Kicks Off Holiday Season

    The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than gingerbread houses?

    In a special to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, author Dixie Burmeister wrote about the upcoming festivities at the Palisade Olde Fashioned Christmas, Saturday, December 13.

    Under the headline, "Contest Brings Feel of Old Fashioned Christmas to Palisade," Burmeister wrote:

    "It all started at a Palisade Olde Fashioned Christmas meeting last year when the vision of building the Gingerbread House Contest to one with many entries and categories came into being and into my hands.

    "A Gingerbread House Contest and Showcase just seemed to add the aroma and feel of a true old-fashioned holiday that takes you away from all the hustle and bustle.

    "So, off we set with last year’s contest with hopes creating this into an event that adds to the memories of Christmas past, present and hopefully for many years to come.

    "Those who entered last year did just that. We were overwhelmed with the charm and beauty of the entries, not to mention the number of participants.

    "We interviewed last year’s participants who shared their gingerbread memories, offering hints for first-time builders.

    "Frances Blackwelder won first place in adults category last year and was a “first time” gingerbread house builder.

    "Blackwelder, who works at Vista Engineering, used AutoCAD software to visualize her plans (yes, modern technology came into play for this centuries old tradition). Then she had her plans cut to scale on mylar.

    "Using her pocket cookbook’s recipe for gingerbread, she began making what ended up being four batches of dough, one batch at a time.

    "Once the sections were cut and baked, she poured the sugar windows and allowed all the pieces to dry for several days."

    You can read the rest of the article here.

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