Planning Ahead for the 28th Annual Colorado Mountain Winefest
Celebrate the Wine Culture of Colorado Amidst the Vineyards of the Western Slope
By Lisa McIntyre
The hottest ticket for Colorado’s summer wine festivals is the Colorado Mountain Winefest that takes place in mid-September in Palisade. Colorado’s Western Slope is known for its perfect, fruit-growing climate where acres of fruit orchards produce peaches, pears, cherries, apples and, of course, grapes.
Voted the Best Wine Festival in the Nation for USA Today’s People’s Choice Awards in 2017, the festival sold out the last four years and organizers expect the same rush on tickets in 2019. Early lodging reservations are strongly suggested as well.
“This event is cool because it takes place near the highest concentration of vineyards in Colorado at the most gorgeous and sunny time of year. The grass is green, the trees are tall, and its right next to the (Colorado) river,” says Deborah Lee, owner of the Denver meadery, Queen Bee Brews.
Nearly 60 of Colorado’s 110 wineries, 23 cideries and 9 meaderies set up tented displays of their elixirs, offering unlimited tastings of their crafts to ticketholders.
The iconic day is more than a tasting. It’s an entire experience with wine education classes, culinary sessions and grape stomping amid ice sculptures and live music playing throughout the festival under towering cottonwoods.
Blankets and folding chairs are allowed, so arrive early to find a shady area to relax between sips. Prepare transportation ahead of time by buying a round trip shuttle ticket to and from your hotel. The shuttles travel all around the Western Slope, making it easy to be safe and have fun.
The Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE) hosts the festival and facilitates other events both before and after Saturday’s big fiesta. Self-guided winery tours, food and wine pairings, and bus tours around the area are also available. For up-to-date information, go to their website for more details.
What you need to know:
What: Colorado Mountain Winefest’s main event: Festival in the Park
Where: Riverbend Park: 451 Pendleton St. Palisade, CO 81526
When: September 21, 2019
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Events: Wine Stomping 12-2 p.m.; Ice Sculpting 2-5 p.m.; Live Music - All day at band shell
Tickets: $60 - $250 (buy tickets here). Must be 21 years of age.