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Five ways Colorado Urban WineFest will rock this week

What do Governor John Hickenlooper and chef-restaurateur Frank Bonanno have in common?

They're both major fans of Colorado wine. So major, in fact, that they carved significant chunks of time out of what can only be comically overscheduled agendas to shoot twin Spike Jonze-style film shorts, where they break down the science on their respective Colorado wine fandom.

And they're not the only ones. April's Drink Local Wine week festivities -- for which Denver played host to hundreds of oenophiles from around the country who barely knew Colorado even made wine worth drinking, never mind swooning over -- has only fanned the flames of what's shaping up to be a blazing hot year for local winemakers. All of a sudden, articles from the Washington Post and Playboy and everything in between are paying attention (and giving props) to bottles from right here in our back yard. Don't you think it's high time you did as well?

Good, because we think so, too. And since there's no time like the present, this week's array of Colorado Urban WineFest events -- all of which are geared toward showcasing the best in local wine -- are like a perfectly wrapped gift of wine-soaked fun designed especially to get you on Team Colorado Wine once and for all. Culminating in Saturday's all-day Sculpture Park festival highlighting local Colorado wineries, just about every day is serving up something extra cool for you to check out. Read on for the juicy details on all the goodness that's in store.

 

Monday, June 4: Colorado Wine Cocktail Celebration at Colt & Gray

Why it will rock: A local industry all-star lineup of stellar cocktologists including Kevin Burke of Colt & Gray, Joe Hines of Green Russell (and now, Williams & Graham), Matty Durgin and Ryan Conklin of Euclid Hall will meet for a boozy throwdown. Each will attempt to spin a local wine into a unique -- and hopefully judges' approval-winning -- cocktail recipe that will change the way you look at local wine forever.

Tuesday, June 5: "East Meets West" Winery Open Houses

Why they will rock: If you're one of the many (and by many, we mean just about everyone) who assumes that all Colorado wine is from the Western Slope, prepare to have your mind blown. That's because an assortment of right-here-in-our-hood wineries planted in north Denver (Bonacquisti Wine Co. & Spero Winery), Evergreen (Creekside Cellars), Centennial (Desert Moon Vineyards) and BookCliff Vineyards (Boulder) representin' the east side will throw open their cellar doors and welcome visiting west-side winemakers from Whitewater Hill Vineyards, Two Rivers, >Mesa Park Vineyards, Canyon Wind Cellars, and DeBeque Canyon for a set of wine and food tastings as unique as each of the wines. You'll get to taste terroir from around the state and nosh on nibbles (a slider buffet and goodies from The Heirloom Food Truck are a couple of examples) for ridiculously cheap prices.

Wednesday, June 6: Colorado Wine Farmers' Market Tweetup at Highland Tap & Burger

We've already told you: Twitter is magic. Especially when it comes to expanding your Colorado wine-related horizons, because 2012 has been the year our hometown winemakers have fully embraced the power of this platform to tweet...well, just about everything you can imagine (and a few things you probably couldn't) that winemakers think about. Embrace your inner tweep while getting your eat and drink on at this interactive meetup featuring grilled goodies and -- wait for it -- plenty of local juice.

Friday, June 8: Wine Down the Rail

"Ride the rail, drink Colorado wine. Simple." Sage advice from the minds behind this genius concept, which will make your commute a helluva lot more fun (and possibly more drunken) than you ever thought possible. As the name implies, the idea is to visit any -- hell, why not all? -- of the nine participating venues (Pizza Republica and Crave Dessert Bar & Lounge, for starters) within steps of a light-rail stop anywhere in metro Denver and enjoy specially priced Colorado wine and food pairings. The best part? Avoiding one of those pesky DUIs.

Saturday: June 9: Colorado Urban WineFest at Sculpture Park

Perhaps the rockingest time of the entire week is destined to be had here, where 45 of the state's best wineries will convene under those kinda kooky-looking dancers rocking out just off of Speer Boulevard. Believe us when we tell you that this is looking to be a substantial upgrade from last year's event, which took place in a somewhat, shall we say, less than awe-inspiring Stapleton locale. Activities include a hands-on wine aroma wheel (we got a sneak peek of this, and it is unbelievably cool), an extreme food and wine pairing brought to you by Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar and Jonesy's Eat Bar, and a sommelier shoot-off (just what it sounds like, only funnier and with more spitting).

Your love affair with Colorado wine starts now. And just think: After this week, you'll be able toclaim you have something in common with John and Frank, too.

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