Lavender lovers have multiple chances this summer to celebrate the intoxicating aroma and taste of the prized purple flower. The eighth annual Colorado Lavender Festival wafts into Palisade from June 29 through July 1 with a weekend of lavender farm tours on Friday and Sunday and a festival at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday, with food, entertainment, lavender products, lavender workshops, an essential oils contest, and pours of St. Kathryn Cellars lavender wine. Ticket prices for the seminars, workshops and farm tours vary.
If you can't make it to the Western Slope festival, the Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting its own Lavender Festival on July 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DBG’s Chatfield Farm location at 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton. There will be live bluegrass music, food and drink, lavender demonstrations, farm tours, kids’ activities, and more of that lovely St. Kathryn Cellars lavender wine. Tickets are $5 for members and $7 for non-members. Children thirteen and under get in free.
If the idea of sipping an herbal wine is more appealing than attending a festival, you can still experience the calming benefits of Colorado-grown lavender in the aforementioned wine from St. Kathryn Cellars. Known for its award-winning fruit wines, St. Kathryn Cellars is one of the Talon Wine Brand wineries, along with Talon Winery and Meadery of the Rockies, all in Palisade.
To create lavender wine, the company makes a well-balanced dry riesling and then steeps it for two to three weeks with local lavender from Sage Creations Organic Farm. The result is a rose-tinged riesling with a hint of lavender on the nose and finish. The taste is delicate and refreshing like a good rosé. St. Kathryn Cellars Lavender Wine is perfect for a summer afternoon on the deck and would pair well with cheese, tossed salad, fish, seafood or summer soup.
Brian Stevens, head wine maker and chief operating officer of Talon Wine Brands, began making lavender wine about five years ago. Carol Mueller, owner of the Lavender Lady and Friends Boutique on Palisade’s Main Street, had pressed him to try the unique combination and he finally relented; it's now the winery's best seller. Last year, St. Kathryn Cellars sold 1,500 cases (18,000 bottles) of lavender-infused wine. “The most interesting thing for me is that when we made lavender wine, we didn’t know we’d become known for it,” says Stevens.
The Talon Winery/St.Kathryn Cellars tasting room is located at 785 Elberta Avenue in Palisade. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Talon Wine Brands wines and meads are available at Denver area wine and liquor stores such as Applejack Wine & Spirits, Molly’s Spirits and Tipsy’s Liquor World, as well as on the company's online wine shop.