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This is what wine drinking looks like in Colorado. No spitting.EXPAND
This is what wine drinking looks like in Colorado. No spitting.
Lisa Kral

Colorado's Biggest Wine Festival Is Nearly Sold Out

Colorado wine is more popular than ever, if ticket sales for the Colorado Mountain Winefest are any indication.

The Winefest takes place from Thursday, September 19, through Sunday, September 22, in Palisade, and at the moment, there are fewer than 100 tickets left for the main event, Saturday's Festival in the Park. Tickets are likely to sell out on Wednesday or Thursday this week, according to Cassidee Shull, executive director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE). Tickets for other Winefest events held Thursday, September 19, through Sunday, September 22, are still available but going fast.

The Colorado Mountain Wine Festival is the state's biggest wine fest.EXPAND
The Colorado Mountain Wine Festival is the state's biggest wine fest.
Nathan Billow

The Winefest, now in its 28th year, has sold out each of the past four years. “Being voted by USA Today the best wine fest in the nation really put us on the map,” says Shull. “Last year we had participants from 45 states and six countries. Our little park is bringing in folks from China, Australia and Canada.”

Some 6,600 attendees are expected, and VIP tickets sold out way back in January. This year’s event brings together 64 Colorado makers of wine, sake, cider and mead. Another forty artisan vendors will offer food and arts and crafts.

“We are fortunate that Winefest takes place during harvest," Shull adds. "It’ll be 70 to 80 degrees out.  Participants can sip wine and meet the winemakers under the cottonwoods. They can try by glass and purchase by the bottle or case. We recommend people bring a picnic.”

The Western Slope around Palisade is prime wine grape country.EXPAND
The Western Slope around Palisade is prime wine grape country.
Marc Hoberman

If you do bring your own food, keep in mind that only smaller coolers are allowed to ensure that the park has space for everyone. All proceeds of the festival go back to CAVE, the state’s only nonprofit organization dedicated to Colorado wine and the grape-growing industry.

Dinners, tastings and tours are all part of the four-day celebration. Some good options include Wine, Dine, and Paint at the Palette in Grand Junction on September 19; the Grand Mesa Wine Country Bus Tour starting at Riverbend Park in Palisade on September 20; Festival in the Park at Riverbend Park on September 21; and the Palisade Sunday Farmers Market in downtown Palisade on September 22. And during the extra-long weekend, participating Palisade restaurants will offer specials on Colorado wine, plus wine-and-food pairings.

The Colorado Mountain Winefest is the largest wine festival in the state, but not the only one. The 303 Wine festival is coming up on August 3 at Clement Park in Littleton, followed soon by the Estes Park Wine Festival on August 10 and 11. The Front Range Wine Festival happens the following weekend, on August 17, in Windsor; and the Boulder Valley Wine Festival pours in Louisville on September 7.

For more information about the Colorado Mountain Winefest or to purchase tickets, call 970-464-0111 or visit the festival's website.

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