Booze

Have a Wine Time on the Western Slope This Weekend

It’s harvest time, and Front Range gardeners aren’t the only ones bringing in their crops. Colorado’s 120 vineyards are about to harvest their grapes, which will be used by the 130 wineries around the state. Unlike last year, the 2015 harvest is expected to be fruitful, since the state had a relatively mild, cool growing season with ample moisture. “The 2015 season has been a good recovery year for us,” says John Garlich of Bookcliff Vineyards. “The previous two years, we experienced tremendous damage in the vineyards from the harsh Colorado winters. This season started out warm early, which normally would mean we would be harvesting very early — but because we had a cool, rainy spring and moderate summer temperatures, the harvest looks to be happening in a normal time frame. We are looking forward to seeing how the vintage characteristics are expressed in the resulting wines.”

“Colorado’s winemakers are feeling cautiously optimistic about this year’s crop,” adds Doug Caskey, executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. “Nature could still pose some significant challenges, but all indications point to a very good year both in terms of quality and quantity for the Colorado wine industry. While we will have to wait until the wine is in the bottle for a final determination, the winemakers are very excited about the potential.”

And if you want to taste the results of earlier harvests, head to the Western Slope, where the state’s largest wine festival, the Colorado Mountain Wine Festival, will run September 17 through Sepember 20 in Palisade. The festivities include the September 19 Festival in the Park, which features dozens of Colorado wineries, a grape stomp, chef demonstrations and seminars. For complete information on that event and more on wine in this state, go to coloradowine.com.

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