In the unassuming, sunlit interior of a remodeled bank building across from the Streets at SouthGlenn, you’ll meet some of Colorado’s friendliest wine people. You’ll also find good food and wine at Waters Edge Winery & Bistro.
When you walk in the door, you’ll likely meet "wine slinger" Mike Knutzon (at least until he heads off to grad school). An Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Knutzon grew up drinking wine with his grandmother, who he says told him that “wine is good for the blood.” His enthusiasm for Waters Edge wine is surpassed only by that of Jennifer Hulan, who opened the winery three years ago with her husband, Chad. Chef Demetrius Clift is mostly behind the scenes whipping up something delicious inside the former bank vault, now a kitchen. I recommend the spicy hummus and the three-cheese, truffle and mushroom flatbread, a combo that's self-explanatory in its appeal.
This suburban gem of a winery is just the place for Friday lunch and a glass of wine. I went with the five-wine sampler: Diver Down, a refreshing pinot blanc; Trek, an Argentinian malbec with a smoky, berry-rich flavor; Rainier, a dry riesling with a nice floral bouquet; the pomegranate zinfandel, a summery poolside wine; and my favorite, Bombastic, a blend of cabernet, zinfandel and merlot. This delicious, jammy red wine is served with a small Reese’s peanut butter cup, which creates a momentary sensation of eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Jennifer discovered the delectable combination one night after work while sipping a glass of Bombastic and popping a Reese’s. It’s now a favorite wine pairing among the regulars at Waters Edge. If you buy a bottle of wine (like I did), the $6 tasting fee is waved.
In addition to food and drink, Waters Edge offers some fun opportunities for patrons. The winery will print custom labels for their wines for birthdays and special events; customers can also "adopt" a batch of 29 bottles and participate in the bottling experience using custom labels, all as part of the "personal vintage" program.
So where’s the water? The winery’s name suggests at least a nearby creek. As it turns out, Waters Edge was originally slated to be built on the Platte River; the location didn’t work out, but the name stuck. Chad and Jennifer grew up near water in California and Michigan, respectively; Chad served on a Navy sub, and both love to dive. Like many of Colorado’s wine makers, the Hulans came to wine as a second career.
Running a suburban winery isn’t easy, but the “worst day here is better than the best day in corporate America,” says Jen.
Waters Edge Winery & Bistro is located at 2101 East Arapahoe Road in Centennial and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 1 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. Private parties can book the winery on Mondays. Call 720-381-6663 or visit the winery's website for more information.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.