Slowly Savoring Colorado Wines

Growing up in the Columbia River Valley of Washington state, my parents tended beautiful flower & vegetable gardens while my dad foraged and made fruit based wines. Stopping by a winery for a picnic on our drive back from camping or other adventures was so common I didn’t realize this wasn’t the norm until I traveled with friends’ families. When I turned 21, my parents were delighted to introduce me to all of their favorite wineries and sitting to have a glass of wine over a long chat on their back porch is still a joy to share with each of them. 

Eventually moving to the Central Coast of California, I had friends and roommates who worked at wineries, took me to events, invited me to promote my personal chef business at their wineries, and we always had something divine to sip & to toast. 

Moving to Colorado was the first time that I felt I didn’t live in wine country, but I dove into the microbrew scene. Around 2010, friends told me and my new husband about their recent Western Slope trip and since we were still without kids, we headed out the next weekend to see what their fuss was all about. On that trip, I fell in love with Palisade, the farm stands, and the surrounding areas especially as it reminded me of my childhood home town. But, then I found out, much to my chagrin, I had turned into a bit of a wine snob. Certainly there were interesting wines to try and we did our best to purchase the wines that we enjoyed, it just wasn’t the same experience compared to the places I had moved from. 

Fast forward six years, my young family decided to eat only local food for an entire year. We took a food adventure camping trip in Paonia and stopped by a couple of wineries to stock up for our local food year. Similar to my childhood, the kids tagged along and sipped on juices while coloring in the window sills of wineries that sat on the beautiful cliffs in the Grand Valley. We were slowly starting to find wines that reminded me of home. 

Of course, an amazing food adventure camping trip surely must happen on repeat and it must be shared. It has now become an annual tradition as we bring friends along to pick fruit in orchards, sip cider, and go wine tasting. While the campground is a blast, my dear friends and I try to escape when possible to taste wines up in the cliffs without our kids to share good stories and breathtaking views.

Lilly & friends at Azura Cellars 

For last year’s camping trip, the highlight was meeting up with Jim Brett of Slow Food Western Slope and his wife Elaine to learn more about what is actually happening in the Hotchkiss & Paonia area and to reconcile all that I have been missing. My husband and I tasted our way through one lovely sip after another and met passionate wine makers throughout. 

Meeting with Jim, I knew that after having such a disappointing wine tasting experience nearly 15 years ago and hearing what people sometimes say disparagingly about wines from our state, that not only was the Colorado wine industry growing up, but we needed some serious direction to sort through and find the most delicious, interesting wines being made here. I reached out to Logan Silbert of Few & Far Wines and we started dreaming and scheming up a way to bring the Grand Valley and West Elks Avas closer to Denver metro wine drinkers. 

The result is our latest FED Workshop, where we are gathering you, Logan Silbert, and six of his favorite wineries together to taste our way through what is actually happening in the Colorado wine world. We know not everyone can hop across the valley to visit the wineries in person, so we are bringing the best of Colorado wines to you. 

You simply have to join us on March 23rd for our Colorado Wine Tasting FED workshop! The wineries pouring include Storm Cellars, Jack Rabbit Hill, Aquila Cellars, Ordinary Fellow, Buckle Family, Jack Rabbit Hill Farms, and Bookcliff Vineyards. This is your unique opportunity to find a wine you love from Colorado and to support seeing this burgeoning industry flourish into absolute deliciousness. Come choose your next favorite wine! 



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