When the phone call came in requesting our presence at a Wine Festival, I assure you the response was a rather quick “Sure”. This was back in August and the call was from our daughter. She knew her dad and I were running around Colorado’s western slope and would be in the general vicinity for the festival. She does follow my blog after all…. she’s such a good daughter!
Palisade, Colorado is located on Colorado’s western slope and is known for its vineyards and orchards. This small Colorado town with a population of less than 3,000 sits at an elevation of 4,700 feet. Colorado’s abundant sunshine, warm days, cool nights, and low humidity provide the perfect environment for growing a variety of wine grapes, as well as peaches, cherries, apricots, and apples. A recent addition to the area are Lavender fields.
The town of Palisade attracts visitors from around the state to attend their numerous festivals. The two most popular festivals are the Peach Festival in August and the Colorado Mountain Winefest in September. Our daughter had attended the Winefest the year before and was rather eager for another visit. Since Al and I would be leaving Colorado for the winter, daughter wanted one more visit with her mom and dad before our departure. And the Colorado Mountain Winefest was the perfect venue for a send off.
We once again stayed at the James Robb State Park in Fruita and set up ‘the guest room’ for our daughter and her girlfriend.
Saturday, September 21st, daughter and friend left Denver a little after 5 in the morning and arrived at my brother’s home in Grand Junction around 9:30 a.m. just in time for sister-in-law to make a huge breakfast for everyone before us gals headed over to the festival.
By 11:00 a.m. sister-in-law, Tasha, Ashton, and myself are busy sampling some fine Colorado wines…….well not all of us. It just so happens, I am the designated driver and as such, purchased a ‘non-drinking’ ticket 😦 That said, I couldn’t say no to my daughter the occasional time or two when she exuberantly commented, “Here mom, you just have to try this one”. “Ok, if you insist”.
The Colorado Mountain Winefest is a four-day event with Saturday being the big day of wine tasting. Thursday kicks off the event with various restaurants offering ‘Food & Wine Pairings’. Visitors can sign up for activities like Float Trips, Paddle Boarding, or Bike Tours. Friday evening consists of different events held at various Palisade locations that include; Winefest Demo & Dinner, Chocolate & Wine Tasting, and a Wine & Glass Experience. Sunday wraps up the event with a Tour of the Wineries.
Since Ashton and Tasha weren’t able to take time off work, we only attended Saturday’s event; the major wine tasting venue. Our tickets were purchased in advance on-line. Upon check-in, each guest is given a tote with a commemorative glass to be used for the tasting. Those of us non-drinkers were given the same tote but with a commemorative water bottle ….. “Oh, joy….aren’t I special?”
The tote is really cute and is sectioned off to easily carry six bottles of wine, which the three
winos drinkers took full advantage of.
In addition to the almost fifty different wineries offering samples were; various seminars, live music, crafters, chef demos, grape stomp, and ice carving. There was plenty to keep four gals entertained for better part of the day.
The festival is held in a beautiful park setting with mature trees, offering shade beneath a gorgeous Colorado blue sky. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, small coolers, and a corkscrew for some mid-day picnic relaxation. There are numerous food vendors which we counted on for sustenance. Big mistake, as lines were extremely long. In retrospect, I wish we had packed a picnic lunch. Note for next year!
However, we didn’t go wrong in our orange sherbet purchase….. as noted by the above three ladies devouring. As our afternoon was winding down, this cool little treat was the perfect way to end our already perfect day.
I’ll admit, the one thing that stood out the most to me, actually impressed me, was the genuine interest Ashton and Tasha took in the wine. Here I thought it was all about the drinking and getting a buzz. Boy, was I wrong and I was duly chastised for thinking that, “Really mother, I am no longer in college”….as if that makes a difference.
At each vendor the gals asked questions, viewed color, swirled glass, took sips, swirled in mouth, then slowly swallowed. Notice I did not say they spit. They weren’t about to spit out perfectly good wine, whether they liked it or not. After all, it has only been a year and a half since graduation.
After tasting, it was either a thumbs up or thumbs down. They knew exactly what they liked and what they didn’t. Their purchases were well analyzed and thought out. Wow….when did my little girl turn into such a wine connoisseur?
Wine tasting and venue are over, but the day is not…..let’s go visit an Alpaca farm…..