As Fall sets in, the energy of the harvest season is in the air. It’s a beautiful time for transitioning menus and trying delicious Colorado wines for a taste of the state you may have yet to experience. We’re diving into a few of the best places to experience locally crafted wines in Denver and offering guidance on how and where to experience authentic vineyards and wineries around the state.
Blanchard Family Wines, or “BFW,” as the crew affectionately calls it, is a winery founded in Healdsburg in the heart of Sonoma by brothers James and Mark Blanchard. With deep roots in Colorado, James envisioned bringing the experience of wine tasting you can enjoy in California to Denver.
In 2018, Blanchard’s first Colorado location opened at the Dairy Block development in downtown Denver. Since then, the brand and community they have built have grown. You can now experience their wines downtown and in their new tasting rooms in Fort Collins and Golden. You can also visit the original winery in Healdsburg to meet James’ brother, Mark.
The winery cut its teeth crafting small-production California wines. Today, they offer their lineup of four distinct Colorado wines. The Blanchard Family Wines tasting room downtown provides the city’s most diverse selection of Colorado-made wines! Enjoy tasting flights of their wines and opportunities to sample wines from over a dozen other Colorado wineries under one roof. The menu is updated frequently, and there’s always something new and delicious.
Like many people having their eyes opened to the exciting changes in the Colorado wine scene, I got my introduction from the team at Carboy. As Colorado’s fastest-growing winery, the crew has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.
The flagship winery and tasting room opened in Littleton back in 2016. Over the years, the company added tasting rooms in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and Main Street in Breckenridge. In 2022, Carboy opened its new facility in Palisade at Mt. Garfield Estate. The vineyards at the base of the plateau are breathtaking, offering special events and tastings throughout the season. Wherever you are in Colorado, there are opportunities to enjoy this pioneering brand.
Whether you prefer reds, rosé, whites, or bubbles, Carboy’s winemaking team, led by Tyzok Wharton, has something for everyone. Check out my interview with Ty here!
If the mention of visiting Colorado wine country piqued your interest, the following two wineries should be high on your list of destinations. Plan your next trip with my Colorado Wine Country Weekend Getaway Guide.
Restoration has been family-owned and operated since 2012 when the Brauns purchased a vineyard plot and farmhouse in Palisade in desperate need of, well, restoration. Enamored by the natural beauty and community of the area, they brought the vines back to life, eventually releasing their wines.
Today, the grounds feature a sprawling lawn with sitting areas, yard games, and live music. Food trucks often pull up on the weekends, and one can easily spend an afternoon sipping on the wines and making new friends. My personal favorite is the Estate Reserve Barbera. It’s tart yet easy on the palate with bright red fruit flavors and baking spice.
Colorado’s wine industry wouldn’t be what it is without Sauvage Spectrum. The 100% estate winery started in 2019, initially operating primarily as a grower. They farmed the unpredictable landscape of the Western Slope, growing grapes for sale to neighboring wineries. As the team honed its skills, the business evolved. Today, they offer a diverse range of high desert, terroir-driven wines crafted with minimal intervention.
I especially enjoy the sparkling wines they produce and found something unique in the hopped pet-nat, which I view as a bridge of flavors both wine and beer drinkers can appreciate. The winery and tasting room in Palisade is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about Colorado grape growing! They also recently opened a second tasting room in downtown Ouray.
There’s nothing better than Palisade Peaches
If you visit Palisade, along with wine you’re likely bringing back a box of the delicious peaches at their peak this time of year. Try this simple, delicious recipe for Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Palisade Peaches with Burrata and Herbs.