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The Colorado Mountain Winefest is held in Palisade every September and is one of the region’s premier events. The festival coincides with the annual grape harvest. It’s the busiest time of year for wineries, but it’s also when Grand Junction enjoys some of its best weather. So the winemakers, vineyard managers, grape pickers and chateau lords all work a little harder to get the harvest in and serve wine to thousands of people over the festive weekend.
Colorado Mountain Winefest’s big event is the Festival in the Park held at Riverbend Park in Palisade. Virtually every winery in Colorado attends and pours samples of their product. There are also food vendors, arts, crafts and live music. Other events over the weekend include winemaker dinners, seminars, and bicycle tours of the vineyards.
Twenty-five years ago, calling the Grand Junction "wine country" was unheard of. It was not until 1978 that the wine industry was resurrected in Colorado. Beginning with a winery called Colorado Mountain Vineyards (now known as Colorado Cellars), the wineries quickly grew to 9 by 1990. Today there are over 140 wineries in Colorado and in recent years, Grand Junction has proven to be a contender when it comes to producing award-winning bottles of wine.
It wasn't long until fine dining, lodging and attractions with wine themes developed. Vineyards began hosting tours and wineries began opening their doors for wine tastings and gourmet pairings. Colorado Mountain Winefest was created 25 years ago with matching grants from the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau and the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board to bring wineries together and to share these flavors of Colorado with attendees from across the state. These two organizations are still instrumental partners to this day and Winefest would not be where it is without their dedication and vision. "It is inspiring to see how much this event and industry has grown in the past quarter-century," says CAVE Executive Director, Cassidee Shull, "We are seeing attendees travel from all over the world to experience Mountain Winefest and Colorado wine - and it is simply amazing."
This year, Winefest will host several events, including Wine, Dine & Paint, Scenic Bus Tours across premium wine regions, gourmet cider pairings, VIP wine tasting and a SOMM screening, Chocolate & Wine Tastings, a Grape Growing Seminar, Farmer's Market and The Festival in the Park. Several events have already sold out and festival organizers do not guarantee tickets for any event to be available at the door, so make sure to purchase your tickets online at www.ColoradoWinefest.com.
The Colorado Mountain Winefest is coordinated and marketed by the non-profit organization, the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE). This member based non-profit promotes the interests of Colorado grape growers and wineries in political matters, provides a forum for exchange of ideas, and disseminates current information pertaining to optimum winemaking and agriculture practices for vineyards of Colorado. CAVE is the only non-profit for the wine and grape growing industry in Colorado.