If you're itching to get a taste of the kinds of wine Colorado has to offer, one of the best ways is to attend one of the state's wine festivals. Aside from other wine festivals, such as Denver's International Wine Festival, Colorado has eight annual wine festivals, held between May and September, that are meant specifically to feature the wine produced in the state.
The season kicks off with A Taste of Pearl in Boulder, where shops in and around Pearl Street Mall offer samples of food from the city's best restaurants, in addition to wine samples from many of Colorado's best wineries. Next comes Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival in June, located about 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) west of Colorado Springs with tastings from more than 20 Colorado wineries.
Winefest Denver, also in June, is held at the Shops at Northfield Stapleton. Proceeds go to the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology (CAVE), a nonprofit trade organization of grape growers and winemakers of Colorado. Ticketed events spanning five days include a presentation of wine awards at the Governor's residence, a VIP dinner with Colorado wines and an afternoon of wine tasting and seminars. Later, in July, the Castle Rock Winefest, located about half an hour south of Denver, features tastings from 25 Colorado wineries, in addition to seminars, food and entertainment.
In Evergreen, about half an hour west of Denver, the Bootstraps Western Winefest takes place in August. Winemaker dinners at local restaurants are held immediately before the festival itself, which features wine tasting and live music. Proceeds from the event help fund college scholarships and interest-free loans for local high school students. Also in August is the Mesa Verde Country Food, Wine and Art Festival, held in Cortez in Southwest Colorado. The event includes work by local artists, food from local producers and restaurants, and wine tastings from Colorado wineries.
And lastly, closing out the season in style, is the Annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, the state's biggest wine festival. Held in September in Palisade, Colo., this four-day wine festival features not only wine tastings, but winery tours, a grape stomp, culinary demonstrations, a golf event, a bike tour and more. No wonder it attracts thousands of attendees. This festival is also a fundraiser for CAVE.