Perched in the heart of Colorado’s Western Slope, Palisade is a destination that offers outdoor activities, a growing cultural scene, and year round outdoor activities. The town is a can’t-miss for any oenophile, with more than 20 wineries, vineyards, and cellars in close proximity. From hiking and mountain biking in the Grand Mesa National Forest to going on a winery tour via horse-drawn carriage, Palisade is ideal for your next getaway.
The Colorado Mountain Winefest is one of the premier wine events in Colorado, and will take place September 14-17 at Riverbend Park on the banks of the Colorado River. This year’s celebration features more than 55 Colorado wineries and hundreds of wines. Patrons can take part in food and wine pairings, featuring meals prepared by Colorado chefs and combined with the perfect glass of wine. The marketplace contains some great local vendors selling everything from handmade art to artisanal foods. Patrons can also listen to live music, attend art workshops, take a winery tour, and purchase fresh produce at a farmers market. All of the event’s proceeds goes to the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology, which provides education and research for Colorado wineries and wine makers. ResortsandLodges.com got the chance to interview Cassidee Shull, Executive Director for the event, to learn more about this wine sampling adventure.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
CS: Colorado Mountain Winefest began in 1992 in Palisade, CO. The first Winefest started with just five wineries and less than 500 attendees.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
CS: Now in its 26th year, The Festival in the Park attracts over 6,600 attendees from all over the world!
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
CS: Winefest is a 21+ event. We bring attendees from over 40 states and five different countries. The majority of our guests are either couples, groups, or women.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
CS: The “Festival in the Park” is the state’s largest wine festival. You’ll find a little bit of everything here including unlimited sips from over 55 Colorado wineries, live music, a grape stomp, chef demonstrations, food and wine pairings, and seminars. You can also take part in Wine Country Bus Tours showcasing the beautiful natural surroundings.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
CS: During The Festival in the Park, an attendee will receive a commemorative wine glass and wine tote. They’ll have access to unlimited sips from over 55 Colorado wineries. Inside of the park, attendees can have their very own “I Love Lucy” moment during the Grape Stomp, or enjoy thoughtfully prepared food and wine paired dishes during one of our many cooking demonstrations. Our Main Stage will feature live music all day and guests are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs and enjoy a bottle wine in the shade. We have several educational seminars provided throughout the day including How to Read a Wine Label and Sip and Swirl Like a Somm, among others. We also have many artisanal vendors offering a one-of-a-kind shopping experience and providing free storage so guests can pick up their wines and other purchases at the end of the day.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
CS: Colorado Mountain Winefest is the premier event in the Grand Valley. For the past two years, we have sold out of every event, bringing in attendees from over 40 states and five different countries!
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
CS: Mountain Winefest is the largest fundraiser for CAVE, the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology. CAVE is the only non-profit committed to providing research and education for the state’s wineries and grape growers. All event proceeds go back into the industry every January during a regional conference and trade show called VinCO. This multi-day and multi-track conference brings together industry leaders from all over the world focusing on viticulture, enology and business and marketing.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
CS: The Colorado Mountain Winefest is a destination vacation. It takes place in the middle of the harvest when the surroundings are a sight to behold. From Wine Country Bus Tours to Chocolate & Wine Tasting at the largest Wine Festival in the state, there is something for everyone to explore in Colorado Wine Country. Bringing people together from all over the world to share Colorado wine during a beautiful day in the park is something special.
For more information about the Colorado Mountain Winefest, please visit the event website.