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Sweet Colorado Wine for a (Sweeter) Valentine’s


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Colorado gets a lot of acclaim as a craft beer paradise, but if a recent study commissioned by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board is any proof, we’re quickly becoming a hotbed for local vineyards and wineries. The study by CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics concludes that Colorado’s wine industry’s economic contribution has more than tripled to a staggering $144 million since a similar study was conducted in 2005.
On top of that, the state’s wine industry has experienced a 27-percent growth in volume and 65-percent growth in estimated sales over the last five years. With over half of the state’s 108 wineries located in the Front Range, and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there’s no better time to imbibe locally.

Bookcliff Vineyards
Talk about a love affair with wine. North Boulder’s Bookcliff Vineyards was originally established in 1994 when husband and wife owners, John Garlich and Ulla Merz, were traveling through Palisade, Colorado on vacation. After taking in the gorgeous scenery and attending a regional wine festival, the two of them decided to acquire some land of their own in 1995, purchasing ten acres of a peach orchard where they planted several varieties of grapes in the spring of 1996.
It just so happens that Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, and if you’re able, try to make a full day of it by starting with a bottle of Bookcliff’s Friday’s Folly White. With flavors of melons and apple, this winwould pair perfectly with a shared lunch plate of prosciutto and cheeses. Located at 1501 Lee Hill Road in Boulder.

Boulder Creek Winery
Another match made in winemaking heaven, this beautiful Gunbarrel winery was established in 2003 by the husband and wife team of Mike and Jackie Thompson. Mike previously worked as a wine steward in the Northeast; and Jackie—who received a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science with a focus in wine grapes (yes, that exists)—serves in the role of principal winemaker.
While vineyards are scattered throughout Colorado, growing at elevations of 4,500 feet or higher, the majority are located on the Western Slope. Their Cab Franc garnered a score of 87 from Wine Spectator, and carries notes of plum and black pepper—two well-noted aphrodisiacs, so there’s no telling where the night might lead. Located at 6440 Odell Place in Boulder.

Augustina’s Winery
Owner and winemaker Marianne “Gussie” Walter proudly proclaims her distinction as the only one-woman operation in the state—no small feat considering she’s been doing it since 1997.
Her dedication to the wine industry shines through in her final product: Distinct wines that, as she says, go hand-in-hand with “backpacking adventures, raucous poker parties, family barbeques, good mystery novels, and gingersnaps.”
Her WineChick line featuring, among others, a WineChick Cherry (made with Colorado-grown Montmorency cherries) is said to pair well with macadamia nut pancakes. February 15th breakfast in bed, anyone? Located at 4715 N. Broadway Street in Boulder.

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