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The Bear & the Herb, a wine-inspired tipple at last year's Colorado Cocktail Competition

Don’t Miss: Colorado Wine Week (June 1–7)

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Colorado Wine Week is a celebration of the state’s burgeoning industry, but you won’t find stuffy aficionados sticking their noses into glasses and speaking of hay, iron, and dark fruit. No, this festival is anything but snooty. The Colorado Association of Viticulture and Enology has gone to great lengths to make sure the bash is approachable and fun.

Take the Colorado Cocktail Competition, which takes place on Wednesday at Green Russell from 4:30 to 7 p.m. This contest requires top bartenders to create cocktails using local wine both as inspiration and as an ingredient. Some of the combinations are downright excellent (I still think of the Bear & The Herb cocktail, pictured, from last year’s competition. It didn’t win, but it was a beautiful and easy-drinking). A $15 ticket nabs you tastes of the wine-inspired cocktails—and a front row seat to see if bartender Joe Hines (of the soon-to-open Terminal Bar at Union Station) will defend his title.

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The festival also includes the Governor’s Cup Wine Mixer on Thursday, June 6, and the Colorado Urban Winefest on Saturday, June 7, with tastings, demos, and seminars. Find out more about these events here.

Bonus: All week long, dozens of restaurants are partaking in Sips & Snacks, a special offering of Colorado wines paired with small plates for $20 or less.

Follow food editor Amanda M. Faison on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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