The Winery: Spero Winery
The People: Husband-and-wife team Clyde and June Spero own and operate this Denver-based, boutique winery. Clyde has been making wine his entire life, having learned the craft from his father, Gaetano, who emigrated from southern Italy at age 13. While working in southern Colorado’s coal mines, Gaetano saved enough money to purchase his own farm near Denver. There, he taught Clyde his ancestors’ longstanding winemaking tradition. After June inherited a plot of land in the same area in 1996, the couple started growing grapes and soon thereafter opened Spero Winery.
The Space: While the exterior is purely industrial, the interior has the look and feel of walking into your Italian aunt’s dining room. Framed family photos and wine competition prints adorn the walls above an eclectic assortment of hutches and colorfully tiled side tables overflowing with Italian cookbooks and wine paraphernalia. Four large tables draped with red-and-white gingham tablecloths and plastic grape centerpieces provide a cozy place to sit while you study the extensive wine list beneath speakers piping in rousing Italian music.
The Grapes: About 85 percent of Spero’s grapes are sourced from Colorado, including Grand Junction, Palisade, and Pueblo. The rest come from California, including a vineyard in Lodi owned by June’s cousin.
The Wine: Clyde is best known for his full-bodied reds, but Spero also offers an extensive selection of whites, plus four sweet dessert wines. Standbys include the Chardonnay, whose distinctive golden color is produced by fermenting grapes “on the husks” (with their skins); the Cayuga White, which has a pronounced apple flavor; and the least-sweet white, the Dry Muscat.
Buzzed Trivia: Spero Winery’s tagline comes from Clyde’s Uncle Ventuda, whom Clyde first met in Italy in 1993. At the ripe age of 88, Uncle Ventuda would down his glass of wine in one go and proclaim, “Vino è Buono” (Wine is good!). The colorful label, which features Clyde’s father raising his glass among a lush, green vineyard backed by snow-capped peaks, was designed by Francis Balistreri, another of June’s cousins.
Sample This: Spero offers free tastings every Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. These are lively, family affairs; relaxed, chattering locals of all ages crowd the tables and bar in the casual tasting room, where Clyde and June serve free antipasti to help counteract their generous pours. Be sure to sample some of their palate-pleasing reds, including the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, winner of a bronze medal at the 2013 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition; the 2008 Syrah, which has earned accolades at several competitions; and the peppery 2009 Sangiovese, made from Italy’s most famous grape.
Take Home: In addition to your favorite bottles, take home one of Clyde’s dessert wines to share with friends after the evening meal. Although listed as a red, the velvety smooth Raspberry Chancellor is really more of a dessert wine, with a delightful fruity finish.
Visit: Spero’s tasting room is located at 3316 W. 64th Ave.; 720-519-1506