Wine tasting isn’t just a Western Slope activity. Indulge your palate at these nine local sipping spots, all within a 45-minute drive of Denver.
Allis Ranch Winery, 901 Allis Ranch Rd., Sedalia
This seven-year-old Sedalia winery specializes in Rhone varietals (think big reds), and comes with a quirky bit of Colorado trivia: The building that houses the winery on this former ranch (Allis Ranch raised horses for the U.S. Calvary in the 19th century) came from a Sears catalog. Ordered in 1917, the house cost $3,000 and arrived by rail.
Augustina’s Winery, 4715 Broadway St. B3, Boulder
Augustina’s ethos is to make (inexpensive) wine built for backpacking and other outdoor adventures. In fact, owner Marianne Walter christened her Cab Franc the Boulder Backpacking Wine ($16).
BookCliff Vineyards and Boulder Creek Winery, 1501 Lee Hill Rd. #17, Boulder; 6440 Odell Place, Boulder
Started by a civil engineer and a computer science engineer in 1999, BookCliff Vineyards now grows 14 different varietals on 37 acres near Palisade. But you can sample some of BookCliff’s award-winning wines (the Reserve Cab Franc is a regular medal-collector) at the North Boulder tasting room, open Thursday through Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. While you’re out there, make sure to stop in another Old World aficionado, the 11-year-old Boulder Creek Winery, whose Bordeaux-style reds regularly rack up awards from the likes of the American Wine Society and Taster’s Guild International.
Creekside Cellars, 28036 Highway 74, Evergreen
Born in 1996, Creekside is one of the Front Range’s oldest wineries—and thanks to its expansive deck overlooking Bear Creek, it’s also one of its prettiest. Pair any one of these Old World wines (the 2010 Creekside Robusto, 2012 Creekside Gewurztraminer, 2009 Creekside Syrah, and 2010 Creekside Cabernet Franc have all taken home medals from the San Francisco International Wine Competition) with warm Brie and crostini or stuffed artichoke bottoms, and settle in for a perfectly pleasant afternoon.
Infinite Monkey Theorem, 3200 Larimer St.
Come for the raucous RiNo scene (especially on First Fridays), and stay for the wine. (IMT landed Colorado’s first 88-point wine from Wine Spectator in 2008, its inaugural year, with its 100th Monkey red blend.) The party starts at 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and at 2 p.m. on the weekends.
Settembre Cellars, 1501 Lee Hill Dr., #16, Boulder
Vino with a side of vegetables? You bet. Seven-year-old Settembre Cellars partners with 63rd St. Farm to create a Community Wine Share that includes a bottle of wine with a fruit and veg at your Thursday night pick-up (sign up for weekly, biweekly, or monthly programs). Can’t make it to the farm that week? If you live in Boulder, Settembre will deliver your bottle(s) by bike, of course.
Silver Vines Winery, 7509 Grandview Ave., Arvada
This cozy three-year-old winery—run by brothers Danny and Jeff Chayer—in cute Olde Town Arvada boasts 10 different varietals and live music every Friday and Saturday night. (You can still sneak in sips the rest of the week, too, beginning at 11 a.m.)
Wild Women Wine, 660 Champa St.
The 16th Street Mall’s Wild Women Wine lets you move beyond the passive sipping experience. Their "design-a-wine” program lets you work with a master vintner to blend your own batch (30 bottles) of vino.
—Image courtesy Shutterstock
Follow senior editor Kasey Cordell on Twitter @KaseyCordell.