For brothers James and Mark Blanchard, uncorking a bottle of wine is about much more than its aroma, flavor notes, or finish—it’s also about the connections formed when friends, loved ones, and even new acquaintances get together to share a bottle. “Wine is a beverage of history, religion, politics, and society,” says James, who co-owns Blanchard Family Wines with his brother. “It’s a beverage that should be shared and that has a unique power to bring people together, which is a truth that translates directly to the mission of our wine.”
This desire to foster meaningful relationships through wine is precisely why the brothers decided to open a second tasting room in LoDo’s Dairy Block. Originally founded in 2009 in Sonoma County, California, Blanchard Family Wines hopes to create a sophisticated, boutique Denver winery experience to complement their original Healdsburg tasting room. James has lived in Colorado for the past 15 years and will oversee day-to-day operations here, while Mark will continue to run their California location.
“We’re looking to bridge a connection between Sonoma wine country and the Rocky Mountain region,” James says. “The constant activity of people working, eating, and socializing at the Dairy Block felt like home to me and to our brand, and we’re excited to provide our guests with fine wine and wine culture in a fun, relaxed downtown Denver environment.”
The brothers are pouring eight wines at the Dairy Block tasting room, including a Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Carneros Sauvignon Blanc, and Mendocino Rosé. The wines will rotate based on the availability (the winery only produces 2,000 to 3,000 cases a year) and season; for now, you don’t want to miss the tropical-fruit-forward Viognier. The European-style wine café will offer vino on tap, in flights, by the glass, and in bottles and growlers to-go.
Visitors can also enjoy local Colorado charcuterie and cheeses from the likes of Il Porcellino, Elevation Charcuterie and Artisan Meats, and Fruition Farms, as well as small bites and desserts crafted by local sweet shops, including the Chocolate Therapist and Ruby Jean Patisserie. The space is casual and the vibe is lively: There are television screens behind the bar, pieces of chalk set out next to wood wine barrels to encourage doodling, plenty of community tables for groups, and it all opens out into the Dairy Block’s beautifully lit alley.
If you go: Blanchard Family Wines is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. 1855 Blake St., Ste. 120, 720-990-9092