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Wine is always a welcome surprise, especially around the holidays. But don’t just settle for a random bottle from the liquor store. Instead, consider these wine-focused gifts from across the Centennial State for the lovers of reds, whites, and rosés in your life.
Postino Wine Cult Membership
Why stop at just one gift when you can keep the merriment going into 2023? With its colorful and delicious bruschettas and impressive mid-day happy hour deals at soon-to-be five Colorado locations (a Boulder outpost is slated to open early next year), Postino has already won over the hearts of many wine lovers. But now, your friends and family can bring some of the eatery’s awesomeness home with them via a Postino Wine Cult membership.
Choose between a $60 quarterly membership or a $220 annual membership, which gets your recipient a box of four curated wines every three months, plus a $50 Postino credit for signing up, 20 percent off to-go bottles from Postino’s collection, and other members-only offers and perks. And since no one likes to drink alone—especially wine—this is likely a gift you’ll be able to enjoy all year long, too.
Tickets to a Wine Festival
Experiences can be the most rewarding gifts. To that end, spoil your loved ones by buying them tickets to a Colorado wine festival (made even better if you can join them!). Taste of Vail, which has been running for more than 30 years among the picturesque peaks of the Gore Range, is an ideal, road trip-worthy festival, brimming with upbeat tastings, informative seminars, cozy winemaker dinners, and other wine-centric events. And since it takes place in early April, your group can easily get in some spring skiing runs at Vail Ski Resort and spa treatments at the Sonnenalp while you’re at it.
Other good options include: the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade, Breckenridge Wine Classic, Manitou Springs Wine Festival, Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival, Vail Wine Classic, Estes Park Wine Festival, Snowmass Wine Festival, and Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
Bottles from the Governor’s Cup Collection
The governor himself doesn’t decide on the best Colorado wines of the year, but he does give his stamp of approval to the winners of the prestigious annual competition known as the Governor’s Cup. This year, 38 local wineries submitted 279 different bottles to a panel of 19 savvy judges, which included chefs, beverage directors, sommeliers, writers, and other wine experts from across the nation.
Those individuals narrowed down the list to just 12 Colorado wines—the best of the best for 2022. Show your friends and family that you know good wine by gifting them a bottle (or several) from the collection. The full list is available online, but a few examples include: Carboy Winery’s 2020 Teroldego (which won best in show in 2021 and 2022), Peachfork Orchards and Vineyard’s 2021 Chambourcin, and the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey’s 2019 Syrah.
Trip to Wine Country
You don’t need to spring for flights to France or Napa to whisk your favorite people away on an indulgent weekend trip with access to lots of incredible wine. Colorado has several destination-worthy wine regions worth exploring.
Head to the Western Slope for a long weekend in the Grand Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), home to dozens of wineries and tasting rooms, each with its own personality and flair. Book a room at Spoke and Vine in Palisade, then ride one of the motel’s cruiser bikes or hail a pedicab to explore nearby wineries like Sauvage Spectrum, the Ordinary Fellow, BookCliff, Carboy, Plum Creek, and Colterris. Or, for more of a collegiate vibe, make Grand Junction’s Hotel Maverick (located on the campus of Colorado Mesa University) your home base and treat yourself to wine and food pairings at top restaurants like 626 On Rood and Bin 707.
Or, wow your friends by taking them to Colorado’s lesser-known wine region, the West Elks AVA, in and around Paonia and Hotchkiss. Take in the sweeping panoramic views from Storm Cellar Winery and Vineyard, situated high on a hillside at 5,880 feet, or immerse yourself in art while sipping wine at Azura Cellars & Gallery. And when you need a break from wine, commune with goats at Western Culture Farmstead and Creamery (and sample the rich cheeses David and Suanne Miller produce from their milk), or savor Colorado-grown peaches, apples, and other succulent produce at spots like Big B’s and Orchard Valley Farms.
Date Night at Noble Riot
Instead of a gift, send a calendar invite for an evening at Noble Riot, the hip, unpretentious, graffiti-clad wine bar in RiNo. Here, the knowledgeable team—led by Scott and Nicole Mattson, as well as Troy Bowen—takes all the guesswork and stress out of what to order. Opt for a few bites off the menu (we highly recommend a bucket of fried chicken), then tell the Noble Riot pros about what kind of mood you’re in, why you’re visiting, and the flavors you usually gravitate toward. Let them select a bottle or two for the table—you won’t be disappointed.
If your schedules are too busy to align for a date night, Noble Riot also has several other great gifting options. Their $69/month Flight Club community membership program includes casual, social tasting sessions, discounted wine classes, and other perks. They also offer a more traditional wine club that will get your friend or loved one a curated selection of three wines per month for $89.
Custom Wine Blend
Take your recipient to Continental Divide Winery in Breckenridge or the Hillside Vineyard in Fort Collins, where together you can taste different single-varietal wines, then decide which ones—and how much of each—you want to marry together in your personalized blends. Not only will you have wine to take home, but you’re almost guaranteed to learn something new in the process.
Furniture and Art
Many wine styles mature in barrels, soaking up subtle but significant oaky flavors and aromas. But what happens to all those barrels once the wine goes into bottles? Some are getting a second life as art and furniture, thanks to Brad Evans, the artist and owner behind Alpine Wine Design. This Lakewood-based company cleverly transforms wine barrels and crates into coat racks, dartboards, pet feeder stations, cabinets, vanities, stools, and a host of other beautiful and functional pieces. If you don’t see something you think you love, Evans can also make a one-of-a-kind custom design for you.
Private Cellar Dinner
For an ultra-romantic splurge, treat your partner to a private wine tasting or cellar dinner at Aspen’s iconic Little Nell hotel. It’s not cheap (rates start at $3000 per person for tastings and $500 per person for dinners), but if your budget allows, it’s sure to be a memorable experience. Consult with the hospitality team ahead of time to create a customized dinner menu with wine pairings, then let the Nell’s pros take care of everything else. When you arrive, you’ll be whisked down to the subterranean wine cellar for a cozy, personalized experience.
And if you’ll be staying for a few days, book a blind tasting at the Little Nell’s Wine Bar, which opened in December 2020. Here, a wine expert can teach you how to identify wines purely by sight, smell, and taste, just like a sommelier.