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Wine is always a welcome surprise, especially around the holidays. But you don’t have to settle for just any 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.
Bottles from the Governor’s Cup Collection
The governor himself doesn’t choose the best Colorado wines of the year, but he does give his stamp of approval to the winners of the prestigious Colorado Governor’s Cup Winemaking Competition. This year, 48 local wineries submitted 286 different bottles to a panel of 15 savvy judges, who narrowed down the list to just 12 winning wines. Show your friends and family that you know good vino by gifting them a bottle (or several) from the collection, like Sauvage Spectrum’s 2022 Teroldego ($38) or Restoration Vineyards’ 2022 Sauvignon Blanc ($36). Available online and at the wineries
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Wine That Gives Back
‘Tis the season of giving, so opt for wines that contribute to a good cause. This winter, the Infinite Monkey Theorem, a woman-owned winery in Denver, is donating a portion of its sales to two national nonprofits—Girls Inc. and Project Glimmer—that support school-age girls and nonbinary students. Contribute to IMT’s efforts by buying a four-pack of canned rosé ($18, with 20 percent of proceeds going to Girls Inc.) or a bottle of the 2021 Malbec ($30, with 20 percent of proceeds benefiting Project Glimmer). Available online and at the Infinite Monkey Theorem (3200 Larimer St.)
Tickets to a Wine Festival
Experiences can make the most rewarding gifts. To that end, spoil your loved ones by buying them tickets to a Colorado wine festival (even better if you can join them!). Taste of Vail (April 3–6, 2024), which has been running for more than 30 years among the picturesque peaks of the Gore Range, is a road-trip-worthy festival brimming with upbeat tastings, informative seminars, cozy winemaker dinners, and other wine-centric events. Tickets to individual events start at $95; full festival passes start at $515 through January 1.
Other options later in the year include: the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (June), Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival (June), Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival (July), Vail Wine Classic (August), Estes Park Wine Festival (August), Breckenridge Wine Classic (August), Colorado Mountain Winefest (September), and Snowmass Wine Festival (September). Available online
Custom Wine Blend
Take your giftee to Bigsby’s Folly in Denver ($99 per person), Continental Divide Winery in Breckenridge ($110 per person), or the Hillside Vineyard in Fort Collins ($50–$75 per person), where you can taste various single-varietal wines together, then decide which ones—and how much of each—you want to marry together in personalized blends. Not only will you be making wine you can take home and enjoy, but you’re almost guaranteed to learn something new in the process. Book online
Alpine Wine Design Decor
Many wine styles mature in oak barrels, soaking up the wood’s flavors and aromas. But what happens to those barrels once the wine goes to bottle? Some are getting a second life as art and furniture thanks to Brad Evans, the artist and owner behind Alpine Wine Design. His Lakewood-based team cleverly transforms wine barrels and crates into coat racks ($90), dartboards ($275), pet feeder stations (starting at $150), cabinets (starting at $700), vanities (starting at $1,499), stools (starting at $275), and a host of other beautiful and functional pieces. If you don’t see something your giftee will love, Evans can also customize a one-of-a-kind design. Available online
La Bouche Wine Club Membership
A wine club membership—where a winery or wine bar sends expert-selected bottles every month or quarter—is the perfect gift for a loved one who loves wine but not shopping for it. Among our favorites is La Bouche’s wine club (from $75 per month). The City Park West wine bar curates two unique bottles each month that represent a specific grape variety or region of France or the United States. You can add fun upgrades, too, like an additional sommelier’s pick or an accompanying box of meats, cheeses, and pastries from the Denver eatery’s kitchen. Your recipient will also get perks like La Bouche merch and monthly invites to wine tastings. Available online and at La Bouche (1100 E. 17th Ave.)
Date Night at Noble Riot
Instead of a physical present, send a calendar invite for an evening at Noble Riot, the hip, unpretentious, graffiti-clad RiNo wine bar. Here, the knowledgeable team led by Troy Bowen takes all the guesswork and stress out of what to order. Choose a few bites off the menu (we highly recommend a bucket of fried chicken), then let the Noble Riot pros select a bottle or two for you to enjoy together.
If your schedules are too busy to align for a date night, consider Noble Riot’s Flight Club community membership program ($69 per month), which includes casual tasting sessions, discounted wine classes, and other perks. The bar also offers a more traditional wine club that gets your loved a curated selection of three wines per month for $89. For a more experiential gift, take them to one of Noble Riot’s many classes and workshops. 1336 27th St.
Private Cellar Dinner
For a romantic splurge, treat your partner to a private cellar dinner at Aspen’s luxurious Little Nell hotel (rates start at $500 per person). Consult with the hospitality team ahead of time to create a customized menu with wine pairings, which you’ll enjoy in the subterranean wine cellar. Pro tip: If you’re visiting during ski season, make time for a visit to the Wine Bar at the Little Nell, where you can sit by a roaring fire while sipping an après-ski glass of wine and listening to DJ-spun vinyl records. 675 E. Durant Ave., Aspen
Trip to Wine Country
You don’t need to spring for flights to France or Napa, California, to whisk your favorite people away on an indulgent wine-centric trip. 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, 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 Vineyards, Carboy Winery, and Colterris Winery. 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 Foodbar.
For a more off-the-beaten-path excursion, wow your friends with a trip to the Paonia area, home to Colorado’s lesser-known wine region, the West Elks AVA. Take in the panoramic views from the Storm Cellar, situated high on a hillside at 5,880 feet, or immerse in art while sipping a glass at Azura Cellars and its accompanying gallery. When you need a break from all the vino, commune with goats at Western Culture Farmstead & Creamery (and sample the rich cheeses David and Suanne Miller produce from the animals’ milk), or savor Colorado-grown peaches, apples, and other succulent produce at spots like Big B’s and Orchard Valley Farms & Market.