Local wineries to join in celebration of wine tourism

Doug Caskey

Wineries in the Grand Valley and elsewhere in Western Colorado plan to participate in a new event celebrating wine tourism.

“Colorado has more than 100 boutique, family owned wineries,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. “Most of our wineries are relatively unknown, and Wine Tourism Day is a good way to introduce yourself to your local wineries.” 

An agency of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board promotes the development of grape growers and vintners in the state.

The first-ever Wine Tourism Day in North America is scheduled for May 11. Wineries as well as hotels, restaurants and other businesses plan a variety of events.

Meadery of the Rockies, St. Kathryn Cellars and Talon Winery in Palisade will offer special tastings and tours to celebrate Wine Tourism Day. So will Whitewater Hill Vineyards in Grand Junction; Liliputian Winery, Mesa Winds Winery and Leroux Creek Vineyards in Hotchkiss; Stone Cottage Cellars in Paonia; and Bookcliff Vineyards in Boulder.

Events will range from unique wine and cheese pairings to a wine and dine weekend getaway. 

The idea for a Wine Tourism Day comes from Europe, where the European Day of Wine Tourism has been ongoing since 2009.

Attendees of the 2012 Wine Tourism Conference, an annual gathering of the industry’s leaders, discussed bringing the concept to North America. 

“There are now over 7,500 wineries in 205 American viticultural areas, 38 authorized wine appellations in Canada and another 40 appellations in Mexico,” said Allan Wright, president of Zephyr Adventures, a wine tour company organizing Wine Tourism Day. “Most of these wine regions and many of these wineries are dependent on visitors who sleep in hotel beds, eat in restaurants and buy wine from cellar doors. Wine tourism is very important to the success of many local economies, and is a subject worth commemorating.” 

For more information and to find a list of events on Wine Tourism Day, visit www.coloradowine.com or www.winetourismday.com.