Vintage event attracts record crowds

An annual Grand Valley festival showcasing the Colorado wine industry continues to attract records crowds.

“The continued support of this festival from residents nearby and visitors from all over amazes me,” said Cassidee Shull, executive director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology. The nonprofit trade group of wineries and winegrape growers stages the Colorado Mountain Winefest as a fund-raiser.

According to the association, an estimated 5,950 visitors attended the Festival in the Park at Riverbend Park in Palisade, the main event of the Winefest. That’s a record for the 23-year-old event in edging the previous mark of 5,846 set in 2013.

Including other events held as part of Winefest, more than 6,500 people participated in the festival. A winemakers dinner and a wine, dine and paint event sold out. The count included attendees from 37 states as well as Australia, Canada, Honduras and Japan.

More than 50 Colorado wineries poured samples of a total of 600 different wines. More than half those wineries served wines made only with Colorado grapes.

The Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau estimates the economic contributions of Winefest at between $750,000 and $1 million.

The 2015 Colorado Mountain Winefest is set for Sept. 17 to 20. Visit www.coloradowinefest.com for more information.