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Colorado Wine Primer

Whether you are a connoisseur of wine or just building an appreciation, whether you are a long-time lover or a beginner into the journey of wine offering pleasures, there are Colorado wine classes, Colorado wine tastings, and Colorado wine events for everyone. Becoming a wine aficionado takes time and is dependent on the desire to learn. This includes learning the differences between wine styles, understanding the genesis of wine and exploring the subtleties of wine tasting.

For centuries and through history, wine has served a whole-hearted station in society. Through religion, celebration rituals and recreation, wine constitutes a perception of enjoyment and quality of life. We prize it, we learn about it and we collect it. As part of our economy, how trade is affected and territory wars were initiated, vineyards have played historic roles in these stories of past, rooting us to our ancestors and connecting us through time.

Enjoy, Learn and Appreciate —Colorado Wines

The setting of Colorado vineyards alone makes Colorado wines unique. Since the 19th century Colorado wines have mainly come from the high mountain desert of the Western Slope (Grand Junction and Palisade) vineyards, or the mineral-saturated mesas of the North Fork Valley in Delta County. Colorado wine country is the perfect venue for a spectacular way to experience wine and its history.

Bringing lifetimes of learning and amity together, experience the rich history of Colorado wines by participating in Colorado wine classes and attending upcoming Colorado wine events!

In this article you’ll find what makes Colorado a prime region for some of the best wines in the world, common terminology used when discussing and appreciating wines, and the perfect venues to plan your next weekend trip or wine country celebration.


Colorado Wine Classes—What Makes Colorado Wine Special?

Most of Colorado’s vineyards reside up to 6,500 feet in elevation. This makes Colorado vineyards part of an elect group of grape growing vineyards in the world. Flourishing in a temperate (or continental climate), which is conducive to the maturation of fine grapes, local Colorado vineyards can be found in Montezuma, Delta, and Mesa counties.

High-altitude sun warms the grapes by day helping them to build sugars naturally while completing their maturation process. The acids fundamental to wine-making are delicately preserved in Colorado wine grapes as a result of 30 degree temperature changes from warm days followed by cool nights. Because of frost months, Colorado wine grapes have only a span close to 180 days to ripen and mature. Also as a result, they produce some of the most admired wines in the country.


Attend Colorado Wine Classes and Colorado Wine Events

Walk through vineyards and experience viticulture first-hand. Wines are named for the grapes they are made from, e.g. Chardonnay grapes make Chardonnay wine, Merlot grapes make Merlot wine. Learn about the 9 different well-known wines of the world and about the grapes that make them by visiting Colorado wine country. Attend Colorado Wine classes by visiting Local Wine Events.

One of the best ways to delve into fine wine appreciation is to attend Colorado wine classes and Colorado wine events. Colorado wine country proudly offers complimentary tours and tastings. Learn from experienced sommeliers that relay their expertise of fine wines and parings for your learning benefit and pleasure of appreciation. Enjoy the harmony of great food and great wine presented in exceptional fashion. Classic cuisine and wine matching at its finest.


Colorado Wine Events—Learn from the Best

Colorado wine events will enlighten you and tempt your palate as sommeliers talk about wine, viticulture, wine making and food pairing, whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, special occasion intimately for two, or with a group.

Knowledge from Colorado wine classes and practice through Colorado wine events lead you to the secrets of fine dining, wine, and a lifetime appreciation. The perfect combination of texture and flavor of food paired with wine enhance your dining experience to new levels.

Learn how flavors can be accentuated or contrasted. Listen as sommeliers recommend pairings based on an extensive knowledge of the weight of a wine compared to the weight of the food. Balance is what creates pairing harmony. Learn from the most highly regarded sommeliers.


Know these 3 things before Attending a Colorado Wine Class or Colorado Wine Event

A novice learns a great deal at Colorado wine events. You do not need to know anything before attending, as you’ll learn by doing! But if you’re interested in knowing a few things before you arrive, having some idea of what you’re getting into will bite the learning curve. Though you don’t have to know much to attend an event, you’ll be ahead of the game if you do know a few things. Through classes, tastings and events, the more you know, the more you’ll be able to truly enjoy Colorado Wine and get the most from your Colorado Wine event experience. To begin the ascension into the world of wines, forge ahead.

Attending a Colorado Wine Event—3 Things to Know

    Attending a Colorado wine event or Colorado wine class requires the understanding of 3 things: Swirl, sniff and sip! That’s field research that you’ll practice while you’re there!

    The swirl of the wine in the glass opens it and allows your olfactory senses to take in the bouquet of the wine with a sniff, and finally the sip. Connecting with your senses and focusing on what you are sensing—this is the true purpose of embracing the rich history and love of wine.

    Wine tasting is really all about you. Your preferences and acute responses to smell and taste will define your palate. As you experience wine, pay attention to the elements of not only flavor, but also temperature and how the wine feels on your palate. All of these observations will bring you closer to refining your personal tastes.

Aside from swirl, sniff, and sip, you may want to familiarize yourself with some common wine terminology.

Colorado Wine Classes—Talking the Talk

Colorado Wine Classes—Common Winemaking Terms—The Vs

Viticulture
The in-depth study of grape cultivation. Most simply described as the study of how grapes are grown. This is a rich examination of grape varieties and the climates and environments that suit them in order to produce quality wines.
Organic Viticulture
Viticulture study with emphasis on natural methods of grape growing. This method of grape growing depends on fewer pesticides, chemicals and fertilizers to raise grapes for the making of wine.
Viniculture
The expert study of how to make wine. Those who extensively study winemaking are called viniculturists.
Varietal
A wine made exclusively from one type of grape (e.g. Merlot or Chardonnay).
Vintage
Vintage describes the harvest year. The yield, or amount of wine or grapes, produce in a particular season.
Vintner
Wine vendor. A maker or seller of wine.

Colorado Wine Classes—Common Wine Tasting Terms

Sommelier
A well-studied professional specializing in wine, wine and food pairing and wine service. Often a sommelier works closely with a culinary staff in fine restaurants and wineries and is educated on vineyard history, viticulture and viniculture.
Blanc vs. Noir
White wine is Blanc and Red wine is Noir—White grapes or skinless purple grapes create white wine like Chardonnay, while red wines, like Merlot, are made from purple, black or red grapes.
Blind tasting
Judging a wine based on its elements and not its label. Whenever you experience a wine without prior knowledge of what it is or its origin, you are participating in a blind tasting.
Terroir
A French description of wine based on the environment in which the grapes for a wine endured. The soil, exposition (sun exposure), and climate where the grape vines were raised. It is described as a sense that the wine is from a particular place.
Tannin
Compounds found in grape skins and stalks that taste bitter and dry.
Body
The weight of a wine determined by the amount of alcohol, flavor and tannin.
Corked
When a wine is contaminated with trichloroanisole (TCA). This comes from mold within the cork and may also be derived from oak barrels. It affects the wine by tasting musty or moldy.
Fermentation
Sugar + Yeast = Ethanol (Alcohol) + Carbon Dioxide
When yeast consumes sugar, it creates Ethanol or alcohol. The process of yeast converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide is fermentation.

Colorado Wine Classes—Old World and New World Wines

Colorado Wine Classes—Old World Wines

Many Old World wines can be traced back to local monasteries and noble family vineyards in the European nations of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Families have kept some of these vineyards for hundreds of years. In the early centuries of the old country, it was the church that promoted viticulture locally in order to maintain wine for rituals.

For centuries and through history, wine has served a significant role in society. The first known evidence of wine comes from the Middle East. Artifacts of fruit-stained pottery shards support that the fermentation process was being honed thousands of years before the current era. The oldest known bottle of wine, a Roman sarcophagus, now resides in the Historisches Museum in Speyer, Germany.

Old World wines are known to be subtler to the palate than New World wines. Reds tend to be softer than what are referred to as, “Big Reds” or bolder red wines mainly originating from the New World. Quality wines can be found in both groups, yet there is a historic distinction. Typical for Old World provinces, the tracing of winemaking history back to the Roman Empire is standard.

Colorado Wine Classes—New World and Colorado Wines

New World wines originate from North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Traditions of winemaking along with the vines traveled with immigrants from Old World grape-growing regions. Though some of these New World countries maintained vineyards for hundreds of years, the expansion of growth and quality in new vineyards has been great over the last 50 years.

Colorado wine vineyards have produced some of the most quality wines in North America. Cool temperatures and a fairly short growing season gives vintners a specific grape growing formula to master. By honing in on grape varieties that flourish in the Colorado high-desert mesoclimate, Colorado vineyards and wineries have produced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot varieties that are enjoyed with great appreciation.


Colorado Wine Tastings—Experience the Culture of Colorado Wine Country

The making of wine and farming of vineyards is rich with ancestral roots and history that date back hundreds of years. Experience the pleasure of some of the finest Colorado wines in Colorado wine country where you can learn about the history of Colorado’s exquisite high-desert vineyards and its viticulture from sommeliers and vintners passionate about winemaking.

Swirl, sniff and sip when you visit an array of fine Colorado wineries and vineyards. Whether you’re a wine expert or just beginning the ascension into the world of wines, there are Colorado wine classes and Colorado wine evens for everyone. Enjoy lifelong wine appreciation. The list below identifies Colorado wineries and vineyards to help you plan your next event. A weekend for 2 or a ladies’ day out, Colorado wine country offers exquisite venues and fine wines for your enjoyment.


Colorado Wine Events — Colorado Wineries and Vineyards