21 urban wineries in Denver and along the Front Range where you can toast to National Wine Day — The Know
These are the 5 wines made at Ryker’s Cellars urban winery on May 16, 2018 in Denver. Owner Ryker Brandt only produces small batch wines making only 600-700 cases a year. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)
In case anyone needs a reason to drink wine, Friday is National Wine Day.
It’s a day to celebrate your favorite fermented fruit of the vine. So crack open that box of Franzia merlot from Target — we promise, we will not judge you — or uncork that pretty bottle of Miraval rosé (from a French vineyard still owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, incidentally) that you’ve been saving for a semi-special occasion.
Better still, get out and try something new. No need to travel to Napa Valley, either: The Front Range has a surprising number of urban wineries — many of which we list here — with libations that will appeal to both novice and connoisseur.
All offer tastings given by winemakers or their knowledgeable staffs. Many offer small plates or full menus so you can wine, dine and sit for awhile. Try a bunch of varieties, then take home some of your favorite bottles (for when your box runs dry).
And when you find varieties that you love, sign up for a wine club to take advantage of specials and discounted bottles.
(Note: We are not listing ciders or meads here; that’s another holiday. Or should be. And this list is in reverse alphabetical order, cause we’ve had a glass of wine and are feeling a bit rebellious.)
The Wine Barrel
1495 S. Twenty Mile Road, Unit 5 Parker; 303-999-0454; thewinebarrelparker.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. noon-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. noon-10 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m.
Wines: Thirty wines, including Chardonnay, Riesling, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, special blends, sparkling and dessert wines.
Cost: Bottles are $14.99 to $23.99. You-pick tastings of three wines are $5.
Grapes: Multiple vendors, including Tempranillo from Spain and Riesling from Washington state.
Food: Yes, small plates.
Wine club: Yes, but it’s called a VIP club. Cause you are that special. “It’s always happy hour for our VIPs,” said owner Cordy Coady.
Extras: Bob and Cordy Coady, daughter Kristie and son-in-law Eddie Ashley run this micro-winery that uses stainless steel vats and carboys. Its Clark Farms Fortitude, a blend of four different reds, was a winner at the San Francisco International Wine contest. Quarterly parties for members of the wine club. Custom labels and merchandise available.
Wild Women Winery
1660 Champa St., 303-534-0788; winerycolorado.com
Hours: Tues.-Sun. noon-8 p.m.
Wines: Naked Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Big Girl Barbera
Cost: $18.99-$24.99 a bottle
Grapes: Seventeen varietals of juice are shipped from California’s Central Valley
Food: Light fare, like a small cheese plate, for sale, but guests can bring food in (or order pizza to be delivered)
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Winemakers Ross and Charlene Meriwether make their wines in vats and carboys because there isn’t a way to get oak barrels into the small storefront. Reds are fermented two months to two years. Bottling parties and custom blends offered. (Ross Meriwether said he’s had customers create some odd combinations, like a Malbec with roasted poblano peppers.) “Sometimes folks come in and want to make a wine in a week,” Ross said. “I tell them, ‘Only Jesus can make wine that fast.’ ” The bar is comfy, with light jazz piped in and live music (R&B, jazz) on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Waters Edge Winery
2101 E. Arapahoe Road, Centennial; 720-839-5053; wewdenver.com
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 1-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. noon-10 p.m.; Sun. noon-7 p.m.
Wines: Fifty wines including Merlots, Cabs and Chardonnays, plus Barolos, Gewurztraminers, Pinotages, Petit Verdot and Ports.
Cost: $22 to $50 a bottle. Tastings of five wines for $6.
Grapes: From Napa Valley, Monterey County, the Western Slope, Washington state, Chile, Germany and elsewhere.
Food: Full menu of appetizers, flat breads, salads and sandwiches. Catering menu available.
Wine club: Yes.
Extras: Waters Edge creates low-sulfite wines, and offers flights, wine ice cream, gift items and personalized bottles.
Water 2 Wine
8130 S. University, Centennial; 720-489-9463; water2wine.com
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 2 to 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. noon-8 p.m.
Wines: Seven different series, like Estate, Island Mist, Jolly Ranchers; international wines. Ports, limited editions.
Cost: $10.95 to $26.95 per bottle
Grapes: Grape juice bought from more than 100 vineyards in 13 countries.
Food: Complimentary snacks, but customers are welcome to bring in their own food.
Wine club: Yes.
Extras: New owner Melissa Nugent and her father, Dan Nugent, just took over the winery on May 1. Make your own batch (approx 28 bottles), for $219-$460. Low sulfites and histamines in their wines. Private labeling and parties available. Wines aged 45 to 60 days. Music from local bands every Friday 6-8 p.m.
Turquoise Mesa Winery
11705 Teller St., Broomfield; 303-653-3822; turquoisemesawinery.com
Hours: Thurs.-Sat. 1-6 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m., other times by appointment
Wines: Fourteen different wines, with blends, Rhone, Bordeaux specialties, as well as straight varietals
Cost: $12-$28 per bottle; tastings $5 for six wines.
Grapes: Ninety-eight percent from Palisade, the remainder from West Elks or Cortez area
Food: Complimentary snacks; guests are welcome to bring their own food or order in
Wine club: Yes.
Extras: “Sip wine in the art nook, put your feet up and stay for a couple of hours,” said owner/winemaker Tom Bueb of his family-run operation that puts out more than 1,000 cases of wine a year. Barrel tastings for small groups of 25-30 offered, $75 for two hours plus cost of purchases. Winery event rentals and fees vary depending on size of group.
3316 W. 64th Ave., Denver; 720-519-1506; sperowinery.biz
Hours: Sat., 1-5 p.m., or by appointment
Wines: Twenty-two wines, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Viognier; Cayuga white and Chanellor from Pueblo, plus Colombard, Sangiovese and Barbera.
Cost: Reds are $17 per bottle, whites $16 and desserts are $13.
Grapes: Come from a cousin in Lodi, Calif., as well as Palisade and Pueblo.
Food: Complimentary cheese tray provided
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Clyde and June Spero run this operation. “He’s the winemaker, I’m the whiner,” said June, in a practiced but charming quip. “Clyde’s father, Gaetano, came from Potenza, Italy, where he and other families made wine only for home use,” June said. “It’s part of our heritage.” Spero doesn’t blend, but keeps the types of grapes separate in its wines. It’s won awards from the Taster’s Guild, Finger Lakes International and others. All its reds are oak-aged a minimum of two years. Speros offers private tastings and catered events. Wine club members invited to a big party once a year, with “800 or 900 people,” June said. And the bottles, a “bellisima” style that come from Italy, are 14½ inches tall. Wine Club members are asked to return them for reuse.
Silver Vines Winery
7509 Grandview Ave., Arvada, 303-456-5212; silvervineswinery.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 3-10 p.m., Fri-Sat. 11 a.m.-midnight; Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Wines: Fifteen wines sold (currently all reds are from 2015, whites are from 2016-17), including Grandview Reserve (their No. 1 selling wine), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Chocolate Delight, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.
Cost: Bottles priced at $19.99 to $45.
Grapes: Majority from Palisade on the Western Slope, remainder from Washington State
Food: Charcuterie boards available.
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Owner/winemaker Jeff Chayer has run this family owned business since 2011. Tastings are three wines for $12 (lineup can be customized). Live music Thursday through Saturday. Yoga classes every Sunday at 10 a.m. for $20, includes glass of wine after. This is one hot spot: Chayer said Silver Vines hosts “at least five parties a week,” as well as corporate events.
4640 N. Pecos St., Denver; 720-437-9537; rykerscellars.com
Hours: Thurs.-Sat. noon-7 p.m., or by appointment
Wines: Malbec, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and “Doggles,” a big, fruity Barbera.
Cost: $23 per bottle.
Grapes: Central coast of California.
Wine club: Yes.
Extras: This small-batch distillery run by Ryker Brandt is tiny. So tiny that it shares space with an unrelated business. But don’t let the winery’s size fool you: The few wines that he produces are stellar. One of them — the 2014 Petite Sirah — even won the Governor’s Cup. (That wine, he says, “goes with fireplaces, snowflakes and cheesecakes.”) Brandt, who got hooked on wines while in Kansas, got his wine-making chops in Santa Cruz, Calif., before finding a home in Denver. He’s located in the same strip mall as Bonaquisti Winery (so you can visit both while you’re there). He sells his wines out of the winery, at farmers markets and wine festivals. (Trust us; these are worth seeking out.)
Purgatory Cellars Winery
18921 Plaza Drive, Parker; 303-600-8209; purgatorycellarscolorado.com
Hours: Sun.-Thurs. noon-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-11 p.m.
Wines: Thirty-one varieties including port-style Ruby Malbec, Indulgence Amphora sparkling, reserve whites like Semillon and Riesling.
Cost: Priced $19 to $50 per bottle (for an award-winning Cabernet Franc dessert wine).
Grapes: Ninety-five percent from Colorado, others from New Mexico
Food: Complimentary cheese and crackers, plus food trucks nearby. Or guests can bring their own food.
Wine club: Yes. (two versions: Saints and Sinners. Clever, huh?)
Extras: Winemaker Marko Copic from Croatia uses an amphora wine-making technique, storing and fermenting its wines in clay pots. Reserves are aged in oak barrels. Happy hour: 50 percent off on glasses of wine Mon.-Thurs. 4-6 p.m.
Invintions, a Creative Winery
9608 East Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village; 303-799-9463; invintionswinery.com
Hours: Tues. noon-5 p.m.; Wed.-Sat., noon-8 p.m.
Wines: More than 85 wines to choose from, including a Copperhead Cabernet-Shiraz, dry Viognier, and series of “Fun-Seekers” wines like Cucumber Melon.
Cost: Priced from $13.95 to $24.95 a bottle.
Grapes: From California, Washington state and elsewhere.
Food: No; guests can bring in their own, however.
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Winemaker Marcus Tipton brings in wines from 12 countries for his blends and offers succinct and comprehensive descriptions of each wine plus recommended pairings on his website. Wines are low in sulfites and preservatives. Customers can create their own distinct vintage and design their own labels. Classes and private parties available. Create your own batch.
The Infinite Monkey Theorem
3200 Larimer St., Denver; 303-736-8376; theinfinitemonkeytheorem.com
2501 Dallas St., Aurora (Stanley Marketplace)
Hours: In Denver, Mon.-Thurs. 4 to 10 p.m.; Fri-Sat. noon-10 p.m.; Sun. noon-8 p.m. In Aurora: Mon. 3-8 p.m.; Tues.-Thurs. 4-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. noon-10 p.m.; Sun. noon-8 p.m.
Wines: Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Malbec, Merlot and red blends
Cost: $15 for four-pack canned; $25-$50 for some bottles
Grapes: Western Slope, and from Texas hill country for bottled products
Food: Provided by a variety of food trucks, and guests are welcome to bring food in.
Wine club: Yes
Extras: “Back alley winemaking at its finest,” the website says of Ben Parsons’ edgy, hip winery. It’s one of the larger operations in Colorado, in Denver since 2008, and also has a location in Austin, Texas. Tours and tastings are offered (priced from $25 per person to $75 per person). Patio yoga classes (at 10 a.m. once a month in June, July and August) feature a live DJ followed by $5 tap wines, mimosas and cans. Check website for more special events. Wines are on tap, bottled and canned — and the cans are recyclable.
Deep Roots Winery & Bistro
1516 Wazee St., Denver; 720-328-4786; deeprootswines.com
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 2 p.m.-close; happy hour 4:30-6 p.m. daily; Sun. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Wines: Pinot Gris, Barbera, Crimson Rose, Dry Riesling
Cost: $27 to $45 per bottle
Grapes: Lake County, California; Willamette Valley, Oregon; Columbia Valley, Washington
Food: Full menu Mon.-Sat.; brunch menu on Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wine club: Coming in June
Extras: Monthly wine education nights; Wine Down Wednesdays, 4 to 7 p.m., feature 10 percent off wines and 15 percent off small plates, including charcuterie, bruschetta, salads, paninis, dessert truffles and more. A Tap the Barrel blending event is on May 31: Get a bottle of wine with a custom label for $45. Games and euchre night on Thursdays; silent films nightly after dusk.
Creekside Cellars Winery and Italian Cafe
28036 Highway 74, Evergreen; 303-674-5460; creeksidecellars.net
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m., limited menu after 4 p.m.
Wines: Fifteen different wines include Viognier, Roussanne, Moscato d’Amburgo, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah. (Check Facebook for availability.)
Cost: Priced $20 to $65 a bottle. Tastings are $5 for five wines. Case discounts
Food: Full menu includes antipasto, salads, soups, paninis and more, plus daily specials from executive chef Evan Hassinger.
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Winemaker Michelle Cleveland gets her grapes from Creekside’s 10-acre vineyard in Palisade as well as other nearby growers. Special events include release parties every quarter. Small private tours available. Have lunch on the deck overlooking Bear Creek. Ships to four states and Washington, D.C.
6885 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton; 720-531-5252; carboywinery.com
Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 12-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 12-11 p.m.; happy hour daily 2-5 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close.
Wines: Meritage, Pinot Nor, Rose, Zinfandel-Malbec-Syrah blend
Cost: $24 to $32 per bottle
Grapes: Seven varietals from the Western Slope, and 14 wines from California, Washington, Oregon and France
Food: Small plates and charcuterie boards, plus sweets
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Carboy (which is also the name of a stout glass container with a narrow neck) offers refillable growlers. Its wines are on tap as well as bottled. Three levels of tastings offered, from $20 to $75 per person. Tap beers and spirits available.
1501 Lee Hill Road, Boulder; 303-499-7301; bookcliffvineyards.com
Hours: Thursday through Sunday, 1- 6 p.m.
Wines: Chardonnay, Viognier, Muscat Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Tempranillo and more.
Cost: Bottles are $13.99 to $39.99 (for Crescendo, a high-end red blend Reserve). Tastings are $5 for three wines, $8 for five wines.
Grapes: All from Palisade
Food: Complimentary crackers.
Wine club: Yes
Extras: John Garlich and Ulla Merz own and manage 37 acres of vineyard growing 14 varieties in Palisade, on the Western Slope. Winery tours are offered by appointment, $20 per person, minimum of four participants. Winemaker Richard McDonald’s 2013 Ensemble (a Bordeaux blend) won the Governor’s Cup for best wine in Colorado in 2016. Special events include barrel tastings, release parties and chef dinners. Discounts for multiple bottles purchased.
Bonacquisti Wine Company
4640 N. Pecos St., Denver; 303-477-9463; bonacquistiwine.com
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (with live music starting at 6:30 p.m.) and Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wines: Pinot Grigio, Montepulciano, Moscato, Chardonnay and Sangiovese. Red and white sangria are on tap. Vinny No Neck is named after owner Paul Bonacquisti’s son, Vincent (“but he doesn’t like being called Vinny,” said Paul).
Cost: Wines are $18 and $19 per bottle. One liter growlers of Vinny No Neck are $22 for the first, $17 for refills. Tastings are $10 per person.
Grapes: Seventy-five percent are from Colorado, others are imported from California, Italy and Spain.
Food: Small plates.
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Owner Paul Bonacquisti is a former Denver DJ. Private events. His winery is in the same strip as Rycker Cellars, so you can hit both in one visit. The work of local artists on the walls is for sale. Ask Paul to tell you the story of his family, depicted in a couple of paintings on the walls. The space is available for private events; tours are free. Happy hour 4 to 6 p.m. with $5 tap wine and appetizers. Bonacquisti wines are sold in Garlic Knot restaurants, DiFrancos and the BookBar. Bring Your Own Vinyl Thursdays.
Black Arts Cellars
11616 Shaffer Place, Littleton; 303-722-0669; bacellars.com
Hours: Summer hours (after Memorial Day) Thursday-Saturdays 3-8 p.m., Sundays 2-5 p.m.; other times open Fridays and Saturdays 3-7:30 p.m.
Wines: Rhone-style premium (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedré, Petite Syrah), Cabernet Franc
Grapes: Central California coast (Paso Robles) and Palisade on Colorado’s Western Slope
Cost: $18 to $21 per bottle for whites and $26 to $46 for reds.
Food: No, but customers are urged to bring in their own and “there is lots of soft seating,” owner John Cowperthwaite said.
Wine club: Yes.
Extras: John and Liz Cowperthwaite have owned this boutique craft winery for four years, and produce about 850 cases per year. “It’s a two-person show,” John said. “I’m the janitor to webmaster to sometimes winemaker.” The Cowperthwaites throw a big party for their Wine Club members twice a year.
Bigsby’s Folly Craft Winery & Restaurant
3563 Wazee St., Denver; 720-485-3158; bigsbysfolly.com
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 4-10 p.m.; Fri. 2-11 p.m.; Sat. noon-11 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Wines: Fifteen wines currently available include Rosé of Grenache, Chardonnay Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Pinot Noir.
Cost: Priced at $34 to $80 per bottle. Growlers are same prices as bottles.
Grapes: Eighty percent of the grapes are from the Napa Valley, and the rest are from Palisade and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Much of the production is in California, but some wines are made in Denver.
Food: Full menu includes flatbreads, salads, small plates and more.
Wine club: Yes.
Extras: Chad and Marla Yetka own this striking winery that’s a combination of the Roaring 20s and industrial chic. Their chief winemaker is Brian Graham in Napa; Chad Yetka is the assistant winemaker and is based in Denver. Every Monday, Bigsby’s offers yoga classes at 6:30 p.m. for $12.50 (or $10 each if bought in a three- pack) followed by a $5 glass of wine. Private tastings and tours. The Winemaker for a Day special allows a customer to work with a winemaker for 2½ hours to come up with his own personal Bordeaux blend.
1946 E. 66th Ave., Denver; 303-287-5156; balistrerivineyards.com
Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wines: Riesling, Chardonnay Sangiovese, Malbec, Syrah, Port and more.
Cost: Prices between $14 and $56 per bottle.
Grapes: Ninety-eight percent of its grapes are from the Western Slope.
Food: Balistreri’s full menu is seasonal, and it can be exceptional. Sandwiches, antipasti for two, pan-seared scallops, mushroom risotto and more. Even if you aren’t drinking the wine, lunch is worth the trip.
Wine club: Yes
Extras: Winemaker John Balistreri’s favorite drink is grape Kool-Aid, said his wife, Birdie. And he doesn’t like to drink water. Why bother, when you live at a winery? The pair run Balistreri Vineyards with their daughter, Julie, and produce 6,000 cases per year, most aged in American oak barrels. Special events include a Spring Barrel Tasting Dinner, Summer Garden Party, Fall Harvest Party, Italian Wine and Movie Night and more. Available for private events. Reservations required for tasting groups of eight or more. (Since they can be busy, be sure to ask for an employee’s dedicated service ahead of time.)
You will notice that there is no location listed on this one. That’s because, until January, this was a wine store and cigar shop on West Bowles Avenue in Littleton. But Avanti lost its lease. And while it may currently be down, it’s definitely not out.
Avanti general manager Mark Lovejoy says owner and chief winemaker Griff Griffin is still practicing his craft out of a private location and selling his chardonnay, pinot noir, port and more at wine festivals and farmers markets along the Front Range.
“We’re in the process of finding a more permanent home for the winery,” Lovejoy said, so Avanti can get back to doing tastings and selling wines out of a retail store. “Right now we’re making 16 or 17 wines, with 21 different varietals,” he said. “Most of the grapes come from Colorado (Western Slope), but we have blends. The pinot noir grapes aren’t grown here, for example. But the first choice for us is Colorado grapes.” Lovejoy said Avanti will be at farmers markets at Southwest Plaza, Highlands Ranch, Southlands in Parker, and Stapleton, among others.
Prices are $20 to $26 per bottle.
Call 303-904-7650 or visit avantiwinery.com for more information.
20 E. Lakeview Drive, Nederland; 303-520-4871; augustinaswinery.com
Hours: Thurs. 1-6 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 1-6:30 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m. (Closed for vacation until May 25.)
Wines: Colorado grown Sauvignon Blanc, White Chick White (blend of Riesling and Gewurztraminer), Venus de Vino Red (blend of Boulder-grown Noiret and Frontenac). Wine Chick Red (Colorado grown Shiraz and Malbec).
Cost: Tasting of five wines for $3. Bottles priced at $9 to $20.
Grapes: Most from the Western Slope, others from Boulder County and the Eastern Plains.
Wine club: No, but Augustina’s can be shipped to 36 states.
Extras: Winemaker Marianne “Gussie” Walter runs a one-woman operation, even driving over to the Western Slope for her grapes. Augustina’s is also sold at the Boulder County Farmers Market on Saturdays, April through November. And a Bredo’s Blue Diamond label in honor of Nederland’s Frozen Dead Guy Days is still available.