Colorado Wine Country

 

imageI thought it was time to dedicate a post to Colorado wine country.  Especially since the 26th Annual Colorado Mountain Winfest is this weekend in Palisade, Colorado.  The Winefest is Colorado’s largest wine festival featuring unlimited sips from over 50, yes 50, Colorado wineries.  The festival is held in September, perfectly planned with the changing of the seasons.

imageGrowing up in Northern California I was well aware of wineries.  After all, when you hear Napa, the first thing that comes to mind is wine.  But, in my humble opinion, Colorado has a lot to brag about as well.  I remember the first time I discovered Colorado wine country.  We were living in Denver at the time and I had to go to the Western Slope for business.  While driving along I-70, I was passing Palisade and I did a double take.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  All of the vineyards!  It was an amazing sight.  Unfortunately, on that business trip I couldn’t partake in any vino tasting, but I made sure to tell my husband, “we must visit the Western Slope and check out the wineries!”  Well, we did!!!  We took a little mini vacation and explored the wineries.  It was an awesome experience.  Lots of very nice, hospitable folks, and of course delicious wine.  Another plus, almost every winery is dog friendly.  We were so impressed by the landscape, the wine, and of course the people, it was a great visit.

 

Mount Garfield (my favorite), the Bookcliffs, the Grand Mesa (largest flat top mountain in the world), and the Colorado River adorn the landscape, along with lavender farms, and a variety of orchards including the infamous Palisade peaches.  The Grand Valley is full of lush farmland.  A sweet combination of warm days followed by cool evenings make this valley the perfect place to grow grapes and other produce.

imageWine country in Colorado offers a wide range of wines.  If you like wine, you are covered.  White, red, rose, sweet, honey, you get the idea.  If you aren’t a wine person, no worries, there is also a brewery and distillery in Palisade as well.

imageOne item on our to do list is to cruise around the wineries on bikes.  Now is the perfect time to bike the Fruit and Wine Byway because the temperatures are starting to cool down.  Bring your own bike or rent one locally.  There are plenty of places to spend the weekend.  Including the Wine Country Inn, which can be seen off of I-70.

imageNow that we live on the Western Slope and about 15ish minutes from Colorado wine country, I want to sing its praises!  We regularly take little drives through Palisade, (that is where I took the pictures for this post) where I chase the setting sun to get dreamy pictures of that perfect light hitting the wineries.  I am always in awe of the majestic beauty out on the Western Slope.  If you haven’t made a trip out this way, I invite you to visit what I enthusiastically call home.  Raise a glass to a hidden treasure on the Western Slope, Colorado Wine Country!  Cheers!

For more information about Colorado wine country, please visit:

coloradowinefest.com

Visitgrandjunction.com

colorado.com

coloradowine.com

Visitpalisade.com

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Peach Picking in Palisade, Colorado

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Iis Palisade peach season.  Probably the best peaches I have ever sunk my teeth into.  Super juicy, fragrant, and simply delicious.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying a Palisade peach, let me give you the low down on theses delectable treasures.  The Grand Valley, where the peaches are grown, has hot days and cool nights which are a perfect combination for bringing out the natural sugars in the peaches and growing big fruit.  I grew up eating peaches in California, and no offense to California but the peaches were always very dry, mealy, and tart.  They were picked too early for transport and were not given enough time to develop enough natural sugar (thanks visitgj for this information).  So, you can imagine my amazement and pure joy when I bit into a chin-dripping Palisade peach for the first time.  Yummy!  image

There are two types of Palisade peaches, cling and freestone.  Both terms refer to the way the peach sticks to the pit.  Cling peaches stick to the pit and freestone peaches don’t.  I like both but prefer freestone peaches when cooking.  They are just easier to cut into when making cobblers or adding them to my overnight oats.

imageWe usually buy our peaches at the local Farmers Markets or we take the short drive to Palisade and buy them at the various orchards.

Recently, we decided to pick our own peaches.  We randomly stopped at Mt. Lincoln Peach Co.  We went later in the day and on a weekday so it was quiet, which I love.  When we arrived we received a box for gathering the peaches, we were also given a map showing which trees were ready for peach picking, and we were on our way.  It was a fun experience.  The orchards are green and lush with tons of ripe peaches that are extremely fragrant.  While picking peaches, a perfect view of Mt. Garfield, the Bookcliffs, and the Grand Mesa can be seen in the distance.  Helpful tip:  wear closed toe shoes, preferably tennis shoes.  The orchards were a little muddy and I was wearing a pair of dressy flats, not a good idea!image

A city girl, it was really neat seeing chickens and roosters nearby making the whole experience “a little country.”  I loved it.  imageThe pick your own peaches at this location were $1.00 a pound.  We ended up buying $8.51 (to be exact) worth of peaches.  We went home and I immediately made peach cobbler.  So good!

 

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There are many orchards and “you pick” orchards in Palisade, please visit– visitpalisade.com for more information.

If you haven’t had a Palisade peach yet, don’t worry, Palisade peach season usually runs until September.  Also, you can celebrate Palisade peaches at the annual Palisade Peach Festival, August 17-20, 2017.  For more festival information please visit–palisadepeachfest.com

Check out–“Selecting the Perfect Palisade Peaches,” at visitgrandjunction.com

Please leave a comment letting me know your thoughts on Palisade peaches.

Mat Kearney in Fort Collins

We went to the Taste of Fort Collins (https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/taste-of-fort-collins/) on Sunday.

http://tasteoffortcollins.com/

If you haven’t been I highly recommend going next year.  I found discount tickets for the event through Living Social.  I am a big Mat Kearney fan and he was the music headliner on Sunday.  Our tickets through Living Social ended up costing $15.00 each.  I don’t know many concerts that cost only $15.00.  Mat Kearney was fantastic!  His lovely voice was just as impressive at the Taste of Fort Collins as it is on the radio or on a CD.  Mat Kearney got the audience involved and at one point he even ran through the crowd.  The pictures below are of Mat Kearney at the Taste of Fort Collins.  (Please excuse the grainy quality of the pictures I was using my phone to take the pictures).

Mat Kearney running through the crowd!

The crowd at the Taste of Fort Collins watching Mat Kearney.

We did eat at the Taste of Fort Collins.  We had a great tasting gyro, some oysters, and a spicy chicken sausage sandwich.  But the real reason we attended was to see Mat Kearney

If you are a Mat Kearney fan he will be back in Colorado at the Red Rocks Amphitheater on September 19, 2012.

http://www.redrocksonline.com/CalendarEventDisplay.aspx?id=170306

**The High Park Fire was visible from I-25 on the way to Fort Collins.  These pictures are of the sky above a Taste of Fort Collins.  By the time we left Fort Collins the smell of smoke was pretty intense.  A prayer to those fighting the blazes.  Also a prayer to those affected by this fire.

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20831039/high-park-fire-colorado-wildfire-near-fort-collins?source=rss

Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland, Colorado

I am not quite sure where to begin.  Frozen Dead Guy Days has been recommended to us more than once.  We have not made it to Nederland……yet!  However, if you are visiting Colorado in March you may want to schedule your trip around this festival.  According to the website http://frozendeadguydays.org/ the festival is going into its 11th year and in 2007 it was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of the country’s top 100 festivals not to be missed and in 2010 they won the Colorado Governor’s Award for best promotional event.

The event surrounds Grandpa Bredo who died in 1989.  He is still in Nederland frozen solid.  Grandpa Bredo has been cryogenically preserved.  I know this sounds strange but this festival is a really big deal.  At the festival they have coffin racing, a parade of hearses, live music, polar plunging, and the list goes on.  I read over the Frozen Dead Guys Days story (http://frozendeadguydays.org/aboutfdgd) and I am gathering from the story that Grandpa Bredo doesn’t “come out” for the festival but instead people can have a celebratory drink up at the Tuff Shed where he takes up residence.

This year’s festival was March 2nd-4th 2012.  We will plan to go next year.  It is one of those things that you have to see to believe!

Nederland, CO