By Kimberly Dean
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Before I ever started this column, I bought two tickets for a tour of Denver wineries online, just as a random surprise for my fiancé, Gavin. At the time I didn’t even know there were wineries in Denver! The tour was a great experience. There were ten of us on the bus, including our guide, Lisa, and our designated driver, Sean. We were all given a box of cheeses, grapes, crackers and chocolate to sustain us for that Saturday afternoon.
Owned by Lisa Haddad and Sean Wiese, both casualties of the corporate banking industry, they now have a passion for what they do. When they were both laid off, they decided to do only what they love from then on. So Lisa went to school to become a certified sommelier, and Sean started his own limo service. They came up with the idea for chauffeured wine tours, and the rest is history.
As we boarded, we were each given some wine to drink on our way to our first stop, Spero Winery. The second stop was a bonus, since Winery Row contains four Colorado wine-makers: Bonacquisti, Verso Cellars, Garfield Estates and Cottonwood Cellars. It was like being in Wine Heaven. They really are in a row, with three store fronts all next to a Quiznos in case you get serious munchies.
The last and final stop was Balistreri Winery, another little oasis in an unlikely industrial area just outside downtown Denver. This winery offers outdoor tastings as well. The weather allowed all of us to sit outside on the patio, while wine after wine was brought out and described to us in detail. I think we personally went home with at least a case and a half from all three stops… Lisa knows the wine so well that she could’ve given a presentation on them all herself.
Now starting off many tours at D’Vine Wine on Champa Street downtown, tourists (and locals) are in for a treat. All the wine served is made on-site, and you can even order your own custom wine labels! Proprietor Charlene Meriwether promotes her Wild Women Wines, which have fun labels and are great for gifts or girlfriend gatherings. D’Vine Wine is a winery, a tasting room, a wine bar, and even an event venue — all in one. Charlene’s southern-style hospitality will make you feel at home from the moment you walk in the door. You may even get a chair massage!
Who knew that there were so many wineries in the Denver area? 5280 Wine Tours CO is currently hosting Holiday Light Tours, launching from D’Vine Wine, complete with celebrity entertainment onboard their vessel. Doug Huffman of the band Boston will be performing live on these tours, so you won’t want to miss this trip! Tours start at D’Vine Wine and are held twice nightly Wednesday through Sunday, starting at 5:30 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. The cost is $65 per person. Special pricing for groups can be arranged through 5280’s staff at 720-308-0355.