Bountiful Balistreri

By Kimberly Dean
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

I first met Julie Balistreri while on a tour of Denver wineries, and brought home nearly a case of wine before this column was ever conceived of by Jody and myself. Ms. Balistreri gave wonderful presentations of all the wine we tasted. Sitting on the outdoor patio in the garden, you can imagine a beautiful event being held there… people sipping wine, sampling cheeses and discussing politics.

Father and daughter, John and Julie Balistreri.
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman
The winery and tasting room.
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman
John Balistreri tests the brix of the new cherry wine.
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman
The winery boasts a patio for lunch or some relaxation. Through Sept. 30, you can order antipasti from the patio menu during normal business hours of noon­ to 5 p.m. The winery is also available for private parties and events after hours.
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman

The day I went back and visited the small urban vineyard and winery, the staff were cleaning up from a wedding held there the day before. The tent was still up, and there was a happy, busy energy about the place. As I waited to speak with John Balistreri, winemaker and Julie’s father, a long time customer came in, and Julie followed the charming gentleman out to the patio to take his and his wife’s lunch orders. They definitely show customers a home-style hospitality that is rarely seen elsewhere.

Since the early 1900s, the Balistreri family has been farmers. First truck farmers, then cut flowers, and finally in 1998 they were licensed to make wine commercially. They now make about 5,000 cases of wine per year, ranking among the largest of the small Colorado wineries, and the smallest of the large ones. It seems to be enough for them, and their customers. I know I will be back!