April 2011 might have been a very big month for Colorado wine. At the beginning of the month, the purveyors of DrinkLocalWine.com announced that the 4th annual Drink Local Wine Conference will be coming to Colorado in 2012. Dallas wine blogger Jeff Siegel (the Wine Curmudgeon) and Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntyre created the site to promote the quality of the wines, grapes, flavors and opportunities offered by regional wines. This conference will bring several dozen wine writers from around the country to Colorado in order to explore all that is Colorado wine. Writers will tour wineries, taste Colorado's vinous delights and take part in a "Twitter Taste-Off" where attendees will taste and tweet about their favorite Colorado wines. This conference could do a lot to show the world what Colorado grapes have to offer.
Not only was that announcement a move in the right direction for the Colorado wine industry, several weeks later, wine personality Gary Vaynerchuk, made his way to the Centennial State to promote his new book, The Thank You Economy. At the book signing, Vaynerchuk, formerly of WineLibraryTV.com and currently appearing on DailyGrape.com, was given a bottle of Guy Drew Vineyards' 2007 Metate by an enthusiastic guest at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. The following day before his trek to Boulder, Vaynerchuk taped episode 26 of his Daily Grape (see video below) while tasting the bottle of Colorado wine. After briefly describing Colorado's wine history, Vaynerchuk sampled this blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah and was blown away by its quality. Hundreds of fans commented on this video and many were interested in where they could find wines from Colorado. Drew, according to a Grand Junction Sentinel article, has already sold 10 cases of the 300 case production offering to viewers of the video across the country. Other wine writers, including ColoradoWino and Sourgrapes, have cited the Vaynerchuk video in their posts. When major wine personalities like Vaynerchuk take note of Colorado's wines, consumers will reap the benefits.
Unfortunately, not everyone is buying what Colorado is selling. In a conversation in the comments section on one of Steve Heimoff's blog posts, Steve states that he was in Colorado several years ago and "found most of the wines inferior." He also claims that the reason he doesn't review Colorado wines is because no one pays him to do so. He fails to realize that many consumers may actually be interested in wines from places other than California (see comments on Daily Grape episode 26). While I enjoy reading Steve's blog, every once in awhile I find his holier-than-thou attitude a little frustrating. While he did offer to review Colorado wines if I sent him a case, he would only do so on his blog, but not in the more widely distributed Wine Enthusiast Magazine. If you make great Colorado wine and want Steve to try it, let me know. If you are a Steve Heimoff fan (or critic) and would like him to explore non-California wines, let him know. Like all wines regions, Colorado offers a spectrum of wine styles and qualities, and together we can continue to show the world that some of Colorado's wines are truly world class.