Colorado-Grown Grapes Fuel Boulder’s Emerging Wine Scene

Colorado is often affectionately referred to as the “Napa of Craft Beer”—but in reality, the state actually has an established wine scene of it’s own. Grapevines were first introduced in Colorado in the 19th century by miners relocating to the southern part of the state in hopes of striking it rich.

Over the years, vineyards began appearing in and around the Palisade/Grand Junction area, producing world-class grapes with the help of southern Colorado’s warm climate and water from mountain runoff. Low humidity and plenty of sunshine create ideal conditions for growers, resulting in sought-after grapes used by wineries throughout Colorado and beyond.

In Boulder, one winery is committed to using only 100% Colorado-grown grapes for their product—choosing to source grapes from select vineyards in Palisade to create their handcrafted beverage. The folks at Settembre Cellars have been mastering the art of winemaking since 2007. Every year, owner/operators Blake and Tracy Eliasson rely on relationships cultivated with their grape growers who alert the couple when the grapes are ready to be harvested, hand-picking and sorting only the finest first clusters to be shipped overnight to the Settembre Cellars winery located in North Boulder.

“I have growers that I can really trust,”said Settembre winemaker and founder, Blake Eliasson. “Stylistic control of wine comes in the very beginning. It starts with the harvesting of the grape.”

As with many founders of businesses in the beverage industry, Eliasson left a job as a full-time engineer to turn his winemaking hobby into career that he and his wife could share. Eliasson holds a Graduate Certificate in Enology and Viticulture from UC Davis (as well as a PhD in Electrical Engineering), which has helped him develop a successful mix of science and nature to create locally-made wines that he can stand behind.

Inside Settembre Cellars, wine enthusiasts can sample from the winery’s collection including single vineyard and reserve wines. Each wine ferments in stainless steel tanks and/or French Oak barrels, both of which you can view from any seat inside of the cozy tasting room.

Outside of the tasting room, local restauranteurs and retail shops are also supporting Boulder’s winemakers.

Foodies visiting Cured in downtown Boulder can have a glass of Settembre Cellars wine with their urban picnic selections of cured meats and artisanal cheese.

“It’s cool having wineries here in town that are outstanding and that we can get behind,”said Will Frischkorn, co-owner and operator of Cured.

Local wine drinkers can also learn more about Boulder wines and Colorado grapes at this year’s Taste of Pearl which features five Boulder wineries in its food and wine pairing lineup. The annual event takes place throughout downtown Boulder on April 19th. Tickets are $65 each and can be purchased here.