April 30, 2012
[caption id="attachment_1480" align="aligncenter" width="575" caption="The Highland Farmers' Market is just one of the many wine- and food-inspired events we are looking forward to this summer."][/caption]
When it gets warm, people love to taste wine (same can be said for when it's cold, mild, rainy, snowy...). Which means summertime brings out the best in festivals throughout the state. Here are five we think you should attend this year:
Highland Farmers' Market
9–1 p.m. Saturday (June–Oct. 15), Boulder Street between 15th and 16th
Come summer, we love to pop up our tent just outside of LoLa, put on a straw hat and make sure the entire community has access to some wine while they shop the weekly Highland Farmers' Market. It's really our favorite event since we get to interact with all of our neighbors (businesses and people!). New this year: We'll be using the market as a jug refill station, which means you can refill you jug (1 liter for just $12.99 or buy your first jug filled for $20). Then you can go pick some fresh products from all the other wonderful vendors before heading home.
Colorado Urban Winefest
Noon–6 p.m. June 9, Sculpture Park (in front of the DCPA)
As part of the second annual Colorado Wine Week, Colorado Urban Winefest returns to Denver in a much more downtown location than last year (is Stapleton really a part of Denver?). If you don't know it by name, Sculpture Park is the green space along Speer that features those massive dancing aliens. About 40 wineries are expected at Winefest, which is the sister festival to the two-decade-old Mountain Winefest each fall in Palisade. The event will include food trucks, entertainment and educational seminars.
Aspen Food and Wine Classic
June 15–17, Aspen
This is the top festival in the state for toques. It brings together some of the nation's finest winemakers and chefs to the glitzy resort town in the central mountains each summer. Put on by the good folks at Food & Wine magazine, the 30th iteration of Food & Wine will feature Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Boulder's own Richard Betts, Emeril Lagasse and many more. We're still waiting for an invite. Is this thing on? Hello?
Colorado Mountain Winefest
Sept. 16–18, Palisade
This is the Grand Daddy of Colorado wine festivals, having served the local vino community for more than 20 years. The weekend event included everything from a grand tasting to bicycle tours of the vineyards — and a whole lot of food in between. We try to make it every year as it's a spectacle not to be missed and the only place on the planet that allows for the tasting of more than 50 Colorado wineries in one place.
6:30 p.m. the third Friday of the month, Colorado Winery Row, 4640 Pecos St.
We'd be remiss to not include our own party. We team with the other three members of Colorado Winery Row once a month to throw down a fantastic Sunnyside neighborhood party. Food trucks swing by, live music bounces off the walls of the wineries and there's never a shortage of wine to go around (by the glass or bottle). Best of all, entrance is free.
January 11, 2012
Club Wino is led by a somm, a chef and a winemaker, but it’s the people who come each month that make it so much damn fun. Sommelier and Colorado Wino’s own Jacob Harkins leads tastings of four select Colorado wines with the help of Bonacquisti Wine Co. winemaker and sommelier Paul Bonacquisti. This is an intimate tasting limited to 20 people.
6:30pm, Jan. 18 at The Pig & Block Charcuterie, 3326 Tejon St, Denver. $37 for three courses of head-to-toe pig flavors, a special gelato from Little Man Ice Cream, plus guests take home a pig shaped charcuterie board, a roll of cured salami and a $5 gift certificate to Pig & Block.
Get yours before it sells out: http://shop.denverwine.net/collections/frontpage/products/club-wino-tasting
*Returning members of Club Wino receive 10 percent off. Email email@example.com for discount.
What they’re saying about it:
“…the city’s best dining steal.” — Amanda Faison, 5280 food editor
“@jacobharkins you killed it tonight @spuntinodenver! love that you’re bringing the best of CO #wine tasting and facts to #Denver. you rock.” — Kindra Anderson, the Westword wine writer, on Twitter (swirlgirldenver):
January 11, 2012
Our Wine & Chocolate Weekend is a ticketed event and is now Sold Out for both Saturday and Sunday.
Impress your date and spend the afternoon at the 6th Annual Wine & Chocolate Weekend at Bonacquisti Wine Company featuring the creations of Roberta’s Chocolates. Small batch artisan chocolates will be expertly paired with awarding winning wines from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday, February 11th and from 1p-4p on Sunday February 12th.
Recommended by Colorado Homes & Lifestyle Magazine
Still on the fence? Check out the lineup:
White Merlot - White Raspberry Truffle
Vinny No Neck - Pomegranate Truffle
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon - Cherry Bomb Truffle
2010 Old Vine Zinfandel - Smoke Truffle
Zin Port - Jalapeno Infused Fudge
Wine & Chocolate Weekend, February 11th & 12th, 2012
October 11, 2011
It all started so simply in 2006 when Paul Bonacquisti lost his job as a radio DJ due to his station flipping formats. The logical step, of course, was to open a winery smack dab in the middle of Denver in the Sunnyside neighborhood.
Well, it wasn’t that logical in most people’s minds. See, at the time, urban wineries weren’t trendy nor popular, and consumers still thought a trip to a picturesque vineyard was in order for the full wine-drinking experience.
If five years in business tells you anything, Bonacquisti Wine Co. has changed that perception and hordes of consumers from downtown to the far reaches of Colorado continue to find out that good local wine can be made right here in the city.
As it celebrates its fifth anniversary on Oct. 13, it’s time to take a look back at Denver’s Urban Winery throughout the years.
2006: Falling Right In
[caption id="attachment_916" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Paul and Judi get ready to cut the ribbon to make it official!"][/caption]
The tasting room doors opened on Friday, Oct. 13, 2006. Yes, Friday the 13th. The public enjoyed six wines, most of which are still in the tasting lineup today — including Bella Risa white, Vinny No Neck red, Delagua Red (now [d] Red), Colorado Syrah and a Colorado Cabernet.
While the winery opened in the fall, Paul was busy throughout the summer preparing the wines, setting up the business, and seeking out label art in the most random of places, the Highlands Street Fair. Fans of local artist Daniel Luna for years, he and wife Judi found themselves right next to Luna's booth where he had a painting that featured, of course, wine grapes. Serendipitously the relationship was made and the label series was created.
The year also included several other highlights, not the least of which was winemaker Paul falling into a stainless steel fermentation tank. While mashing down the cap of grape skins into the rest of the juice from a plank, he lost his balance and was dunked to his waist. That wine, an old vine Zin, later won a gold medal at the 2007 Colorado Mountain WineFest, the winery’s first ever gold.
In its first year, Bonacquisti produced about 1,000 cases of wine. Paul also begin a relentless effort to work with community nonprofits — with educational causes front and center — by hosting the winery’s first event, a fundraiser for Edison Elementary in November.
2007: World Expansion
[caption id="attachment_912" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Paul getting to cleaning."][/caption]
Beyond coming home with a gold at the year’s annual WineFest for the Zin that Paul fell in, Denver’s wine brand was introduced to the world, literally. With inclusion on the wine list at Timberline Steaks & Grill in the Denver International Airport, thousands of passengers from all over the world were exposed to Bonacquisti while waiting for their next flight.
The year also saw the first bins of Colorado Cabernet Franc delivered; the winery won its first medal (a bronze for the 2005 Syrah) at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in the spring; and it grew exponentially, leading to the hiring of two staff members to help with everything from winemaking to garbage duties and working the tasting rooms. "We hired some warm bodies," Paul recalls fondly. Jokes aside, Alex Perry and Deanna Tillion were two sommeliers who did way more than ever asked to help usher the winery's growth.
Lest we forget, the relationship with Daniel Luna, the label artist, paid off with the Bonacquisti Wine Co. taking a silver medal for its label series at the Denver International Wine Competition.
2008: The Great Zin Splatter
[caption id="attachment_913" align="alignleft" width="145" caption="The gold medal 2008 Cabernet Franc in its infant stage."][/caption]
While the big news at the winery was the overall production level — it topped 2,000 cases for the first time — one particular moment stands out. In fact, its date is emblazoned on the wall behind the tasting bar. “Zinfandel 10-9-08” is marked high on the wall, noting the day the Zinfandel splattered. The wine was in a bladder as part of the pressing process and a mistake by the assistant winemaker Alex (he left a mesh screen out) turned into an epic explosion that sent wine all over the place. To compound matters, the annual Grape Jam anniversary party was just two days away.
“(Alex) was covered; he took it point blank,” Paul says. “There was so much on the counter and the floor; I didn’t think we were going to be able to clean in up in time.”
It was a hectic week all around, aided in large part by the single biggest day of grape deliveries in the winery’s history. Eleven tons of fruit from California came on Oct. 7 from several different growers (the winery augments its production with grapes from out of state when Colorado growers can’t meet demands).
[caption id="attachment_932" align="alignright" width="210" caption="Grape stomp at the 2009 Sunnyside Musicfest"][/caption]
2009: The Stomp That Wasn’t
When the annual Sunnyside Music Festival rolled into the neighborhood in September, Paul had the grand plan to hold a community grape stomp. The idea being the neighborhood could help with the winemaking process for a Sunnyside wine blend. Well, the weather didn’t cooperate, and buckets of rain washed out the attempt — after Paul had dragged everything to the park and set up. “It’s never been attempted again,” Paul says.
Bonacquisti also brought home another gold medal at Colorado Mountain WineFest, for its 2007 Cabernet Franc, the first release of that variatel.
2010: Drinking with Friends
[caption id="attachment_915" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="The Fridays Uncorked series kicked off."][/caption]
If there was ever a reason to raise a glass, it came when Judi was named to the Denver Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list of power players in the community. It was a nod to her career in education and community involvement. Half owner of the winery (“She’s the not-so-silent partner,” Paul says.), Judi has been an integral part in every success the winery has achieved over the years.
Plus, 2010 brought Paul some friends when he convinced three other Colorado wineries — Garfield Estates Vineyard, Verso Cellars and Cottonwood Cellars — to open up satellite tasting rooms, forming Colorado Winery Row, officially anointed in March. This meant tons of parties hosted by all four brands, and the kick-off to the Uncorked series (a party the third Friday of every month). Hosea Rosenburg, the Top Chef season 5 winner, even brought his food truck by.
2011: Off the Tap
[caption id="attachment_817" align="alignright" width="199" caption="d Red on tap!"][/caption]
With an effort to be more green, Paul had been researching keg systems throughout 2010, learning that restaurants setups used to pour fresh beer for decades also worked well for wine. Smaller, 11-liter tanks could keep 15 bottles of wine fresh for up to 60 days. So with tap in hand, Paul began selling his wine out of a keg in early 2011 at several leading Denver restaurants, including Linger and The Garlic Knot.
The winery also opened a satellite tasting room in the Highlands at, of all places, a restaurant. Spuntino, a hot Italian eatery at the corner of 32nd and Clay, uses a Bonacquisti tasting room permit to serve [d] Red, Bella Risa and several other wines alongside the tasty creations of chef Raul Salazar. Spuntino is also home to the monthly Colorado wine and food tasting club, Club Wino, co-founded by the Bonacquisti Wine Co. and Colorado Wino.
In terms of kudos, the accolades rolled in — two more golds at WineFest for the 2008 Cabernet Franc and 2010 Riesling, plus said Franc was named one of five wines to drink right now by the Denver Post.
2012 and Beyond
Bonacquisti plans to keep growing in the foodie haven of northwest Denver, making award-winning wines and keeping the Sunnyside neighborhood properly libated. He’s also trying to make jug wine cool again.
Celebrate 5 Years with Bonacquisti
Open House to celebrate five years in business, 1–5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15 at the winery, 4640 Pecos St., Denver. Live music, free snacks and tasting room specials.
Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more…