Sure, the full Colorado wine tasting experience usually requires a trip to Palisade or another Western Slope location, but leaving Denver is not a requisite to enjoying local wine. Four full-scale wineries and a handful of tasting rooms all boast Denver addresses, meaning it may only take a quick cab ride to get to the closest Colorado wine sipping destination.
Colorado Winery Row
What started as Paul Bonacquisti's dream to be a Denver winemaker in 2006 has spurred into the most comprehensive tasting room experience along the Front Range. In the spring of 2010, four other wineries -- from Garfield Estate Cellars, Cottonwood Cellars, The Olathe Winery and Verso Cellars -- opened auxiliary tasting rooms in the industrial complex that houses the Bonacquisti Wine Co. Now on any given day, visitors can sample up to 40 Colorado wines. Bonacquisti remains the main draw as the only operating winery on the row and when it's not too busy, it's pretty easy to get the winemaker himself to offer a quick tour of the facility. General hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. 4640 Pecos Ave., 303-477-9463
Infinite Monkey Theorem
The Infinite Monkey Theorem's cache comes in large part to its snazzy packaging and stellar wines (multiple mentions in national media, including high rankings in Wine Spectator), but it is bolstered by its winery in the gritty Santa Fe Arts District. A refurbished Quonset hut serves as the winemaking digs and a massive graffiti mural of the Infinite Monkey himself (it's actually a chimp) dons the outside. Visits cost $50 a person for a two-hour tour that includes numerous barrel tastings and is led by winemaker Ben Parsons. Tasting and tours by appointment only. 931 W. 5th Ave., 970-260-0710
Sometimes it takes crossing a railroad track and passing a few industrial parks to get to wine country. Balistreri Vineyards, located in north Denver, is a winery and tasting room set in a country oasis in the middle of an industrially developed section of the city. The Balistreris have become an integral part of the Denver wine and food community, and all it takes is a visit to the tasting room to understand why. The always friendly winemaker John Balistreri is often in the tasting room, pouring any number of his almost two dozen offerings ranging from Italian-style traditional reds to dessert and fruit wines. The tasting room is open daily. 1946 E. 66th Ave., 303-287-5156
Every region needs a classic Italian winemaker. Enter Clyde Spero and his Spero Winery in north Denver. There's even a vineyard at the winery that has been producing vintages since 2000. Yes, there is an actual vineyard in Denver. The Denver grapes, however, only produce small lots, and the winery sources everything else from either Grand Valley or other growing regions throughout the country. The tasting room is open 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. 3316 W. 64th Ave., 720-519-1506