Denver After Dark: best wineries
Urban wine bars are open for business; here’s where to go.
Even though Colorado might be best known as craft-beer country, wine hasn’t gone out of fashion.
“Sometimes, we think that wineries are only in Napa and Sonoma, when in actuality they’re on Pecos Street, on Larimer Street and on 7th and Logan,” said Chef Jackson Lamb, professor in Metropolitan State University of Denver’s School of Hospitality.
Great products are being made locally, Lamb added. “Restaurants, too, are getting more aggressive in the wines they’re offering,” he said. “I’m seeing fun wines on wine lists.”
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Plus, ordering wine at a winery or wine bar is a great opportunity to try something new. “We shouldn’t get hung up on the label that we’re so familiar with,” Lamb said. “Instead, we should be looking at every glass of wine we consume as an experience.”
Look beyond the pint glass this summer and check out these chef-approved Denver wine bars and wineries for places to meet, sip and reconnect.
3563 Wazee St.
This approachable urban winery is part restaurant, part winery and part events venue, with a robust tap system and a membership good for one free wine-growler fill each month. For those curious about wine blending, a “Winemaker for a Day” custom blending session is great for a group.
Carboy likens its operation to the “Wild West of American Winemaking.” Carboy sources grapes, juices and single-varietal wines from Colorado and winemaking regions around the country. Visit its Denver or Littleton location for a local experience or head farther west to the Breckenridge or Palisade tasting room.
Blanchard Family Wines
1855 Blake St. #120
Blanchard Family Wines sits in one of the most pleasant locations in the heart of Denver. Walk through the breezy, art-filled Dairy Block and order a flight in the airy tasting room or sip on the patio for prime people-watching. Blanchard’s small-batch wines are from vineyards in California and Colorado, and eight of them are available on tap.
9608 E. Arapahoe Road
Located in the Denver Tech Center, InVINtions Winery is owned and operated by third- and fourth-generation Coloradans producing wine with grapes from all over the world. Stop by the ample tasting room for low-sulfite, low-chemical wine without the residual headache.
4640 N. Pecos St. Unit I
This family-owned urban winery welcomes guests into its warm, eclectic warehouse space in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Its goal is to eliminate the elitism that sometimes stains the wine world. A good place to start is joining its wine club — members get free tastings and complimentary entry into wine-release parties.
1946 E. 66th Ave.
A family- owned and operated winery on the north side of town, Balistreri makes natural wine from Colorado-grown grapes. Sip one alongside one of its seasonal dishes on the picturesque patio. Book a tour of the cellar and winemaking areas or treat yourself to a ticketed barrel-tasting dinner for a wine-centric night out.
Infinite Monkey Theorem
3200 Larimer St.
One of Denver’s most recognizable wine brands (look for the face of a friendly primate on the label), Infinite Monkey Theorem is one of the mainstays of Denver’s RiNo Art District in Five Points. Enjoy wine by the glass, bottle or can. For a deeper dive, book a guided tour.
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La Bouche Wine Bar
1100 E. 17th Ave.
Be sure not to “fermer la bouche” (that’s French for “close your mouth”) at this newer spot in Uptown Denver. Blending French and American cultures, this Parisian-style wine bar is firmly planted in Colorado’s outdoors- and dog-loving universe. Pair your wine with a meat or cheese board or visit during brunch for a quiche Lorraine and sparkling wine.
1336 27th St.
Noble Riot serves high-quality, small-batch, natural wine from independent winemakers in a space that feels hip and inviting. Opened in April 2019, this alleyway wine bar weathered the pandemic with creative energy — it started serving take-out fried chicken and still does. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it, like trying something off its “Weirdo Bubbs” list.