This week marks the fourth annual Colorado Natural Wine Week. For the next five days, Denver will welcome natural winemakers to celebrate winemaking in its purest form — no additives, chemicals or over-processing.
“Basically, natural wines are ones that have the least amount of human interaction possible,” explained Troy Bowen, the co-vice president of the Colorado Natural Wine Connoisseurship. “Natural winemakers are just trying to chaperone the grapes into a bottle and let them speak for themselves.”
The event has grown each year since Bowen co-founded it, but this is the first year that it will host the actual winemakers instead of sales reps from each vineyard. There will be makers from nine natural wine vineyards — representing Italy, Spain, France, Oregon, California and Colorado.
“Denver is such a conscientious town,” Bowen said. “We exercise, we care what we put into our bodies. Natural Wine Week is just an extension of that.”
So what are “natural” wines, anyway? Bowen explained that the most common misconception is that they’re the same as organic wines. The term “organic” applies to the grapes in the vineyard, but “natural” refers to the process that occurs after. After being picked, organic grapes can be altered significantly — for coloring, taste, body — and still be called organic. Natural wines, however, avoid all of the manipulation and processing that occurs post-harvest.
“Natural wines are not trying to fix anything,” Bowen said. “They’re just letting the grape do what it wants to do. It makes for fun, vicious wines that are full of character. Some wines you sip and can tell that it was a boardroom decision to make that wine. These wines have something real to say. It’s years’ worth of weather and experiences in a bottle.”
If you’re looking to expand your horizons and dip into wine in its purest form, check out some of these Colorado Natural Wine Week events that are open to the public in the upcoming days.
Boulder Natural Wine Crawl
What: Tuesday, April 18, starting at 5 p.m.
Where: Across downtown Boulder — details below
Cost: No entry fee, price per glass
The Lowdown: Meet the winemakers and taste their wines as you “crawl” between a few of Boulder’s best — PMG, Arcana and Oak at Fourteenth. Each spot will host a few of the week’s winemakers, snacks and special pricing on each wine. You can also pick up a Natural Wine Crawl passport — if you get all the stamps, you’ll be entered to win various goodies from the organization. For more information on which maker will be stationed where, click here.
The Grand Showcase
What: Wednesday, April 19, 4:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Space Gallery — 400 Sante Fe Dr., Denver
Cost: $39 per person, $75 per couple — tickets here.
The Lowdown: 200 wines will be at your fingertips for $39. This Grand Showcase tasting event is open to the public and features wines, winemakers, winery owners, importers and representatives from Artadi, Domaine Marcel Deiss, Fattoria Poggerino, Jack Rabbit Hill, Cooper Hill, Ovum, Scribe Craft Wine Company, Kermit Lynch, Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Becky Wasserman & Co, Louis-Dressner Selections, Jenny & François, Domaine Select and more. Bonus: a new batch of tickets was just released today, so jump on it before they’re gone again.
The Wine Dive
What: Thursday, April 20, 6 p.m. until close
Where: Vesper Lounge — 233 East 7th Ave., Denver
Cost: Free entry, all wine will be $8/glass
The Lowdown: For one night only, Vesper Lounge will be transformed into a natural wine bar. Sip on $8 glasses of wine all evening guilt-free — it’s for charity. All the proceeds from the event will be donated to Water for People, a non-profit bringing safe and sanitized water to four million people across nine countries.
In addition to these three events, restaurants and wine shops across the city will host tasting events and dinners in celebration of these natural winemakers throughout the week. Participants include The Populist, Hop Alley, Rioja and more. For a full list of those, click here.
“This is more than distributors trying to push product — it’s winemakers who have a common passion and interest and want to educate the community as a whole,” Bowen said. “We value their passion so much, and we just really want it to be translated into these events.”
For more information on Colorado Natural Wine Week and its events, click here.