We aren’t claiming to be Napa Valley, but Colorado is still home to many award-winning wines. Sunset Magazine called Colorado “the next wine country.”
While Boulder County itself doesn’t have endless fields of grapes, it does boast its own Colorado-based winemakers, as well as a handful of wine bars and restaurants that have been recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine.
If you’re looking for a reason to tip back a glass of the grape stuff, here are nine of them: the best ways to enjoy wine in and around Boulder, in no particular order.
1. Settembre Cellars, 1501 Lee Hill Road, Unit 16
Settembre Cellars is Boulder’s own winery, producing wine from 100 percent Colorado-grown grapes since 2007.
This winery is run by Blake and Tracy Eliasson (a Boulder native), influenced by winemakers in France and Italy, but with Colorado’s own high-altitude qualities.
See what is offered in the tasting room, open 1-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Order a tasting flight ($10-$15), where each wine comes in its own glass, so you can compare the different tastes, aromas and colors. After you determine your favorite, order a full glass. For something fun, check out Settembre Cellars’ adult coloring events in the tasting room 1-6 p.m. every Sunday.
2. PMG, 2018 10th St.
Pour ma Gueule is a French expression commonly used by winemakers, referring to the wine that they keep for themselves to drink with their loved ones. PMG is a Boulder-based wine bar and restaurant named after that sentiment; the goal is to bring people together to share wine. But you don’t have to be a wine snob to drink here. Anyone is welcome to explore the impressive library of wine (although PMG is not exactly cheap). For people who want to dive deeper into wine culture, there are monthly blind tastings and regular visits by guest winemakers and sommeliers.
3. Sip, 2810 E. College Ave.
Sip isn’t a wine bar, per se. It also serves beer (rotating taps of local craft brew), food (small plates) and cocktails (sangria). But Sip is great for wine by the glass or bottle. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, up by the University of Colorado campus, with a cozy patio space that welcomes dogs. Need a boost after your relaxing drink? Sip has seasonal nitro coffee on tap, too.
4. Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl St.
No one does wine better than Frasca. If you need indisputable proof, this high-end restaurant won the esteemed James Beard Award for its wine service. This restaurant is co-owned by Bobby Stuckey, a master sommelier, who is considered one of the most knowledgeable drink-makers in the state.
Frasca pairs its Northern Italian food perfectly with wine, so well that it has earned accolades by Wine Spectator Magazine. According to the magazine, Frasca’s strong wines are: Piedmont, Tuscany, Italy, Burgundy and champagne. It boasts 800 options, with an impressive inventory of 6,700 bottles.
5. 2020 Food and Wine Bar, 2020 Ionosphere St., Longmont
Head east to Longmont for this wine bar in the quirky and colorful Prospect New Town neighborhood. (No, seriously, drive through this weird development.) This wine bar serves wine flights on a Euro-inspired patio. Fill up with artisan pizza and other plates (bacon-wrapped dates, banana coconut meringue cake) in this casual but highly-rated restaurant. There’s even craft beer for the non-wine-drinkers. Grab a seat on the patio in warmer weather, or at the bar to watch the chef cook. Bonus: All wine bottles are half off on Mondays and Tuesdays.
6. Flagstaff House, 1138 Flagstaff Road
One of the best places to visit in Boulder, Flagstaff House is one of Boulder’s best restaurants with Boulder’s best view, and its wine pairings are just as impressive. Wine Spectator has awarded Flagstaff House its highest honor, the Grand Award (fewer than 100 of these awards are given per year worldwide) every year for 32 years in a row. It has some extremely high-end wines in its multiple wine cellars housing about 20,000 bottles — the biggest wine collection in Colorado. Flagstaff House’s selection of 2,900 wines is so big that each guest is given a tablet to search the menu. According to Wine Spectator, this restaurant’s wine strengths are: Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Italy, champagne, Rhône, Australia and Port.
7. Por Wine House, 836 1/2 Main St., Louisville
Venture to east Boulder County for this rustic but hip wine house. Por is located on Main Street in downtown Louisville but feels like it was plucked straight out of Europe. Grab a seat on the cute patio and ask the on-staff sommelier for a recommendation. The restaurant has wine on tap, with 14 wines to choose from. It’s no 2,900-bottle selection, but Por curates some great wines that are popular among Louisville residents.
8. Bin 46, 600 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont
Longmont loves wine, apparently, because this town has multiple wine houses. Bin 46 Wine Bar and Restaurant in downtown Longmont nicely pairs wine with contemporary American food made with seasonal ingredients. Bin 46 regularly holds wine-related events, like meet and greets with representatives from Napa Valley and other wineries, as well as wine flights and tasting menus. After your wine dinner, walk around Roosevelt Park, located right out the door. Bonus: Get half off your bottle of wine on Wednesdays, and catch live music Saturday nights.
9. Bookcliff Vineyards, 1501 Lee Hill Road, Unit 17
Bookcliff is another Boulder-based wine-maker — and a force to reckon with. It boasts 17 gold and double medals and best of shows for its wines, making it one of Colorado’s most notable wineries. Bookcliff makes 10 wines, which you can try in the tasting room, open 1-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Bookcliff also holds special events, like wine dinners.
Visit Bookcliff during the First Friday NoBo art walks, the first Fridays of nearly every month from about 6-9 p.m. For $7, you can sip wine, meet the wine-makers and enjoy local art. Oh, and there are tasty empanadas to munch on. Another fun event is Be A Winemaker For a Day. This year on June 10 from 2:30-5 p.m., you will learn about creating a red blend and make your own to take home. You even get to design your own label.
Also catch popular attractions in Boulder at Bookcliff at various festivals and markets throughout the state, such as the Colorado Mountain Winefest in September in Palisade, and of course, the Boulder Farmers Market (in both Longmont and Boulder). Bookcliff even is a vendor at the Vail Farmers Market every Sunday, June through September.
- Decadent Saint, 1501 Lee Hill Drive in Boulder, makes yummy cocktail mixers and also makes wines and reserve wines. Don’t miss the What We Love The Winery Chardonnay.
- Boulder Wine Studios encourages you to experience three Boulder wineries in one afternoon: Settembre Cellars, Bookcliff and What We Love The Winery/Decadent Saint.
- Jill’s Restaurant and Bistro, 900 Walnut St., located inside the St. Julien Hotel and Spa has earned Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.
- Brasserie Tenten, 1011 Walnut St., has also received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.
- Black Cat, 1964 13th St., has been recognized by Wine Spectator for its biodynamic wines. It has earned a Best of Award of Excellence since 2012.
- Posh Splat, 2035 Broadway, is a fun wine and paint place, where you can sip wine while doing a step-by-step group painting.
- Inks and Drinks, 1 W. Flatiron Crossing Drive, Unit 104, Broomfield, is another nearby wine-and-paint studio.