No longer connoting exclusivity or snobbery, wine is increasingly affordable and more widely available these days. Information about wines also is more easily obtainable and it shows.
A 2006 study by the Wine Market Council supports the findings of a 2005 Gallup poll showing that more men are drinking wine, as are more young people, and that, overall, more adults are being lured into oenophilia.
Whether you're new to wine or a regular looking for camaraderie, Colorado Springs is home to a variety of wine-tasting events. The following will get you started. Be sure to check the Indy's Listings calendar weekly for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information.
The Blue Star (1645 S. Tejon St., 632-1086, thebluestar.net) hosts weekly tastings and monthly wine dinners. A French red wine tasting is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 ($15). Also, Sunday nights here are popular for half-priced specials on both glasses and bottles.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St., 634-5581, csfineartscenter.org) hosts "First Thursday" tastings with live music on the first Thursday of each month. Coaltrain Wine & Liquor sponsors the "teaching tasting" of four wines, and Cravings serves accompanying appetizers ($8 for FAC members, $12 for non-members). The next tasting will take place at 5 p.m. on March 2.
Coming up on March 10 and 11 is the 15th annual Wine Festival of Colorado Springs, a benefit for the FAC, with events at various locations across town. They include wine seminars, a grand tasting at The Broadmoor's Colorado Hall and the Gourmet Winemaker Dinner and Live Auction at Garden of the Gods Club. For reservations and more information, call 477-4371 or visit csfineartscenter.org/event.htm.
Experience Wine, a wine-advocacy group, regularly presents programs at Mimi's Caf (7133 N. Academy Blvd., 282-8688, mimiscafe.com). "White Wine, Please," for vino blanco aficionados, will be offered at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, for $45 per person and $80 per couple. For the novice wine drinker, "A Friendly Introduction to Wine," at 5:30 p.m. on March 5, will run $30 per person and $50 per couple. Both include four wines, appetizers and a wine "textbook." Check out experiencewine.net for more.
The next wine dinner at Gertrude's Restaurant (2625 W. Colorado Ave., 471-0887, gertrudesrestaurant.com) is "Pinot Evil" at 6 p.m. on March 27. It includes eight wines and four courses for $49 per person.
Sencha (331 S. Nevada Ave., 632-8287, sencha-restaurant.com) puts a literary twist on the traditional wine dinner, serving up five courses and paired wines with a theatrical dinner reading. Coming up: Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25, Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate); and March 24 and March 25, Exodus. Seating for all four dinners starts at 6 p.m., and the cost is $65. Seating will book fully, so call early.
The Warehouse Restaurant (25 W. Cimarron St., 475-8880, thewarehouserestaurant.com) offers tastings the first Tuesday of each month that include six wines and appetizers. Selections from France's Rhone region will be highlighted at 7 p.m. on March 7 ($25). The restaurant also serves wine dinners five courses paired with five wines every third Saturday of the month. New Orleans/Cajun is the flavor for 6:30 p.m. on March 18 ($50).
Or sign up to host a tasting in your own home through The Traveling Vineyard. Visit thetravelingvineyard.com to find a consultant in your area who will come to your home to teach you and your guests about various wines.