You're allowed to drink any wine varietal at Wine Around Colorado - even the merlot.
"We say drink what you like," said Cassidee Shull, executive director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology, which puts on the event. "If you like sweet wine, there will be sweet wines. There'll be ports. We have Talon wine brands that owns three labels that makes mead, which is a honey wine. We have a little something for everybody."
More than 30 wineries around the state will participate in the second annual wine tasting being held over two weekends - Saturday and Sunday and May 6-7. Wineries include Decadent Saint in Boulder, Snowy Peaks Winery in Estes Park, Kingman Estates Winery in Denver, Leroux Creek Vineyards in Hotchkiss, Talon Winery in Palisade, Turquoise Mesa Winery in Broomfield and Two Rivers Winery in Grand Junction.
There's no need to check in; visitors can pop by any participating winery and enjoy unlimited wine and barrel tastings, vertical tastings, specialty wines, food samples, food for sale and live music.
"We started it as a new fun way to participate in drinking Colorado wine, getting folks into wineries and as a way to kick off the festival season," said Shull.
Last year a few hundred oenophiles came out each weekend. Many chose to participate in both weekends, focusing on Front Range wineries one weekend and the Western Slope the next.
Folks who might not think of Colorado as wine-making country are in for a surprise - the state has more than 140 wineries. It's a different wine tasting experience than one might find in California or Oregon, but one Shull considers just as good, if not better due in no small part to the chance tasters have at interacting with the winemaker and winery owners. She's also a fan of the flavor.
"We have a different terroir," Shull said. "We grow great cold hearties like cabernet franc, riesling, gewürztraminer. Over 85 percent of grapes grown were in Palisade; they're grown in the Western Slope."
The big challenge in Colorado is, of course, the weather. Unpredictable late and early frosts can wreak havoc on crops. This year, said Shull, looks like a good one due to the early warm spring temperatures.