Colorado in general and the Denver area in particular is known for its great microbreweries and breweries, but it’s also a place where locals know and love their wine. Colorado passed a law several years ago allowing wine and liquor stores to hold in-store wine tastings. Customers can taste four 1-ounce samples (4 ounces total per tasting) of wine, beer or spirits. Many stores pride themselves on offering wines in small quantities that may not be available elsewhere in the metropolitan area.
Knowledgeable staff members can guide customers through the tasting process and also discuss the grapes, the terroir where they were grown, and the winemaker’s approach.
Here are some stores in the metro area that offer FREE wine tastings (sometimes including cheese and crackers or other small bites as well).
Our top picks:
The Boulder Wine Merchant
If you have seen the film “Somm”, you have an idea of the rigor of the examination of Master Sommelier. There are currently only 56 of these elite wine experts in the entire United States.
And two of them founded The Boulder Wine Merchant, Wayne Belding and Sally Mohr, who became the second woman to achieve this status.
In 2010, the torch passed when fellow Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman purchased the store. It is known for its knowledgeable staff and for selling only fine, carefully selected wines at surprisingly reasonable and always fair prices.
Rare wines are secured at the back of the store. Wednesdays, 5-7 p.m. 2690 Broadway, Boulder.
Divino Wines & Spirits
This shop dropped anchor on South Broadway in Denver before South Broadway was really cool. In fact, we think Divino has elevated the street in the eyes of wine connoisseurs, beer lovers, and others who appreciate the diverse selection of adult beverages and the good life they represent.
The space is long and narrow with wine bottles on custom light wood shelves on either side, so when you walk through, you’ll feel like you’re in a tunnel of wine. Also be sure to check out the store’s unique wine posters.
Tastings take place on random Saturdays each month, check Instagram @divino_wine_spirits for dates and times. 1240 S. Broadway, Denver.
This is the original neighborhood wine store in the booming Highlands district. This spacious convenience store has quickly become known for a good selection of wines from German-speaking countries and Eastern Europe which are vastly under-represented in this country.
Tucked away at the back of the store is the vaulted “cellar” where the rarest wines are kept. See you on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a taste of what’s new and what’s new. 3601 W. 32nd Ave, Denver.
Spero Wine Estate
This is a family owned and operated location just outside of North Denver. The winery was founded by Clyde Spero, who learned to make wine from his father Gaetano.
As a teenager, Gaetano left his hometown of Potenza, Italy and traveled until he found himself in Colorado. He started working in the mines in southern Colorado.
Eventually, Gaetano began making his family’s annual wine cache, teaching his son along the way. In 1999, Clyde opened his small winery, finally serving his family’s wine with other people. Taste the wines for free every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 3316 W. 64th Ave.
Find more free wine tastings
Amore VinoEnglewood. First and third Saturday of the month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 10111 Main Street of Inverness
Argonaut wines and liqueursDenver. Irregularly scheduled tastings; click “Events” on the store’s homepage or call 303-831-7788. 760 E. Colfax Ave.
Bevy’s Liquor WorldLittleton. To come on license hold, check the website or call 303-551-7000 for updates. 5869 S Alkire St.
World of bubble liquorsStone Castle. Several Fridays from 3-5 p.m. Check if they are hosting by calling 303-468-8100. 675 Way of Genoa.
Davidsons Beers, wines and spiritsHighland Ranch. Fridays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. 5555 Boatworks Dr.
Hazel’s World of BeveragesBoulder. Starting August 5, 2022, call 303-447-1955 for details. 1955 Pearl Street.
Heritage wines and spiritsCentenary. Saturdays 2-4pm Heritage Place Shopping Centre. 7475 E. Arapahoe Rd.
Amazing wines and spirits, Village of Greenwood. Fridays, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.. and Saturday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Arapahoe Marketplace, 8557 E Arapahoe Rd.
King SoopersGlendale. Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 4600 Leetsdale Drive
Molly’s SpiritsDenver. Tastings are random, check the website under “Events” to find out what and when. 5809 W. 44th Ave.
Pearl Wine Co.Denver. Tastings on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. 1886 S. Pearl Street
Whole Foods Wines & SpiritsBoulder. Wednesdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.. (in collaboration with the grocery section of the market) and Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.. (can be wine, beer or spirits). 2905 Pearl Street.
World Market, Cherry Creek/Glendale. Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Includes a small snack at the wine shop and once a month more samples at the main store. At Skyline Plaza, 770 S. Colorado Blvd., 303-758-0530.
In addition, tasting rooms at Front Range Vineyards (not vineyards where the grapes are grown but wineries where the wines are made) offer samples of their own wines.