Colorado in general and the Denver area in particular have become known for great microbrews and brewpubs, but this is also a place where locals know and love their wine. Colorado passed a law several years ago allowing wine and liquor stores to conduct in-store wine tastings. Customers may taste four 1-ounce samples (4 ounces total per tasting) of wine, beer or spirits. Many shops pride themselves on carrying small-batch wines that may not be available elsewhere in the metro area.
Knowledgeable staffers can guide customers through the tasting process and also discuss the grapes, the terroir where they were grown and the winemaker’s approach.
Below are some metro area stores that offer FREE wine tastings (sometimes including cheese and crackers or other small bites, too).
Our top picks:
If you saw the film “Somm,” you have an idea of how rigorous the examination for Master Sommelier is. There are currently only 56 of these elite wine experts in all of the United States.
And two of them established The Boulder Wine Merchant, Wayne Belding and Sally Mohr, who became only 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 good, carefully selected wines at surprisingly reasonable, and always, fair prices.
The rare wines are secured in the back of the store. Wednesdays, 5 to 7 p.m. 2690 Broadway, Boulder.
This shop dropped anchor on Denver’s South Broadway before South Broadway was really cool. In fact, we think that Divino elevated the street in the eyes of wine connoisseurs, beer aficionados and others who appreciate the diverse selection of adult beverages and the good life they represent.
The space is long and narrow with wine racked on custom light wood shelves on either side, so when you walk through you’ll feel as if you are in a tunnel of wine. Make sure to also check out the shop’s unique wine posters.
Tastings happen 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 burgeoning Highlands ‘hood. This spacious corner store gained renown early on for a good selection of the wines from the German-speaking countries and eastern Europe that are largely underrepresented in this country.
Tucked into the back of the store is the vaulted “cave,” where the rarest wines are found. Come by Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a taste of what’s new and noteworthy. 3601 W. 32nd Ave., Denver.
This is a family-owned-and-operated spot right on the edge of North Denver. The winery was started by Clyde Spero, who learned to make wine from his father Gaetano.
When just a teenager, Gaetano left his hometown of Potenza, Italy and traveled until found himself in Colorado. He started working in the mines in Southern Colorado.
Eventually Gaetano started making his family’s cache of yearly wine, teaching his son along the way. In 1999 Clyde opened his small winery, finally serving the vino of his family with other people. Sample the wines for free each Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. 3316 W. 64th Ave.
Find More Free Wine Tastings
Amore Vino, Englewood. First and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 4 p.m. 10111 Inverness Main St.
Argonaut Wine & Liquor, Denver. Irregularly scheduled tastings; click on “Events” on the store’s home page or call 303-831-7788. 760 E. Colfax Ave.
Bevy’s Liquor World, Littleton. To come pending license, check the website or call 303-551-7000 for updates. 5869 S Alkire St.
Bubbles Liquor World, Castle Rock. Many Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. Double check if they are hosting by calling 303-468-8100. 675 Genoa Way.
Davidsons Beer, Wine & Spirits, Highlands Ranch. Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. 5555 Boatworks Dr.
Hazel’s Beverage World, Boulder. Starting back after August 5, 2022, call 303-447-1955 for details. 1955 Pearl St.
Heritage Wine & Liquor, Centennial. Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Heritage Place Shopping Center. 7475 E. Arapahoe Rd.
Incredible Wine & Spirits, Greenwood Village. Fridays, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Arapahoe Marketplace Shopping Center, 8557 E Arapahoe Rd.
King Soopers, Glendale. Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 6 p.m. 4600 Leetsdale Dr.
Molly’s Spirits, Denver. 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 to 7 p.m. 1886 S. Pearl St.
Whole Foods Wine & Spirits, Boulder. Wednesdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (in conjunction with the grocery section of the market) and Saturdays, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. (may be wine, beer or spirits). 2905 Pearl St.
World Market, Cherry Creek/Glendale. Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Includes small snack in the wine shop and once a month, more samples in the main store. At Skyline Plaza, 770 S. Colorado Blvd., 303-758-0530.
In addition, tasting rooms at Front Range wineries (not vineyards where grapes are grown but wineries where wines are made) offer samples of their own wines.