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April 19, 2007 - Showing Denver the World Through a Wine Glass

What: Denver Chapter of the American Wine Society tasting event

Where: The Denver Athletic Club

When: Thursday, April 19

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $50

Host(s): Shultz Hartgrove

Master of Ceremonies: Shultz Hartgrove and Joe Hubbard

Honoree(s): Bill Phelps, President of the Joseph Phelps Winery

President(s): Shultz Hartgrove

Introductions: Shultz Hartgrove and Joe Hubbard

Welcome: Shultz Hartgrove and Joe Hubbard

Speaker: Bill Phelps

Libations: Eight varities of Phelps wine - six of them red wines

Catering: Denver Athletic Club

Of note: The Denver Chapter is an education chapter advocating drinking responsibly and sampling with discretion.

Quote of the evening: from Shultz Hartgrove, "My wine epiphany actually happened with a Joseph Phelps wine. I really don't remember the meal, but I remember the wine: Insiginia - a bottle of Bill and his Dad's wine. Once I tasted that, I got it."

Menu: penne and bow-tie pasta with marinara or alfredo sauce

Attendance: 80

Attire: business casual

Special Thanks: The Joseph Phelps Winery and longtime Phelps friends, the Lutz family of Denver

Event Coordinator: Earl Carlheim

Blacktie Photos by: Casey Bradley Gent


 Chapter president Shultz Hartgrove, left, with Bill Phelps and Joe Hubbard
Chapter president Shultz Hartgrove, left, with Bill Phelps and Joe Hubbard

A Colorado wine legend, who moved to California's Napa Valley, was back in Denver this week. Bill Phelps, second generation wine maker from the Joseph Phelps winery, was the guest of honor at the Denver Chapter of The American Wine Society's (AWS) tasting event at the Denver Athletic Club Thursday evening.

"I'm honored to be back in Denver this evening," Phelps exclaimed. "I've got some good friends and family here this evening. This is really an old home to me." Once a contractor in Greeley, Colorado, and a graduate of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Phelps picked up his Colorado roots nearly a decade ago to join his father Joe in the Phelps winery tradition of "excellence from the ground up."

During the event on Thursday evening, the Phelps winery provided eight wines for tasting. Of the eight wines available, six of them were red. Phelps explained that 90 to 93% of his vineyard's production is red wine. Founded in 1972, the Joseph Phelps winery is a redwood winery overlooking the town of St. Helena and The Mayacamas mountains to the west. Joseph Phelps, along with the Robert Mondavi family, was one of the first Napa Valley entrepreneurs to develop a family vineyard there in the 1970s.

Bill Phelps explained that today, more than thirty years after the vineyard's inception, his family's winery produces 65,000 to 80,000 cases of wine annually. Upon introducing Bill Phelps to the Denver Chapter of the AWS, board member Joe Hubbard called Phelps a "Colorado wine legend."

Hubbard and Denver Chapter president, Shultz Hartgrove, encouraged membership in the Denver Chapter of the American Wine Society, explaining that it is the 5th largest chapter in the United States.

The American Wine Society was organized in 1967 as a non-profit, educational, consumer-oriented organization for those interested in learning more about all aspects of wine. Through a system of a board of directors, an executive director, regional vice presidents, and chapter chairman, the Society has grown into a nation-wide organization of amateur grape growers, winemakers, and wine appreciators interested in learning more about the history, production, appreciation, and use of wines. Individuals interested in learning more about the AWS should visit: www.aws-denver.org.

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