PALISADE, Colo — September 17th – 20th was supposed to be the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade, but unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic the festival was canceled. That week is usually a profitable time for many Palisade wineries, but since it is not happening, those wineries are worried about their businesses during the late fall and winter.
The COVID-19 pandemic already has wineries looking different than years past. For instance, Maison La Belle Vie Winery no longer offers wine tastings, and instead, the winery serves wine flights. The wineries are also following the virus safety precautions, such as face coverings and sanitizing. However, the precautions have affected some wineries’ revenue. Davy Price, co-owner of De Beque Canyon Winery, says, “we just don’t know what else we can do because we still are in a situation where we have to do distancing, so we can’t bring a bunch of people into the winery.”
So, add the festival cancellation into the mix, and considering the profit wineries are losing, everyone is forced to make big business changes. John Barbier, owner of Maison La Belle Vie Winery, says his business has relied heavy on its food menu, and so, he has decided for the restaurant to stay open this winter.
Still, many other wineries do not see as many customers in the winter, so the wine festival cancellation is even more challenging for smaller wineries.
Price says, “we have no clue how the fall is going to play out. We are worried about it because we have lost so much income that applies to our reserve to get through the year.”
However, smaller wineries, like De Beque Canyon Winery, are trying to stay positive. They are also prepared to cater people who are still planning on visiting Palisade this weekend or next weekend to tour the wineries and the vineyards. Price says, “hopefully people recapture a little bit of the fun that they have had in the past.”
And despite the current cancellation and devastation the dates for Winefest 2021 are already set. It’ll take place September 16th – 19th, 2021. But in the meantime, the Palisade wineries are currently open for anyone to tour and taste.