I generally avoid writing negative reviews on this site but partaking in a tasting at Valley of the Wind was definitely one of the lowlights of my recent trip to Estes Park. The staff doing the tasting were very curt and didn't seem at all interested in talking about the wine. In fact, a 10 point list is plastered throughout the tasting room warning people that they will be thrown out if they act too snooty about the experience, which surely detracts people from even attempting to ask questions about the wine. At first, I figured the list was a tongue-in-cheek way to tell people to enjoy themselves, but it was clearly meant as a serious warning as everyone there seemed to be devoid of humor. Wine tasting is supposed to be fun, which is something that this location doesn't seem to get.
There were other troubling signs. First, Valley of the Wind doesn't print the vintage on their labels. They claim that this is to cut down on relabeling costs (and all of the associated fees they have to pay to the government), but how in the world are we supposed to know what vintage we are drinking? The taster we talked to simply said that all years are mostly the same. Even a novice wine drinker knows that isn't true. Second, the tasting portions were rather skimpy. After taking one full sip, you were left with only a tiny sip left. In the past, I could usually get two or three full sips out of a tasting glass - otherwise it's hard to differentiate what you just drank as opposed to something else. Third, they served an "Apple Wine" that was good but wasn't quite cold. The taster admitted that it's much colder in the morning when they first open and that's when you should drink it. Why in the world don't they keep it refrigerated throughout the day? Why didn't she tell me that before I selected it for a tasting at 5:00 p.m.?
The only reason I won't give this a "Terrible" rating is because they had an excellent Reisling (the Snowshoe Hare) and Cabernet Savignon (although we only bought one bottle because we were so disappointed with the experience). The location is great - right along the river that runs through Estes Park. I suggest getting a glass of one of those wines and heading out to one of their chairs along the river - you'll have a much better experience than through the tasting and you might even enjoy yourself.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
July 5, 2011
Our tasting room etiquette has been picked up by a company that reviews wineries across the nation. It has been adapted and adopted by several other wineries across the nation. Our experience has been that customers with good manners find the etiquette very funny and those who have bad manners are intimidated. Etiquette rules are there to make everyone feel welcome, especially those who are new to wine and feel intimidated by comments by customers who want everyone in the tasting room to know their opinion.
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The rest of the review by this customer speaks for itself. Evidently he or she came with an agenda to find fault wherever they could. Too bad this person took us sooo seriously. We don't take ourselves that seriously. We have a beautiful setting by the Big Thompson River at the gateway to one of the most beautiful National Parks in our Country. A good glass of wine just makes that experience a lot better.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.