Owner and senior wine instructor Dani Cross created VinBoutique with a mission to introduce palates to the best French wines. A certified level-III sommelier, Cross personally travels to France to hand-pick vintages from small production companies and develop relationships with local vintners, ensuring her customers enjoy a collection of reds, whites, and bubbly that is exceptional not just in craftsmanship and taste, but also in value. "By tasting my wines, you can actually hone your palate way quicker because [the wines are] technically correct" in the way they are selected, shipped, and stored, she says. "If you're not tasting something that's proper, you won't know what chardonnay is supposed to taste like."
A strong belief that wine should be enjoyed and shared with others inspires VinBoutique's tasting classes, where Cross and other wine experts share insights into different varietals, food pairings, and wine-making techniques. Hosted at local restaurants––including Crave Dessert Bar and Randolph's at the Warwick Hotel––each class includes a light food pairing designed specifically for the tasting, where chefs join in to offer their own unique insights into the relationship between vino and victual. Using an approach designed to be both fun and unintimidating, Cross also includes a question-and-answer section, as well as easy-to-follow tasting notes, making her classes accessible to everyone from the casual wine fan to the connoisseur who can uncork a bottle using only their mind. As Dani continued to try new wines and savor her favorite French vintages, she became dismayed. Often, the wines she bought had been stored improperly or for too long, destroying the bouquets and noses that she loved. "Born of frustration, I decided to start my own [wine boutique]." And thus she curated a selection of French wines for VinBoutique. "By tasting my wines, you can actually hone your palate way quicker because [the wines are] technically correct" in the way they are selected, shipped, and stored, she says. "If you're not tasting something that's proper, you won't know what chardonnay is supposed to taste like."
In addition to bottles of red, white, and bubbly, Dani and a team of instructors offer wine classes suitable for everyone from the casual wine fan to the connoisseur who can uncork a bottle using only their mind. Each class comes with notes and take-home materials, and is taught by a teacher who can both go into great technical detail or give thorough overviews so that student's don’t "get cross-eyed."
For nearly 60 years, the Arapahoe Philharmonic has played the classical music of historical composers and modern musicians to audiences around Denver. The orchestra's Spring Pops Gala will feature the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the American songwriting duo whose musicals, including The Sound of Music and The King and I, have won a slew of Tony, Oscar, and Grammy awards. VIP ticket holders can slip in early for a Two Rivers wine tasting at 6:00 p.m., enjoying sips of vino and a variety of hors d’oeuvres. Curiosity-seekers can caravan a short safari through the animal- and plant-life exhibits of The Wildlife Experience museum, taking care to park impatient camels outside the venue before settling back into the reserved-seating area for a sonic adventure with the orchestra.
A relaxing trip to Colorado's high country is disarmingly full of nature's beauty. The scene is replete with birdsong cascading from the skies, trees rustling gently in the breeze, and the roar of a V10 engine and its 500 horsepower screaming from a pearl yellow Lamborghini Gallardo as it rips shreds through time and space.
That's a scene most familiar to Exotic Drives of Denver, which sends its customers swooping and soaring around curves behind the wheels of exotic cars. Along with the pearl-yellow Lamborghini, the company's fleet walks tall with a Ferrari and three Porsches whose motors purr in harmony to classic barbershop quartet songs after the last mechanic leaves for the night. Four routes—ranging from 11 miles to nearly 50 miles—give drivers plenty of opportunity to zip around different neighborhoods, including Denver's southeast metro area and the rural roads of Douglas County.
Sgt. Peppers Photography Studio employs the art of portraiture to capture personalities. High-school seniors strike poses in the Littleton location's contemporary indoor area or in the awe-inspiring flora of a private garden. On-location shoots backdrop family portraits—ideal for sending out with annual Groundhog Day cards—with the crystalline waters of Chatfield Lake and the Platte River or rocky faces of Castlewood Canyon. The seasoned snapshot wranglers consult with clients beforehand to hammer out every detail of the shoot, from flattering garb to complementary color schemes. Staffers also channel their expertise into photography classes that build up students' repertoire of info about readying workstations, tweaking preferences, and cropping out blurred high-speed car chases from the backgrounds of engagement photos.
Like an orchestra director using a homemade candle for a baton, Carmen Daumer conducts craft-making classes covering paper art, book folding, and coffee and tea. With only a few types of materials, a whole world of creation opens up—paper flowers, transformed mason jars, and folding arts outside of origami.
A year after Scott Kerkmans created the role of Chief Beer Officer for the Four Points by Sheraton hotels, it began to get around that Denver was the "Napa Valley of Beer." As NPR later reports, the rumor is a culmination of a life spent steeped in beer culture. Before creating Colorado Beer Week and beating out more than 7,000 applicants for the title of CBO, Kerkmans was on the production side at Alaskan Brewing Company. He’s since authored articles for Draft Magazine, taught at Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, and judged burped renditions of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Great American Beer Festival. He shares his taste in microbrews with more than 140 hotels and restaurants worldwide through the Four Point's beer program, but keeps his feet planted firmly on his home turf during his nine-day spring festival, which highlights the finest pours from Colorado breweries including New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Ska Brewing Company.