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. 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."
At Mile High Pole Club, flirty fitness moves on poles and chairs do more than just build muscle and flexibility. They also build a sense of empowerment in their students, one that stems both from the accessibility of the classes and the emotional bond formed between students. Co-owner Lauren Saenz says that one of her favorite parts of pole fitness is the attainability of "mini-goals… It's not like [training for] a marathon" and having a single, daunting aim. With pole fitness, "you can really accomplish one [goal] per class… which is fun." Five classes sorted from intro to "vixen" send women of all shapes, sizes, and fingertip stickiness up and around stainless steel poles to learn tricks catered to each skill level. The intimate atmosphere also makes for strong class camaraderie. "My students confide in me," Saenz says. "Everyone seems to have something going on in their life that they're not happy about," and they use pole classes as "an emotional outlet." But blowing off steam is fun at Mile High; in an interview with CNTV, Dionne, an instructor, says that pole fitness isn't all sultry moves and intense workouts. "Women in here are laughing."
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.
UFC Gym?s four fight-centric Denver-area gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, UFC Gym sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym?s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.
Owner Jennifer Schroeder began crafting her own all-natural products in high school and, one career later, now heads a team of skincare mavens who give kitchen chemists the tools to create their own spa experiences. Demonstration lectures form a compact introduction to a single process and leave students with a product sample to take home and touch up aging portraits of great-great-grandparents, and workshops plunge all hands into the fundamentals of gel-based anti-aging serums, exfoliating sugar scrubs, or herbal soaps. The small-group classes focus on practicable skills and include recipes for home use, enabling perpetual plant-based pampering.
Within Vines Wine Bar's low-lit interior, patrons dine Spanish-style, sampling from more than 80 wines by the glass and 50 different tapas. Experienced sommeliers, including the executive chef, suggest varietals from more than 12 countries, including American options such as Wente Monterey chardonnay ($13) and Franciscan Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ($18). On the flower-flecked patio or in the comforts of an indoor leather chair, diners can dunk cubed bread and fresh produce into one of three fonduta fondu options—melted goat cheese, garlic-and-herb brie, or chardonnay cheddar ($13)—that form a triumvirate of cheese as classic as the Porky's franchise. A wild mushroom ravioli ($8) complements velvety tannins, and a freshly baked beef brioche and brie ($15) impresses wiser aged wines with a firm handshake. All Groupon customers will also receive a 10% discount at the Vines Cellar upon redeeming their Groupon.