Beloved winter events are tentatively scheduled as the Estes Park events team works tirelessly to determine a way to host them safely. But don’t let that stop you.
Wine & Chocolate Festival, typically held in early February, and Whiskey Warm Up, typically held in March, are currently causing varying degrees of mourning amongst fans who make the trip to Estes Park every year to take part in the revelry — and enjoy Estes Park in the winter. As we wait to see when these favorites may occur, our team is taking matters into our own hands. Here’s what we’re doing to stave off our need for these timeless events, and how you can, too.
First: find a place to stay
Wine, whiskey and general merriment is in store, plus there is an abundance of things to do in Estes Park in the winter, so you’ll need more than a day. Find the perfect place to stay.
Next: decide which event to recreate
Or do both… on separate nights, of course.
Wine & Chocolate Festival
Snowy Peaks Winery offers their own handcrafted wine made from Colorado grapes, on site, as well as wine from Colorado’s best boutique wineries. They also sell chocolate. Schedule a tasting to find your new favorite and purchase some chocolate to go with it to recreate this popular festival.
Whiskey Warm Up
Elkins Distilling Co. distills and bottles their whisky in Estes Park using water from the nearby Rocky Mountains. Aside from an impressive array of whiskies to sample, Elkins offers cocktails – save some room, you need to try at least one. This event is usually held outside, so bring your warmest layers and bundle up: Elkins has a patio with incredible views.
Before you hit the tasting room or your choice, wander Elkhorn Avenue (Estes Park’s main street) to visit the shops that catch your eye. The street offers an impressive array of boutiques, galleries, souvenir shops, and confectionaries.
But what about the people?
Admittedly, a big part of the event experience is being around our fellow humans, which is a bit more difficult to recreate. But hey, we’re flexible, right? It’s COVID – flexibility is the name of the game. Round up your quarantine pod or close family and get them to Estes this winter to recreate your much-missed event.
Another option: pick up a bottle or two, some chocolate from a local chocolate shop or appetizers from a local restaurant, and take it back to your accommodations and set up a tasting there. After hitting the shops of course. Both Snowy Peaks Winery and Elkins Distilling Co. sells bottles and there is no shortage of complimentary treats available around town.
Final thoughts to make your trip perfect
Here’s an Estes Park playlist to play in the background of your in-room tasting and Estes Park bingo to play between sips. For quieter moments, make sure to pick up a book from our Estes Park required reading list or test your Estes trivia with this crossword.
Fill out your trip with an outdoor activity or two; there are many to choose from. Go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Learn how to backcountry ski, splitboard, or ice climb. Learn about winter snow sports in Estes Park and guiding services to help get you out there.
Be sure to check out our events calendar. Local businesses are starting to schedule smaller-scale events like live music and trivia, as restrictions allow, and are another great way to fill out your trip.
And finally, an insider tip: Rocky Mountain National Park has been quite busy on the weekends, lately, so if your trip involves time in the national park, we recommend a mid-week stay or an early start.
When it’s time to eat
Estes Park restaurants and craft beverage makers are open and operating with strict safety precautions in place. If reservations are offered, we strongly encourage making them to ensure seating that fits within your schedule.