Paul Bonacquisti was working as a disc jockey during a format changeover in 2005 and essentially got shown the door rather than being asked to don cowboy boots and tight Wranglers. He may have also said booger on the air.
It’s what happens in the radio business apparently. Instead of searching for another spot on the FM dial, he went back to his roots.
Bonacquisti–the grandson of an Italian immigrant who moved to Colorado at the turn of the century– grew up making wine in his garage with his dad. He figured it was about time he switched careers to a passion: Wine. After receiving an executive wine sommelier certificate from the International Wine Guild, he and wife Judi opened the doors in 2006.
Now the winery just off of Interstate 70 in Sunnyside is an award-winning producer with a chic tasting room surrounded by oak barrels and winemaking tools. And don't miss out on the art that dots the walls; it's produced by Daniel Luna who has provided the images for the bottles, many of which are fashioned off of Bonacquisit’s family.
And no, Vinny No Neck is not a likeness of Paul, rather a rendition of what his young son may look like in a decade.
As with most of the Front Range wineries, a majority of Bonacquisti grapes are sourced from the Western Slope, in this case Palisade in the Grand Valley AVA.
The winery produces more than a half-dozen labels, ranging from common Colorado varietals (Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese) to the not so common (Red Zinfandel sourced from California) and his proprietary blends such as the smooth D-Wine (Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and a little Chardonnay).
Best bottle from the winemaker’s perspective: 2007 Syrah, which was a limited production vintage due to a grape shortage. While this wine is sold out, Bonacquisti says he has some in his library that will be released for a vertical tasting of his syrahs at some point.
- 2007 Cabernet Franc: Gold Medal 2009 Colorado Mountain Winefest
- 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel: Silver Medal 2009 Eastern International and Bronze Medal 2009 Colorado Mountain Winefest
- 2006 Colorado Cabernet Sauvignon: Bronze Medal 2008 Dallas Morning News and Bronze Medal 2008 Colorado Mountain Winefest
- 2006 Moscato Riserva: Silver Medal 2007 Denver International Wine Festival
- Delagua Red NV, Colorado Red Wine: Bronze Medal 2008 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
- Bonacquisti Wine Company label series featuring art by Daniel Luna: Silver Medal 2007 Denver International Wine Festival
Wine club: Sign up to receive three bottles every three months (for about $50). Wine can be shipped (to certain states) or picked up at the winery.
Tasting room: There is a $5 tasting fee, which is refunded with any purchase.
Hours: Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. or by appointment
4640 Pecos St Unit I
Denver, CO 80211
Photos provided by Bonacquisti Wine Company.