equipement de vin exterior, Larimer Square, Denver 2008équipement de vin
1412 Larimer Square, downtown Denver

It was embarrassing, I confess.

The proprietor of équipement de vin, Cheryl Webster, caught me in the wine cellar photographing a champagne cooler with my cell phone. I had forgotten to bring my camera to my second visit to her store and was making do with my phone.

Even if I wasn’t professional enough to ask whether I could take pictures, Cheryl was both professional and warm, handling all the customers with ease, and letting them feed carrots to her dog.

In honor of the holidays, Larimer Square was holding a “tailgate” party, with some stores offering food or drink to their customers (see the website for information about the party on December 17). Cheryl had set up some hors d’oeuvres in the wine cellar and was directing customers to go next door for beer.

Equipement de vin is an attractive, Tuscan-style store, long and narrow with echoing wood floors. When you enter, you can see all the way to the back, but displays are arranged to slow you down and entice you to consider the wares. Everywhere you turn you find wine racks or glassware or bottle cozies or just about anything else you can imagine having to do with wine or entertaining.

On the tall black shelves across from the register, which display color-coordinated sets of candles and tableware, I discovered the perfect coasters, made of black slate, to complement my blue slate tables with wrought-iron frames.

Cheryl was dealing with several sets of customers while I was in the store, but she took the time to answer this rather pointed question: “How do stores make money when most of their stock is fairly inexpensive? Is it just volume?”

Well, yes, she said, but her store also sells furniture, wine-themed art (a popular item), and glassware, including exquisite decanters that cost as much as $300.

My next question was about “nosing” wines, a subject that has vexed me for years. She suggested a way to develop my nose using the store’s wine-tasting guide:

1. Throw a wine-tasting party focusing on one varietal.

2. Find a small amount of every item listed under that varietal on her store’s guide (blackberries or spices for merlot, for example) and put each item in a separate glass.

3. Smell the item, and then smell the wine and see if there’s a match.

She solved my problem, and I bought the wine-tasting guide, a wine and food matching wheel, and the coasters.

Equipement de vin offers tastings of Colorado wines Thursday through Saturday. Cheryl’s cellar was full of Colorado wines that were new to me. I’m looking forward to doing a wine tasting this weekend.


After a long day of visiting stores in Denver on Saturday, it was a relief to return to équipement de vin and hang out at the bar in the back with Matthew, who knows a lot about wine and is a writer to boot. We tasted the Whitewater Hill Riesling (a wine made in Grand Junction, Colorado) and four red wines from Bonacquisti, a winery at 46th and Pecos (the grapes are grown on the Western Slope). Our favorite was the Riesling; I didn’t love any of the reds, but the Delagua Red (mostly merlot) and the cabernet franc were my favorites.

Among the things I learned from him:

1. Merlots are fermented with the grape skins for only a short time in order to preserve the silky texture of the wine.

2. Merlots don’t spend much time in oak.

3. When I perceive a “burnt” smell in a wine, it has to do with how deeply the oak barrels in which it was aged are toasted.

4. To properly smell a wine, tilt the glass and smell from the “bottom” of the glass to the “top.”

5. He also explained the difference between aroma and bouquet, which I can’t remember. Another tip he gave me (so I can remember more of this stuff): take wine classes at International Wine Guild in Denver.

Leave A Comment

  1. BernardL December 11, 2008 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    After the 4th or 5th taste I’ve noticed they all taste pretty good. 🙂 Your post reminds me of The Wine Cellar at Ghiardelli Square in San Francisco a few decades ago. It was built down under the main structure, and the servers there wore monks’ robes. There were old wine casts everywhere and oak tables. They served hot mulled wine, regular wine, and cheese fondue of different types.

  2. Beth Partin December 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    That sounds like a great place to visit. I haven’t been to SF since 1993, when I went there for a wedding.

    Wine tastings are a cheap way to get a little tipsy! :=)

  3. Camera Stores In Denver December 11, 2008 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    […] Stores In Denver Everything for Wine and More Living the MileHigh Life Everything for Wine and More Living the MileHigh Life is also a nice […]

  4. Catherine December 30, 2008 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Now I want to go to this store even more than before! I have the bad timing of everytime I’m in Larimer Square it’s closed. I will persevere though!

  5. Beth December 30, 2008 at 9:44 am - Reply

    I love that store. I want to go back and get an aerator–you can pour the red wine through it into the glass instead of using a decanter. It’s great.

  6. […] slowly developing a list of my favorite places in Denver: Ahimsa Footwear, D Bar Desserts, equipement de vin, Urban Pantry, Wen Chocolates. I’m looking forward to adding to it in 2009 and writing more […]

  7. […] store, Urban Pantry next to Divino on South Broadway, and the Market at Larimer Square across from équipement de vin, which sells Colorado wines and has a tasting […]