What is it? Two Rivers Winery and Chateau is in Grand Junction, on Colorado's Western Slope - the part of the American state to the west of the Continental Divide - and is a godsend to those who dream of a weekend tasting wine and river rafting.
So it's a hotel that makes wine? Basically, yes. It was built in the style of a gracious French chateau, with sweeping staircase and grand halls. So check in, dump your luggage and then nip across to the rather stately wine-tasting hall (below). The husband-and-wife owners, Bob and Billie Witham, are often on hand to answer questions and say delightful things such as, "Swirl this one aggressively in your mouth." Artfully arrayed platters of cured meats and cheese and crackers, and bowls of nuts, make the experience that much more pleasurable. If you're up for it, the Withams will take you beyond the gorgeous wooden barrels in the back (above) and give you a guided tour of the wine-making process.
After a tipple, does it not matter what the rooms are like? Oh, here it matters. This is not a Las Vegas-style behemoth: there are just a handful of rooms, laid out over one floor, at the top of said winding staircase. As its name suggests, the Champagne Suite is a bit special, boasting a four-poster bed, a fireplace and views over the 15 acres of vineyards. Not surprisingly, the chateau is a very popular wedding venue, although, if it's not a small ceremony, the overflow may have to be accommodated at one of the generic chain hotels in town.
OK, so after a "swirl" of a Burgundy here and a Chardonnay there, what else is there to do? Not much on the property itself. It is strictly a wine-tasting-and-sleeping sort of place - and as such great for avoiding those pesky DUIs. But Grand Junction itself has a lot to offer. So if you can pry yourself away from the bar, get busy.
Doing what? The centre of town, only a 10-minute drive away, is packed with antique shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. Colorado is a hotbed of farm-to-table dining, so count on finding burgers free of antibiotics and vegetables minus the pesticide residue. The area is an outdoorsy person's paradise: hiking up on the Grand Mesa, white-water rafting down the Colorado River, scenic bike rides. Or take a 30-minute drive into Palisade, true-blue wine country, which is to Colorado what Napa Valley is to California. Wine is a big deal here.
Are there restaurants at the Two Rivers chateau? Sadly not. Although there is a delightful dining room on the first floor - small, bright and cosy, reminiscent of a small-town kitchen - in which is served a nourishing breakfast: freshly made frittata, warm oatmeal with sprinkles of brown sugar, creamy Greek yogurt.
So it's a nice layover then? Absolutely. When people think of Colorado, they think of Denver or Aspen. But along the way there are smaller towns which produce scrumptious wines. To be able to savour some, and then saunter back to your room, is a treat in and of itself.
What will this cost me? It depends on when you go. (The place is booked solid through the summer, for weddings). There are only 10 rooms, costing anything between US$92 and US$145. For more details, go to www.tworiverswinery.com.