Anyone who walks through the left entrance of Wine Time, the popular bottle shop on Highway 133, could be forgiven for thinking that they’ve actually entered a full-blown German delikatessen. A remarkable selection of sausages, cheeses, noodles, cookies and chocolates, jams and mustards—all imported from Europe—fills the shelves. Yes, there is wine and liquor, plus an enormous selection of beer in a walk-in “cave,” on the store’s right side; but then in between, starting in October, lies an authentic German Christmas market—a delightful array of holiday treats that includes everything from baked goods like lebkuchen and stollen to hand-carved wooden ornaments, figurines, and music boxes (many from Wendt and Kühn, the Rolls-Royce of wood carvers).
“This whole enterprise is an unplanned adventure,” says Sigrid Pieper, who owns Wine Time with her husband, Rudy; the couple moved to Carbondale from Cologne. “It’s all very un-German, to be so spontaneous like this,” she adds. “But we fell in love with the valley the first time we saw Mount Sopris, and we were determined to make our lives here.”
They found a hungry customer base in the Roaring Fork Valley when they added the imported items. “In 2016, the first year that liquor stores in Colorado were allowed to sell food and gifts, we totally underestimated the demand,” says Pieper. “There are so many people of German ancestry in this area, or they’ve visited Germany.”
She points to the German-made Haribo gummies, a far cry from the artificially flavored domestic version sold in local grocery stores. Also super-popular: Ritter Sport chocolate, displayed in a rack that holds 865 bars. And every Friday, a shipment of spätzle, a deliciously thick noodle, comes from Germany and quickly sells out.
“We’re always reinventing ourselves without forgetting our wine customers,” says Pieper. Smiling, she adds, “Our family still wonders about us, but we know this was meant to be.” 792 & 798 Hwy 133