On the surface the Wine Train looked to be a fairly logical concept. Grand Junction has wineries, and Amtrak’s California Zephyr stops in Denver and Grand Junction on its journey from Chicago to San Francisco. But logic sometimes needs some hard work before it becomes reality. Barb Bowman and Debbie Kovalik, formerly with the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, were up to the task.
Bowman states, “We needed to convince our board of directors that a Wine Train was a good marketing idea. One train ride and they were convinced.” A need for a strong marketing partner to handle the reservations was also a necessity, so AAA Colorado came onboard. The final challenge, Bowman continues, “was convincing Amtrak that adding a private car in Chicago for the round-trip made good business sense.” Forty wine trains later, there’s as much excitement today as there was on that first train.