Monday, March 30, 2009
Starting at $249, you can rent a standard room for two for a two night stay that includes a bottle of the Inn’s private label wine, two logo wine glasses, a spa product gift set, afternoon wine reception and a deluxe Wine Country Breakfast both mornings.
For a few dollars more, the staff can arrange for a relaxing massage, salon services to get your hair and nails done, and provide a plush Wine Country Inn robe.
“This is a great way for our ladies to treat themselves to quality time together to celebrate a birthday, promotion, reunion or to just get away from it all,” points out Angella Vallard, Director of Sales.
She says that the Victorian-style 80-room hotel offers a laid-back, welcoming ambiance that invites relaxation. Wrap-around porches with rocking chairs and wicker furniture, outdoor pool and spa and a beautifully landscaped patio set the tone.
“Our guest rooms are luxuriously appointed and quite comfortable. Along with flat-panel tvs and other amenities, we have microwaves and refrigerators in every room for the convenience of our guests,” she elaborates.
The Inn also has a Gift Shop for picking up forgotten essentials or take home gifts for friends and family.
A two-night stay is required, either Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday, and advance reservations are highly recommended so that special arrangements can be made for the additional services if ordered. Some restrictions may apply.
For more details, call 970-464-5777 or 888-855-8330 or check the website at www.ColoradoWineCountryInn.com
The Inn is located at 777 Grande River Dr. Palisade (Exit 42 Off I-70). Note:
Driving West on I-70, Exit 42 is the second exit to Palisade and a direct route to the Inn.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
To see more of the GJVCB's videos about the Grand Valley, simply click here.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Under the headline, "Winemakers Keep Close Eye for Early Signs of Spring," Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Reporter Dave Buchanan writes:
"Meteorologists are calling it unseasonably warm weather, but it’s not quite warm enough to break a sweat on grape growers."
"A sweat not from exertion but from anxiety as some of vineyards in warmer areas may be showing some early signs of spring, much to the consternation of winemakers and meteorologists who know better."
"An e-mail from a winemaker in the North Fork Valley reported some buds already swelling, a curious sign because grapes generally don’t bud out until much later."
"This late bud break makes grapes less-susceptible to spring frost damage. Not immune, mind you, but less likely than cherries, peaches and other stone fruit that start developing buds in early March."
"A quick survey of some area grape growers didn’t raise any consternation from growers since there is so much diversity in where Colorado wines are grown."
“I was out doing a little pruning last week and didn’t see anything,” said Doug Vogel, owner and winemaker at Reeder Mesa Vineyard southeast of Grand Junction. “It’s a little earlier than I normally do, but I had some workers come by and decided to get a start.”
"Vogel said his Riesling vines, which may benefit in the hot summers from cooling breezes off Grand Mesa, are “in great shape” without much winterkill."
"One sign of an early bud is the “bleeding” of sap from cut branches and vines."
"So far, there’s little of that to report."
"Winemaker Jenne Baldwin-Eaton at Plum Creek Winery said she hasn’t seen anything to concern her."
You can read more about the warm March weather and what it means for Colorado's vineyards here.
Monday, March 23, 2009
According to Mammoth Marathons, the web site of the race organizers, the Grand Valley Races:
"allow runners to see some of the most historic and scenic areas in the Grand Valley. Runners get to run along the Colorado River, the base of the Grand Mesa (largest flat-topped mesa in the world), the historical town of Palisade and the famous blooming orchards. This inaugural run provides a little something for everyone."
"The course begins and ends at 4,725ft. On this up-and-back course, starting in the historic city of Palisade and running along the river until the bridge at mile 2. The course then runs along the base of the Grand Mesa and through the orchards and vineyards to the turnaround point. For the most part, this course gradually ascends and descends throughout the race. There is a hill on mile 4 that climbs 195 feet as runners ascend a scenic overlook of the Grand Valley."
"The aid stations are marked on the course map and will start at mile 3 and will be about every two miles apart. There will be porta potties along the course and at the start/finish lines."
"Each person to complete the race will receive a custom medallion. Special awards given to the top three men and women overall finishers."
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The Palisade Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Palisade, and Rapid Creek Cycles are teaming up again to produce this year's festival.
The Palisade Classic Mountain Bike Race may be just your thing if you like off-road competition. Or, if more sedate touring through gorgeous scenery on paved roads appeals to you, try the Fruit Loop Cycling Tour, which features three routes from easy to challenging. Better yet, ride in both events and enjoy the best of both worlds.
The festival starts at Palisade Park and finishes with the Grand Finale and Bike Rodeo at the Palisade Brewery and Peach Street Distillers. We look forward to welcoming biking enthusiasts from throughout the state of Colorado and beyond, to Palisade for a fun-filled day of activities. This year, the Fruit Loop Cycling Tour will also include a Scavenger Hunt. For those seeking optional activities, we are offering the opportunity to paddle the Colorado River from Palisade to James M. Robb Colorado River State Park at Corn Lake. Grand Finale activities will include lunch, a Grand Valley Bike Swap, bike shops and other vendors, bike rodeo and live entertainment by the band, Influx.
The Fruit Loop Cycling Tour starts and ends in Palisade. Ride through a pastoral setting of orchards and vineyards with Mt. Garfield, Grand Mesa and the Book Cliffs as your backdrop. Choose from 3 tour routes based on your abilities and desire: Easiest/16 miles, Challenging/20 miles, and Advanced/30 miles. We provide maps and each route is signed. The 2009 tour includes a Scavenger Hunt. Stops en route include area shops and wineries.
The Palisade Classic Mountain Bike Race departs from Palisade south around the flanks of Grand Mesa and around Horse Mountain. Course length will vary from 20 miles for beginner & sport to 35 miles for expert.
Mammoth Marathon Races include the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K courses and allows runners to see some of the most historic and scenic areas in the Grand Valley. Participants run along the Colorado River, base of Grand Mesa, the historic town of Palisade, and along vineyards and orchards.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Under the headline, "'Colorado Grown' Appeals to Consumers Seeking Local Wines," Practical Winery & Vineyard Reporter Don Neel writes:
“We would never have gone into the winemaking business if we couldn’t have made wine from Colorado grapes,” says owner John Garlich. “We wanted to grow them ourselves.”
"BookCliff was founded in 1999 and produces 1,800 to 2,000 cases of wine per year, nearly all 100 percent Colorado- grown. Twelve wines under the BookCliff brand include
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Ensemble (a Bordeaux blend), Adagio (a Black Muscat dessert wine) , Allegretto (Orange Muscat ), Viognier, Chardonnay, Riesling, Finali (a Cabernet/Merlot dessert wine), Syrah, and Friday’s Folly (red table wine blend)."
"The Allegretto has been a blend of California and Colorado Orange Muscat, but the 2008 bottling will be 100 percent Colorado-grown."
"BookCliff uses about 30 percent of the grapes farmed on 33 acres in Palisade,
Colorado (Grand Valley AVA), also selling grapes to other Colorado wineries. BookCliff wines are only sold in Colorado, and Garlich believes that, with the locals, “Colorado-Grown” carries weight."
“Sales are up 50 percent in 2008, and we think this is due to people wanting to buy local. Our Friday’s Folly red blend has been particularly successful, and the merchants tell us it is because the wine says ‘100 percent Colorado Grown."
To view the full story, go the Colorado Wine Industry & Development Board's press page and download a .PDF file, or simply click here to learn more about BookCliff Vineyards.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Under the headline, "Colorado Wine Train Is Sold Out: AAA and Visitors Bureau Promote Twice Annual Wine Tour," Wines and Vines Magazine Reporter Jane Firstenfeld writes:
"A twice-yearly wine train from Denver to Grand Junction is just one way the Colorado wine industry has managed to stay on track despite the derailed economy. Originally engineered by the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau, wine train journeys are now organized and promoted in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain AAA, whose president became so enamored of the concept that he'll serve as host for a scheduled run this fall."
"According to Barb Bowman, division manager at the GJVCB, this year's first scheduled departure in April is already sold out, and the "president's train" during harvest is almost fully booked. Wine train passengers board a private AmTrak car Friday morning in Denver, along the railroad's most popular passenger route to Utah, spend the day viewing spectacular scenery inaccessible by automobile -- and enjoy eight hours of wine education, food and jazz, joined two hours before their destination by two vintners from among the 19 now doing business near Grand Junction."
"The railroad segment of the three-day, two-night itinerary ends at Grand Junction."
"In a private car on an eight-hour segment of AmTrak's California Zephyr route, passengers learn about Colorado wines in scenic comfort before debarking in Grand Junction to visit its many wineries."
"The wine trains have been wildly successful with residents from eastern Colorado's populous Front Range, as well as tourists from Nebraska, Florida and Texas. Bowman said the GJVCB and AAA would like to increase the schedule, but so far, only the "shoulder season" bookings have been available to them, due to heavy AmTrak travel during the summer."
You can read the rest of the Wines and Vines Wine Train Article here.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
According to Dr. Harold Larsen, Plant Pathologist for Colorado State University’s Research Center on Orchard Mesa, warmer and cooler temperatures accelerate or delay fruit blossoms. Below are projected full-bloom dates for the various types of fruit trees within the orchards of the Palisade area:
Apricots are projected to be in full bloom March 23
Redhaven and Elberta Peaches are projected to be in full bloom March 30
Bing Sweet Cherries are projected to be in full bloom April 6
Bartlett Pears are projected to be in full bloom April 6
Prune/Plums are projected to be in full bloom April 7
Tart Cherries are projected to be in full bloom April 13
Red Delicious Apples are projected to be in full bloom April 14
Last year, the blooms were about three weeks later,” said Carol Zadrozny, owner of Z’s Orchards. “We’re seeing warmer temperatures this year which starts the fruit growing season earlier.” Specific blossom dates can vary from Palisade to East Orchard Mesa in Western Colorado’s Grand Valley.
“The variety of blossoms gives the Palisade area a wonderful splash of color,” said Zadrozny. Interested individuals can follow projected bloom dates on the C.S.U Research Center’s website at http://www.colostate.edu/programs/wcrc/pubs/research_outreach/budswcrcom.pdf .
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Stoney Mesa Winery announced the opening of their new tasting room and warehouse facility in Grand Junction, Colorado. The new 3,000 square-foot complex frees up 2,000 square-feet at their Cedaredge winery allowing for an increase in wine production to an additional 5,000 cases.
All bottled and labeled wine for distribution and sales will be warehoused at their new Ptarmigan Vineyard tasting room on Orchard Mesa, at 221 313/10 Rd, Grand Junction, Colorado. Stoney Mesa Winery will keep all wine production at the Cedaredge facility. “Since 1990 all operations have been conducted at the Cedaredge campus,” said president, Ron Neal. “We’re looking forward to the improved customer service this move will provide.”
“We’re looking forward to the added production space this will provide,” said Winemaker Bret Neal, “in addition to the $150,000 we spent for our new press, automated bottling line, pumps and sterilizing equipment in 2008."
President Ron Neal and wife Donna will operate the Grand Junction campus while Winemaker and Vice-President Bret Neal will manage the Cedaredge campus. In 2008 Ron & Donna Neal purchased 7 more acres in Palisade, where planting will begin this spring consisting of 2 acres of Pinot Gris.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
But what about further seals of excellence for quality, in-state wine? Not all of Colorado's best wineries are located near Palisade or Paonia. As long as the wineries use grapes from these areas or from a handful of smaller vineyards along the Front Range, they can bottle their vintages using the "Colorado Grown" label.
One wine expert recently explained how this process is defined.
Under the headline, "'Colorado Grown' Appeals to Consumers Seeking Local Wines," Practical Winery & Vineyard Reporter Don Neel writes:
"Colorado wine consumers can obtain 100 percent Colorado Grown wines. In the infancy of the Colorado wine industry in 1990, drafters of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Act coined the phrase “Colorado Grown,” and included language in the statute that only wine containing 100 percent Colorado fruit could use the phrase on wine labels."
"Two influential drafters of the Act were Steve Smith (who founded Grande River Vineyards in 1987), and Doug Phillips (of Plum Creek Cellars, founded in 1984). The phrase and its use have since become part of the Colorado Liquor Code."
“Some people were happy with the federal 75 percent requirement for the Colorado appellation,” Smith recalls."
“But Doug and I wanted something designating 100 percent, that could be pro-actively promoted.”
To view the full story, go the Colorado Wine Industry & Development Board's press page and download a .PDF file, or simply click here to learn more about Colorado Grown Grapes.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Denver's indie newspaper Westword recently visited Parsons. In their "Food for Thought" section, and under the headline "Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery Creates Order From Chaos," Westword Reporter Tyler Nemkov writes:
"I've got junkies sleeping outside my door," Ben Parsons says, warning me to lock my car when I visit the Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery. "There are needles around here all the time."
"Hmmm...sounds like a perfect place to make wine, I think. But as it turns out, it is. Because Parsons not only likes making wine, he likes making order out of chaos.
"What I'm trying to do," he explains as we walk into the building's "courtyard" -- which is currently full of cracked pavement, composted grape leaves and old cars -- "is create an urban winery based around the community. A place where people can go and hang out...It's why we located in the Santa Fe Arts District. I eventually see this space as a community restaurant, wine bar, nightclub and winery."
"His goals are lofty, and the project massive. He wants to turn the space into an area full of tables and fire pits, and put more of the same on a rooftop patio. The grape leaves will be composted, and the result perhaps bagged and given to patrons when they purchase bottles of wine. And the rusted-out Dodge truck with the trailer? That was the vehicle Parsons used to travel more than 25,000 miles this past summer, from the Napa Valley in California to Eugene, Oregon and Walla Walla, Washingon, all in an effort to find used equipment for the winery he was creating in central Denver, right on Fifth Avenue off Santa Fe."
"I want to put a kitchen in the front building," he continues. "My goal is to get chefs over who don't have their own gig, like sous chefs or line cooks, and have them cook. It'll just be their show that night and we can serve IMT wine: a collaboration of good food and good wine to help out with the community."
"Parsons grew up in the United Kingdom and began working for a wine merchant when he was 21. In 1999 he got a harvest job with a winery in New Zealand, and he then won a scholarship to Adelaide University, where he graduated at the top of his class with a degree in oenology."
"He soon found himself in Palisade, Colorado, working for Canyon Wind Cellars as a winemaker. In 2004, he turned Sutcliffe Vineyards from a modest, 400-case winery into a nationally respected, 4000-case winery. So Parsons was making it in a traditional way in the wine world when tragedy made him rethink his approach."
"In 2007, my father died of colon cancer. We had wanted to open our own winery for a while. So I bought this Quonset hut," he says, gesturing toward the towering half-cylinder sitting next us, "and started making bi-weekly trips to the Western Slope to try fruit and to bring it back up here. What I try to do as a winemaker is find the best grapes no matter where they're from. It just so happens that 95 percent are from Colorado."
You can read more about the Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery here.
Do you think wineries are a good way at revitalizing neighborhoods and creating urban renewal?
What are your thoughts on Parsons' efforts?
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Located in the middle of an organic orchard where they pick their fruits for making jelly, Colorado Mountain offers a diverse gourmet line of jams and jellies. Unlike most mass production jam companies, Colorado Mountains grows their own apricots, peaches, and plums.
One blog recently featured Colorado Mountain. Under the headline, "Colorado Mountain Jam Organic Fruit Spread," WellBaskets, a gift basket company for cancer and heart patients, as well as diabetics, celiacs and dieters, wrote:
"Crave the fruity sweetness of jam but want to avoid high fructose corn syrup and empty calories? Colorado Mountain Organic Gourmet jams and jellies are as nutritious and healthy for you as they are delicious and pleasurable to eat. Unlike most mass-production jam companies, Colorado Mountain Jam grows their own apricots, peaches, and plums in their Palisade, Colorado organic orchards. Because the fruit has been allowed to sun ripen on the trees to develop its full flavor naturally, the jams need minimal added sweetener. They contain one of the lowest, if not the lowest, amounts of calories and carbohydrates of any jam on the market and offer nutritional value—vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron."
"Flavors include apple pie, apricot, apricot jalapeno, blueberry, cherry, crabapple, ginger peach, ginger pear, grape, peach, peach jalapeno, pear, plum, rhubarb, spiced peach, spiced plum, strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, and tomato marmalade. Culinary uses are limited only to your imagination, and the jars are elegant enough for gift giving."
You can see the write up about Colorado Mountain Jams & Jellies here.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Each participating winery showcases a selection of wines including red, white and varietals, and award-winning wines. The Meadery of the Rockies offers an assortment of meads (honey wine). Participating art galleries and studios give visitors a unique perspective, reflective of the area. Guests are encouraged to visit with each artist and see his/her works.
The first ten people to arrive at the Blue Pig Gallery receive free wine glasses. Free appetizers will be available at each business. Wineries on this tour will extend a 15 percent discount on select wines.
“A visit to Palisade is worth the drive itself,” said Palisade Chamber of Commerce Director, Leif Johnson. “Guests will not only enjoy visits to art galleries, studios, and wineries, but a tour through Palisade’s beautiful orchards and vineyards with the Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa as their backdrop.”
Wineries, art galleries & studios on this tour include:
· Carlson Vineyards
· DeBeque Canyon Winery
· Garfield Estates
· Grande River Vineyards
· Meadery of the Rockies
· Whitewater Hill Vineyards
· Amanda Davis, Arts & Antiques of Palisade
· The Blue Pig Gallery
· Kentz Sculpting
· Parker Pottery
For more information, contact the Palisade Chamber of Commerce at 970-464-7458 or any of the participating businesses.
Friday, March 13, 2009
(One a side note: the Wine Country Inn proudly serves Palisade's Peach Street Distillers as top shelf liquors during its receptions and events).
One reporter recently took a stab at describing several of Colorado's craft distillers.
Under the subhead, "Peachy Place: Colorado’s First Legal Bourbon," Colorado Springs Independent Reporter Matthew Schniper writes:
"Location, location, location."
"It can make or break a business. It can do lovely things to a drink."
"Consider how the wine world embraces terroir (how a product's unique locale plays into its flavor), and it's a no-brainer why Peach Street Distillers set up shop in fruit-abundant Palisade."
"I go pick what I want," says head distiller Davy Lindig. "[A product] is always better when you can get it from the source."
"Not only does Peach Street use post-mashed sticks, skins and stems from nearby Debeque Canyon Winery to make Grappa, but it uses fresh fruit for a line of Eaux-de-Vie (fruit brandies); local juniper berries, herbs and spices for its gin; and not-too-distant Olathe sweet corn for its vodka and bourbon."
"Yes, Peach Street holds the honor of marketing the first legal bourbon ever made in Colorado. And no, bourbon doesn't have to be from Kentucky."
"To clear up the myth, Lindig says a bourbon must be made in the U.S. out of at least 51 percent corn and age for no less than two years in a brand-new charred-oak barrel. That's basically it."
"People haven't done it before, speculates Lindig, because distillers must endure the expensive start-up and barrel-aging interlude; Peach Street's initial release this past fall yielded a fairly small 200 bottles (available only in the tasting room, at present)."
"To get Peach Street off the ground in November 2005, co-founder Rory Donovan — who partnered with Bill Graham and David Thibodeau of Durango's Ska Brewing Co. — self-distributed statewide."
"I put some miles on the truck," he says. "I was handling 300 accounts from Fort Collins to Telluride."
"But he finally caught the attention of Republic National, a major distributor. Soon, he expects to release 150 six-pack cases of bourbon every four to six months for distribution."
"Peach Street bourbon recently won a gold medal and 90-point rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute, a respected, 28-year-old review organization."
"We're only 3½ with a 2½-year-old whiskey that's getting rated the same scores as 100-year-old distilleries and their 7- and 8-year-old whiskeys," says Donovan. "It tells me, just like with craft brew, when you put some time and effort and slow things down and do it yourself, you can make a hell of a product."
"Everything but Peach Street's bourbon ($58, 750 ml) is available in local liquor stores. Other prices for 750 ml bottles range from $28 to $32."
This is part two of a two part series on Colorado's craft distiller scene. You can read the rest of the article aboutColorado's other craft distillers here.
So, would you drink some of Colorado's distilled spirits?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
But what about Colorado's dozen or so craft distillers? This cottage industry is producing limited batches of the hard stuff, and people are flocking to buy it. The Colorado Springs Independent recently highlighted this niche market, including Palisade's very own Peach Street Distillers.
Under the headline, "High Spirits: Colorado's Breweries Aside, Our Dozen Craft Distillers Shall Not Be Ignored," Independent Reporter Matthew Schniper writes:
"Bottle for bottle in Colorado last year, Denver-distilled Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey outsold every other top-shelf whiskey "by a wide margin," according to co-founder Jess Graber."
"I don't have actual sales receipts," he says, "but the liquor stores tell us, 'You sell way more than anyone else.'"
"The small distillery laid its first barrel to mature just five years ago, and still puts out just three barrels per week — which represents about five minutes of production for the mass-producing distilleries. So if Graber's decidedly unscientific analysis is true, Stranahan's sales success could be considered amazing."
"And totally appropriate."
"Anything that's hand-crafted will taste better, period," says Bill Owens, of the Hayward, Calif.-based American Distilling Institute."
"Owens, a former brewer who's been tracking spirit trends for six years now, says the number of current operations, currently around 150, is growing by roughly 20 per year. Colorado distilleries account for a dozen, falling behind only California, Michigan and Oregon nationally, and accounting for about as many craft operations, Owens says, as can be found in all of Europe."
"[The Europeans] scratch their heads and can't figure out why anyone would even bother," says Owens. "They don't understand the American Dream."
"Talk to any small distiller, one producing a few thousand cases versus millions, and you'll find that relentless pursuit of the dream is indeed what it takes to carve a niche alongside the distributors of mass-quantity, mainstream spirits. Because the "barrier to entry" is so high — paying for bottling, licensing and distributorship on top of significant investment capital, with an expected two- to three-year negative cash flow — Owens estimates that distilleries will never surge quite like microbreweries have."
"The ones that are here, though, like Stranahan's, are doing just fine."
This is part one of a two part series. You can check out some of Colorado's other craft distillers here.
So what are some of your favorite top shelf liquors? Have you ever tried any from Colorado?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Under the headline. "Lodging Wineries," Kathy at Wine Trail Traveler writes:
"Occasionally as we visit wineries, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy a night’s lodging at a winery. Imagine waking up in the morning to the beautiful views of vineyards. In the winter, the architecture of the vines provides picture-taking opportunities and spring brings views of the earth coming to life beginning with the weeping of the vines. Summer views are filled with the varying shades of green vines and during the popular fall harvest time, vineyards are filled with grapes in all stages of colors."
Later in the article, Kathy goes on to say:
"In addition, we stayed at Wine Country Inn in Palisade, Colorado, set in the middle of wine country. The inn has vineyards and delightful views of Colorado’s majestic cliffs."
"Each lodging site is different but most websites have excellent information about what amenities are included. Costs for a stay at a vineyard vary widely. If you will be traveling to wine country, consider a relaxing and delightful stay at a winery."
You can read the rest of the article about overnight lodging in the middle of vineyards.
So, what are some of your favorite wine country inns? Do you have any stories to share about your wine country experiences? Please share; we'd love to know!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
We tend to lean towards 5280 Magazine, who spoke to Doug Caskey and the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, who supplied actual statistics. This does not discredit the anecdotal evidence gathered by KJCT 8 Reporter Sara Goldenberg. According to the vintners Goldberg interviewed, they are tightening their belts and looking towards a leaner future.
March's announcement that Two Rivers Winery is aquiring Amber Ridge shows that at least some of the wineries are bullish on the future.
"In Grand Junction we really have a unique opportunity to retrench, retool and rethink our strategies," says Bob Witham, owner of Two Rivers. "Our new acquisition gives us the chance to do just that. Just because our economy is static and adrift, it does not mean that we have to be. You can choose to wring your hands and complain or you can choose to make your environment dynamic. It is only within this vibrant atmosphere that innovation can and will occur."
Now, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has waded into the debate. armed with new statistics from Doug Caskey.
Under the headline, "Marketing In Economic Slump Important For Tourist-Oriented Wine Industry," Sentinel Reporter Dave.Buchanan writes:
"There’s only one way out of this economic slump and that’s to keep money in circulation."
"Why not spend some at your local winery?"
"That’s not entirely frivolous. Many Colorado wineries appear to be holding the line on business in spite of a general financial malaise settling like a fog across the economy."
"A bountiful harvest last fall, several notable wins at national wine competitions and a hangover (of the right sort) from a busy summer have kept the momentum going for the state’s winemakers."
“A lot of people, especially in Paonia, Palisade and Cortez, had really good summers,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. “And talking recently to some wineries, I was told some of them had better Januaries than they’ve ever had. In some cases, it even out-stripped December, which is unheard of.”
"Caskey knows that January can be awfully slow, even in the best of years, at most wineries. Many of them are located in rural areas (because, to paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton, “that’s where the grapes are”), where tourism drops off the map in the off-season."
"Plus, a fear of recession has some wineries, along with many, many other businesses, cutting back in their marketing budgets, a move Caskey says might be the wrong one for a tourist-oriented business."
“Marketing is even more important when you’re dealing with a transient customer base,” he said. “You have to make sure you have a way for people to find you.”
"To that end, Caskey recently sent an e-mail to the state’s wineries with an article from the New York Wine and Grape Foundation."
"The article, referring to a study by A.C. Neilsen Co., said companies that cutback their marketing during the 1980s recession saw a 19 percent increase in business five years later while companies that retained or built their marketing during the recession grew 275 percent."
You can read the rest of the Sentinel article about Colorado's steady yet optimistic wine economy.
What do you think? Will the current success in Colorado's wine industry hold, or is it just a blip with an inevitable downturn, given the state of things?
Monday, March 9, 2009
In 2000 when Two Rivers Winery started operations, 2,000 cases of wine were produced. Currently Two Rivers produces 12,000 cases a year. The acquisition will enable Two Rivers Winery’s production level to grow up to 24,000 cases a year, and also adds productive vineyards with the purchase as well.
For the past 10 years of operation Two Rivers Winery has used all proceeds to continue to grow the operation. Owner Bob Witham likes to say “you can’t simply sit on your assets. Rather, we believe strongly that you have to grow and you have to grow smartly.”
With this new purchase, Witham says, “There will be many people who think us foolish to make such a move at this time. All around us, and every day we hear about the poor economy and all of the doom and gloom associated with the recession we are in."
“What we have learned and what we have determined is that we are, like most people in the country, victims of what we call paralysis of analysis," says Witham. "We decided we had to stop this behavior and get on with our business.”
Sunday, March 8, 2009
March’s Jazz 777 Club features the live band Hot Tub Jazz, lead by Scott Betts. Hot Tub Jazz will play from 8 to 11 p.m. in the hotel’s Vineyard Room.
"Scott is one of those all around versatile people who has a wide musical range and is a great deal of fun," says Event Coordinator Juliann Adams. "He’s a tango instructor, Choir and Orchestra Teacher at Redlands Middle School, as well as a performer with the Grand Junction Symphony, Mesa State Faculty Brass Quintet, and the Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra."
Guests can hear great jazz, grab a drink and dance the night away with friends.
All the inn’s prices feature lucky sevens. March’s Jazz 777 Club will offer a cash bar, bar menu, as well as beers from Palisade Brewery and premium top shelf liquors from Palisade’s Peach Street Distillers. There is a $7.70 cover charge. Everyone 21 and over is welcome.
To encourage responsible drinking and safety, the hotel is offering an optional special room rate of $77.70 for a standard room for two, including a complimentary pass to the Jazz 777 Club for those who prefer to stay over instead of driving home. The room night is not required for enjoying Jazz 777.
Adams points out that guests can turn the Jazz 777 room special into a two – night weekend getaway by coming in on Friday and visiting wineries, art galleries and studios, shops, restaurants and other attractions on Saturday before the big party.
No reservations are required to attend March Jazz 777, but guests who prefer to stay over should give the hotel a call to book accommodations at the special rate. Parking is free.
The Inn is located at 777 Grande River Dr. Palisade (Exit 42 Off I-70). Phone numbers are 970-464-577 and 888-850-8330.
Under the rather-lengthy headline, "Wine's Potent Appeal May Be At Its Limit: Vintners Are Rethinking Their Skyrocketing Alcohol Levels: Alcohol Levels Above 14 Percent, Once Considered High, Are No Longer Even Unusual On the Average Wine," MSNBC Lifestyle Editor Jon Bonné writes:
"In all the high talk about wine, it's easy to forget this stuff can still get you drunk."
"Alcohol content in wines around the world, but perhaps most notably from California, has been creeping up in the past 25 years. If 12 percent was once average for red wine, it now sounds almost uncannily low; 14 percent is almost a baseline for reds, and whites are routinely climbing into the 13s and well above."
"Assuming you're drinking for taste — which is to say, you're old enough not simply to choose beverages for their high-octane qualities — more alcohol can be a mixed bag. Jumping from 12 to 16 percent is like an extra half-beer with each glass of wine."
"Higher alcohol often accompanies the full, ripe, deep qualities that grace some of the most highly prized New World wines. It usually results from ultra-ripe fruit, often picked late into the harvest season, that also yields a taste explosion."
"Yet some winemakers and wine sellers are growing reticent of these powerhouses, often finding them so overwhelming, so "hot" in alcohol, they can only be enjoyed on their own. It is especially worrisome to those want wine as part of a meal."
"Wine is a complement to food. Those wines do not compliment food. As someone once said, maybe wild boar, preferably still alive," says renowned winemaker Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards. "It's a wine that dominates the meal. It's a food in itself. You don't need the food; it's superfluous."
"Draper does not shy away from a healthy alcohol content. While Cabernet sauvignon can express itself just fine at 12 or 13 percent, he believes, zinfandel requires at least 14 percent to show its true colors."
"Yet last year, for the first time in 38 years, he found himself splitting grape lots for his Geyserville zinfandel — using less ripe grapes with lower alcohol to make his usual style of wine, and bottling another version with the late-harvested powerhouse fruit."
"Winemakers have several ways to monitor grapes in the vineyard. They can measure brix, which dictates how much of a grape's sugar can be converted into alcohol. They can simply use their tongues, tasting to see if a grape is ready. Winemakers who produce these big wines often insist they simply pick to taste, seeking the fruit that best reflects the vineyard."
"I've always been baffled by the militant attitude that some people have ... that we're ruining the wine," says Ehren Jordan, winemaker at Turley Wine Cellars, which has achieved near-cult status with zinfandels in the 17-percent range.
You can read the rest of the story here.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Under the headline, "Five Breathtaking Destinations for your Vineyard Wedding," an admin at WeddingNightRomance wrote:
"Many brides search for the ultimate outdoor wedding location to capture the romance of their special day. If you are looking for a wedding spot that’s out of the ordinary, a vineyard may be the perfect destination, adding a touch of sophistication and elegance to your outdoor wedding. Perfect Outdoor Weddings chose the top five vineyards where you can treat yourselves to beauty, serenity, enjoyable group activities, and fine wines, while celebrating the most wonderful day of your lives."
You can read the rest of the article here.
This is a two-year old report, but one that bears repeating.
Under the headline, "Decreased Market for Cork Threatens Sustainable Livelihoods, Endangered Species in the Mediterranean Basin," EarthTrends writer Therese Tepe filed this story:
"As traditional cork stoppers for wine are being replaced with synthetic alternatives, 100,000 Mediterranean Basin residents supported by the cork industry await an uncertain future. Cork harvesting and production has provided income to residents in a landscape where other economic means are limited. Cork harvesting also occurs without actual tree removal, retaining wildlife habitat in a uniquely biologically diverse landscape. A handful of severely endangered species have found refuge in the cork forests, but many fear that their fate is tied to that of the cork industry."
"Cork is the cambium bark of the cork oak tree. It is peeled away from the tree truck every 9-10 years, the interval needed for regrowth, after a tree has reached about 45 years in age. This harvesting is often done traditionally with hand tools since a comparable mechanized method does not exist. This low impact harvesting allows for other enterprises such as cattle grazing, game hunting and mushroom harvesting to take place in the understory. Unlike the oil-based alternatives, the finished product is also biodegradable."
Later in the article, Tepe goes on to write:
"Driving Forces of the Cork Market Decline"
"Declining cork stopper use in wines has been attributed to many factors, including tainted wine and cheaper alternatives. In the 1980’s, fairly or unfairly, corks were associated with increasing incidents of tainted wine. Also, synthetic stoppers and screw tops are a ninth of the price."
"The decline in cork stopper usage has not led to appreciable reductions in cork oak landscapes yet. In fact, the National Cork Quality Council states that due to good management and recent replanting, cork forests are currently expanding. However, it is widely expected that the decreased economic value of cork will increase pressures to exploit other resources from this landscape, resulting in habitat degradation and a long-term decrease in the land’s value."
This is a cautionary tale involving some hard choices for both consumers and winemakers. Hopefully, the cork forests, animals and traditional industry can all be saved.
To read the rest of the story, you can click here.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Under the headline, "Men Twice As Likely As Women to Become Alcoholics," Daily Telegraph Medical Correspondent Kate Devlin writes:
"A study claims men have a 20 per cent risk developing a drink problem in their lifetimes, and 10 per cent chance of becoming hooked."
"The seeds of abuse and dependence on alcohol often begins in the late to mid 20s, according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego."
"However the lifetime risk for women abusing alcohol was only between 8 and 10 per cent, they estimated."
"Earlier this week official figures showed that millions of Britons are putting their health at risk by spending too many evenings at home with a bottle of wine."
"Official guidelines warn that men should drink no more than three to four units a day and women no more than two to three."
"However, experts warn that a trend for stronger wines and the increase in the average glass size in recent years have made it increasingly difficult for people to measure how much they are drinking."
"One large glass of wine is now the equivalent if three units, they warn, meaning it is potentially quite easy to exceed the daily limit on a regular basis."
"The effects can be extremely damaging to health, the American researchers warn."
You can read the rest of the story here.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
At least this is the contention of one newspaper.
Under the headline, "Three-Liter Wine Sales On The Rise," The Napa Valley Register writes:
"While overall U.S. wine growth rates show some signs of slowing down, 3-liter premium wine casks show double digit growth, according to the Nielsen Company. Despite the economy worsening in the last quarter of 2008, premium wine casks grew at a rate of 32 percent."
"Nielsen data indicate that overall, table wine, the dominant wine segment, grew at 4.4 percent on a dollar basis in 2008, compared to the 3-liter premium wine cask segment, which grew 31 percent. Table wine growth in the last 13 weeks of 2008 slowed somewhat to 2.8 percent. Total table wine sales represent $9.6 billion, while 3-liter premium wine cask sales represent $110 million3."
"Nielsen also reported that while 38 percent of U.S. households purchase wine during the year, fewer than one percent of households purchase 3-liter premium wine casks, indicating significant upward growth potential for wine manufacturers and retailers.The 3-liter premium wine cask segment is best developed among $70,000-plus income households, and is popular among male head of households."
"Eighty percent of 3-liter premium wine casks sold are chardonnay, pinot grigio, cabernet and merlot."
“In today’s economy, consumers are seeking value without necessarily compromising quality, and this contributes to the premium wine cask success,” said Danny Brager, a Nielsen Company vice president. “Consumers see premium wine casks as more value for their money, as it holds the equivalent of four standard wine bottles. In addition, the package stays fresher longer once opened, and offers added environmental benefits.”
You can read the rest of the story here.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
So, give us your feedback and tell us, what do you think?
One local TV station wonders what the economic fallout will be for Colorado's small batch wineries, breweries and distillers.
Under the headline, "House Bill Could Spell Trouble For Liquor Stores," KJCT 8 writes:
"Should grocery stores and convenience stores be able to sell full strength beer? That's the question at the center of a debate over House Bill 1192."
"Under the current law, convenience and grocery stores can only sell beer with 3.2 percent alcohol by weight."
"Liquor stores say that if this bill passes, they could go under."
"I would seriously doubt that very many liquor stores in Grand Junction would be able to stay in business," says Francis Denton of Country Club Liquors."
"The bill has many liquor stores owners worried."
"Obviously a big portion of our business is beer, so if grocery stores get it, we'll loose a good portion of our business," adds Cindy Axelsen of Andy's Liquor."
"The bill is sponsored by Senator Jennifer Veiga, (D) Denver, and Representative Buffie Mcfadyen (R) Pueblo, it would allow stores like Safeway, King Soopers, and other grocery and convenience stores to compete with liquor stores that sell local favorites."
"You'll loose your craft distillers which are the small breweries around Colorado, the Colorado wine industry will be affected by it," adds Axelsen."
"One of the big questions plaguing liquor stores is the regulations they have to meet, they want to know if stores will go through the same procedures."
You can read the story here.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Terry Sullivan writes:
"Palisade, Colorado, is the sweet spot for growing grapes in that state. While flying to neighboring Grand Junction one may notice the acres of grapes while flying over Palisade. Many of these vineyards border Interstate 70 that in turn is bordered by the Bookcliffs. We found this area peaceful and photographically stunning. We enjoyed the backdrop of the Bookcliffs and
Grand Mesa as seen from vineyards in Palisade. The blue sky, and yellow to brown colored rock formations painted the perfect backdrop for vineyards and grapes."
"The new Wine Country Inn opened in Palisade and makes the perfect base for exploring the 15 area wineries. One can walk from the inn to three wineries. Some may enjoy biking to several others. The Red Rose Café, in Palisade is favorite eating spot for locals and visitors. They only serve Colorado wines, a tribute to the local wineries. Many more lodging facilities and restaurants are located in Grand Junction, about a twenty-minute drive."
You can view Terry's post here.
Wine Trail Traveler goes on to suggest a terrific itinerary for a Colorado Wine Country Tour. The travel route can be found here.
Monday, March 2, 2009
One MSNBC.com editor recently explained the ideal temperature ranges for reds and whites.
Under the headline, "The PerfectTemperature For Wine: Bottles Don't Come With Instructions For Serving. How Warm or Cold Should Your Wine Be?, " MSNBC.com Lifestyle Editor Jon Bonné writes:
"Temperature is a matter of endless discussion, but it's safe to say that most Americans serve their red wine too warm, and often their white wine too cold."
"Syrahs need a bit of warmth to express their terrific gamy, peppery aromatics. The ideal temperature should be somewhere around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, just shy of room temperature."
"Now, red wines should be stored around 55 degrees, if you can manage it. (A portable wine fridge, or well-insulated basement, can suffice.) So you'll want to give your syrah an hour or two at room temperature to warm up a bit. Warmer than room temperature and you'll probably start smelling more alcohol in the wine; too much cooler and the wine will taste dull."
"What you don't want is to store your wine at room temperature or warmer for an extended period of time. At the very least, it will speed the aging of the wine, but more likely you'll end up "cooking" the bottle, robbing the wine of its aromas and flavors."
"Every wine will have its own optimal serving temperature. But let's establish a few approximate rules of thumb. Note that the typical refrigerator temperature, in the high 30s or low 40s, is too cold for most white wine. If you chill your wine in the fridge, take it out beforehand:"
* Tart, bright white wines: 48-52 degrees
* Sparkling wine: 50-55 degrees
* Rich white wines, like an aged chardonnay: 58-62 degrees
* Light red wines (Chianti, Beaujolais, young pinot noir): 60-65 degrees
* Heavy red wines: 63-68 degrees
"The perfect temperature for any given wine will depend on how much fruit, tannin and alcohol it contains. No surprise that temperature remains a topic of debate among wine types."
"It's a safe bet, though, that you should never serve (or store) a wine above 70 degrees."
You can read rest of the article here.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Under the headline, "Colo. Vineyards Uncork a Good Year: Mild Weather, Slow Ripening Cited For Quality Grape Harvest," Rocky Mountain News Roger Fillion wrote:
"Colorado winemakers are toasting the quality of the state's latest grape harvest."
"They predict last fall's harvest will produce some of Colorado's better, if not best, wines in recent years. And there should be plenty of bottles to go around."
"Colorado wine-grape growers appear to have picked a record amount of grapes from their vines during the 2008 harvest."
"In particular, vineyard operators in the Grand Valley near Grand Junction reported high yields. Frost, by contrast, inflicted some damage in the smaller growing region around Paonia."
"The state's overall harvest could total nearly three times the tonnage recorded in the 2007 harvest. Cold weather slashed the grape tonnage that year."
"Mild weather and a slow ripening contributed to the quality of the latest grape harvest, winemakers said."
"We're definitely pleased with the grapes this year," said Jackie Thompson, winemaker at Boulder Creek Winery. "The flavors are pretty intense."
"She said the winery's merlot and syrah wines - now in barrels - "are going to be the best we've ever made."
"A survey of some of Colorado's 75 wineries elicited more praise. Winemakers said Riesling and cabernet franc also showed good quality."
"It was a long, not terribly hot season. We got great ripeness," said Nancy Janes, winemaker at Whitewater Hill Vineyards and Winery in Grand Junction.
"The merlot looks absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful flavor and color. Very rich fruit."
"The state's first full-time consulting winemaker, or enologist, was upbeat, too - but not as effusive as some of the winemakers."
"It was a good vintage. But it wasn't spectacular," said Stephen Menke, who also teaches enology at Colorado State University."
"Basically, the flavor profiles seem pretty good. This will be one of the better vintages."
"The last notable vintages were in 2005 and 2006."
"Colorado joins other states where early signs suggest that the 2008 vintage was a good one."
"According to Wine Enthusiast magazine, favorable weather produced "excellent" to "outstanding" grape harvests last fall in such key wine-producing states as California, Washington and Oregon."
"Bill Musgnung, a winemaker who relocated to Paonia from Oregon to produce wine, said Colorado benefited from "ideal growing conditions." He also said grape growers here "now understand that by keeping the vine fruit yields lower this makes for better wines."
"The result: "The fruit is fantastic and the wines should be some of the best ever made in Colorado," said Musgnung, who buys grapes to produce wine at his winery, Bethlehem Wine Cellars."
"Musgnung has sampled numerous wines from other wineries. "Thus far the fermenting Rieslings that I've tasted are absolutely fantastic and the reds are shining."
"He singled out wines from Cortez, Palisade, Hotchkiss and Paonia."
"In addition to good quality grapes, the 2008 harvest also represents a bumper crop for Colorado vineyards."
"It's a new state record. No doubt about it," said Horst Caspari, Colorado's state viticulturist.
"I think we might be getting close to 2,000 tons. Maybe 1,800 to 2,000 tons."
"That would be a dramatic turnaround from the 2007 harvest. Unusually cold weather in late 2006 and the spring of 2007 wreaked havoc on Colorado vineyards, especially in Delta County."
"The resulting grape yield totaled just 700 tons, down from 1,515 in 2006."
"It's our biggest and one of the better quality harvests we've had," said John Garlich, owner of BookCliff Vineyards. The winery owns and manages 33 acres of vineyard in Palisade.
"Garlich said BookCliff may produce its first "reserve" merlot since 2005. The wine is aged in new oak barrels."
"While the quality of the grapes is said to be good around the state, not all vineyard operators reported big harvests."
"Eames Peterson, owner of Alfred Eames Cellars in Paonia, said a spring frost destroyed 80 percent of the pinot noir grapes he has planted on three acres."
"We had good quality grapes but a lot of frost damage," said Peterson, who also is the winery's winemaker. "That was not true of all the vineyards up here."
"He noted the area - which sits about 1,000 feet in elevation above the Grand Valley - contains numerous microclimates because of the nearby West Elk mountains."
"No Sour Grapes Here"
"Why is Colorado's 2008 wine grape harvest considered a particularly good one? Experts weigh in:"
* "It was a long, not terribly hot season. We got great ripeness. The flavor and the color are all really good." Nancy Janes, Whitewater Hill Vineyards and Winery winemaker
* "Riesling turned out well. It has more of a European-type flavor. It tastes more off- dry because the acids are high." John Garlich, BookCliff Vineyards owner
*"The grapes have very good flavor. The sugar, acid and pH were in good balance." Doug Vogel, Reeder Mesa Vineyards winemaker"