Patty Price watches as daughter, Brooke Webb, opens a bottle of Merlot in their newly remodeled wine tasting room at Mesa Park Vineyards.
By DARRALEE MATTHEWS
Special from the Palisade Tribune
It was supposed to be a simple visit to Colorado's Wine Country. But for Brooke and Brad Webb, the trip became a life changing event. The Webbs came to Palisade over Labor Day 2008 to do some wine tasting and met Lydia Felczak, one of the owners of Mesa Park Vineyards. The property was for sale. The Felczak’s had planted eight acres in Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in 1998.
The Webbs thought the views from the vineyard were really beautiful. The Grand Mesa rises up from the grape vines to the east. Mt. Garfield is in the north and grapevines travel up a little hill to the south, forming a perfect vineyard portrait.
“A seed was planted. We came home and talked to my parents, Chuck and Patty Price, and in a week we had made an offer that was accepted.” Brooke says, “We have always loved wine and wine tasting and had been coming to Palisade once a year for the last ten years. Dad was about to retire, so we sold our homes on the Front Range and here we are.”
They got here in March 2009 and took over the operation of the vineyards on April 1.
“This is really a family run operation.” Patty says. In his “past life,” Chuck worked for electrical engineers, but had studied agriculture in college, so he is the vineyard manager and winemaker. Patty had worked a Macy’s in Denver. Son Greg is helping with the vines. Brad, who is a bank manager, is the moneyman but doesn’t escape doing his share of the work at the vineyard. Brooke, a financial advisor, now handles sales and marketing and she and her mom, Patty both run the tasting room.
“We love it here.” Patty says, “We love the area. People have been very helpful.”
Brooke adds, “Everyone has been very neighborly. They have given us good advice when we needed it. Everyone wants us to succeed. We have encountered no negativity.”
CSU enologist, Steven Menke, came over one day and gave them a five hour “course” in marketing and planning. “It was a huge help to us.” Brooke says. CSU viticulturist, Horst Caspari, lives across the way.
In August they enlarged and improved the small tasting room. The new tasting room opened in August. Patty and Brooke really enjoy running it.
“It is really wonderful to have all the people on the wine trail stopping by. We get a good amount of folks on bicycles. Other wineries send people over here and we send people to them.” Patty says.
“Last summer we have had lots of people from the Front Range — Colorado Springs and Boulder, Durango, Park City, Utah; Jupiter, Fla.; Europe and recently Russia.”
Summer sales were good. Labor Day weekend was especially busy.
They survived their first Colorado Mountain Winefest. “We had all our friends come to help.” Brooke said. “We had just been informed that our Cab Franc 2006 won a silver medal in the Winefest competition.”
Following Winefest 2009 their first harvest and crush of their own grapes began. They have been constantly at work in the vineyard since they took over.
“From May through October we are busy with labor in the vineyard.” Brooke says.
“It was everything we thought it would be.” Chuck Price says, “We enjoyed the whole year.”
“The whole process was amazing.” Patty put in. “From pruning and watching over the grapes, our first Winefest, the harvest, crush, making wine and bottling.”
“Now we are getting more involved in Palisade. We were part of the February Pig Tails and Wine Trails. It was fun and are forward to Pig Tails and Wine Trails II on March 14,” says Patty.
“We are going to be part of the agritours this year.” She said, “We are really looking forward to that.”
Price added, “It’s been great learning everything and we are looking forward to spring and starting the process all over again, as experienced growers this time.”
Mesa Park Vineyards
3321 C Rd.
Tasting Room Open
Friday – Sunday
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Or by appointment
About the Author: Matthews is Editor-in-Chief of the Palisade Tribune in Palisade, Colorado. She is being remunerated by the Wine Country Inn for her contributions to this blog.