Our first blog post is certainly long overdue!
We began documenting our journey on social media before we even closed on the property (seriously, look back through our Instagram feed – it has been a wild ride, for sure). Thinking about writing this post has been daunting. Do we seriously try and recap everything that’s happened here since we moved out two years ago? Since that’s not the answer, we’ll share a little here and build upon it.
The learning curve when totally shifting careers and lifestyles, while simultaneously purchasing a neglected farm property with very little documentation about how anything works, is very sharp indeed. It is difficult to pull these past few years apart, as every day has been filled with new adventures, new skill sets, and lots of hard work.
For those of you who don’t know, we purchased the historic Redstone Vineyard from Plum Creek Cellars in February of 2017. The vineyard was planted with vinifera grapes in 1987 and produced a solid run of award-winning wines before falling into a slow decline. We have spent most of our time here rehabilitating the property and getting set up for wine production. We sold all of the fruit from our 2017 vintage to a handful of our favorite Colorado wineries. Infinite Monkey Theorem’s 2017 Chardonnay was 100% from our vineyard, as was Carboy Winery’s award-winning Pinot Gris and Stone Cottage Cellar’s Pinot Gris.
The 2018 harvest season greeted us quickly. We were barely ready to go. Much of our winemaking equipment was put into use the day it showed up! We brought in over 18 tons from our estate vineyard, and we supplemented it with almost four tons of fruit from two other Colorado vineyards.
We currently have eleven large stainless steel tanks up at our temporary winery, ten of which contain the fermented remains of the 2018 harvest. One tank is full of Sauvignon Blanc, and we’re proud to say that our vineyard is the highest elevation commercial planting of SB in the Northern Hemisphere. It is tasting amazing – super tropical and highly aromatic. Another tank contains our rosé of Pinot Gris. It is the darkest-hued wine we will produce this year, obtaining its color from an extended cold soak prior to pressing. Another holds a rosé of Pinot Noir, a collaboration between us and the old Terror Creek vineyard, the highest elevation vineyard in our AVA at 6,400 feet.
We also have three tanks of Chardonnay, one of which has completed malolactic fermentation and is in the midst of oak maturation. We made the second tank of Chardonnay using fruit we purchased from one of Bruce Talbott’s prized vineyards in Palisade. For the last tank, we used fruit sourced from the block of Chardonnay here that we affectionately call, “Lower Al.” You’ll have to actually come out and visit to get the full story on how we gave it its name. We are still uncertain of the exact blend that will arise from these three separate tanks, but we are pretty sure we will end up with two different bottlings.
Our largest varietal production this year was over 11 tons of estate-grown Riesling. That fruit was harvested in four separate blocks, on four separate days, and it now rests as four distinctly different wines. Two of the tanks were fermented dry, each with different nuanced notes of peach, lime, and chamomile. The other two tanks are from our last two harvests of the season. As this was our first opportunity to see what our fruit could do in an exceptionally warm fall, we decided to let it hang. We harvested both passes at over 25 degrees Brix, and we arrested these two fermentations, intentionally leaving them with serious residual sugar. We have yet to determine the final blends from these four tanks, but we are thinking of three Riesling options from the 2018 vintage – one dry, one off-dry, and a special reserve bottling.
This new year has been particularly cold and snowy here, and, while incredibly beautiful, it has generally kept us inside working on the computer. We just launched our official website today, and even though it needs a few small tweaks, it already looks and feels amazing. 5280 Magazine just released their February issue titled, “Colorado’s Wine Boom.” The article highlights the two of us in a page-long Q&A, along with a couple of gorgeous photos that Olivia of Olive & West Photography captured of us this past fall. We have more exciting news and press lined up, and we can’t wait to share it with all of you!
For now, check out the new website! We give some pretty detailed information about the property, if you’re willing to read, and we will continue to add more detail along the way. We are going to keep the tone of the site light, yet super informative. This vineyard is in such a unique location that there is very little pertinent research, which means that we are kind of our own “test kitchen.”
We are also dealing with a government shutdown, which, for us, means no label approvals. We are still confident that we will have our first wines ready for a May release, and we look forward to tasting, sharing, and pouring our inaugural vintage for as many of you as possible. Keep an eye on our “events” page, follow our blog, or sign up for our email newsletter to find out which festivals, farmers markets, and special events you’ll be able to find us at this upcoming season!
Jayme and Steve