In Vino Veritas: Wineries in the Uncompahgre Valley
Colorado wine is on the up generally, and here in the valley we have four wineries that are are playing their part in that success.
LaNoue DuBois, Montrose
The newest winery in the valley (and possibly in the state), LaNoue DuBois is run by the LaNoue family with winemaker Lee at the helm. Winemaking has been in the family for years with Lee’s dad, Rick, being an amateur winemaker for decades. Lee got involved when he was eight years old. Eventually, a test vineyard was planted in 2001 on Lee’s grandfather's farm. After trying over 30 varieties, they settled on the five they currently have: marechal foch, leon millot, frontenac, frontenac gris, and New York black muscat. Even though the vineyard dates back 20 years, the winery and tasting room only officially opened for business on Mother’s Day this year. Also of note, is the fact the vineyard relies 100 percent on solar energy .
Mountain View Winery, Olathe
Run by Wendy and Mike Young, Mountain View has been in the winemaking business for two decades. Originally purchased as a working orchard by Mike’s family more than 60 years ago, there is still a small orchard of pears and cherries. As for grapes, they grow seven varieties - barbera, merlot, pinot noir, pinot grigio, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, and riesling. They also source syrah from another local grower, which they use to make various blends including their Cutthroat, Daredevil, and the interesting Rapid Red, which is a blend of syrah and pomegranate. Mountain View also produces a selection of fruit wines (from other than grapes that is!).
Berkley Estate Cellars, Olathe
Formerly Garret Estate, the winery was purchased by David and Britney DeJesus and renamed after their daughter, Berkeley. (The property, which is a working farm and ranch, is named after their other daughter, Charlotte.) Currently, Berkley Estate grows almost a dozen varieties of grape: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, chardonnay, frontenac blanc, frontenac gris, gewurztraminer, itasca, pinot gris, pinot noir, merlot, and riesling. The tasting room is open by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead, which is good advice before visiting any of the wineries, in fact.
Cottonwood Cellars, Olathe
One of the oldest wineries in the state, Cottonwood Cellars is owned and operated by Diana and Keith Read (Keith is the winemaker and Diana does everything else!), as it has been for the last 27 years. Currently at 22.5 acres of vines, Cottonwood produces on average between 2,000 and 4,500 cases a year from seven grape varieties: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, pinot noir, lemberger, chardonnay, and gewurztraminer. The chardonnay is fermented “sur-lees” in American oak barrels, while reserve reds are aged in French and American oak for one to two then bottle aged for at least a year.