When Chad and Marla Yetka first began dreaming about opening a winery, they envisioned it in California after they retired. But after Chad was laid off after 30 years of working in every industry from homebuilding to aerospace engineering, the duo decided to take the plunge and pursue their passion—with a twist. Instead of heading to the Golden State, the Yetkas decided to bring California’s wine and grapes to Colorado. The result is Bigsby’s Folly, RiNo’s newest craft winery, which epitomizes the Yetkas’ philosophy that life is an adventure.
The Space: Bigsby’s Folly is located in an historic 1886 warehouse that once housed mining equipment. While the exterior retains this old-school ambiance, the interior has been fully remodeled into a beautiful, open space with soaring ceilings, original wooden timbers, and cozy brick walls. Visitors will find bar seating and comfy retro lime-green couches, as well as two patios ideal for whiling away a sunny afternoon.
The Grapes: Bigsby’s Folly is fortunate to have two winemakers, Napa-based Brian Graham, who trained in Bordeaux, and Denver-based Chris Nelson, a chemist-turned-winemaker who specializes in New World styles of winemaking. The winery currently sources the majority of its fruit from California, where most of their wines are made. Starting this fall, Nelson will begin to craft small batches onsite using grapes grown in Colorado, California, Washington, and potentially South America.
The Wine: Bigsby’s Folly will have a rotating selection of 12 wines on tap, including six to 10 of its own label. This will include their dainty, salmon-colored 2016 Rosé of Grenache, whose slight lavender aroma and light, fruity flavor is ideal for sipping chilled on a hot summer afternoon. In addition, thanks to the winery’s unique liquor license, Bigsby’s Folly will sell craft beer, cocktails, and a rotating selection of imported wine, so your palette can explore other parts of the world, as well.
Buzzed Trivia: The winery’s name is inspired both by the Yetkas’ first, lovable golden retriever, Bigsby, and the sheer “folly” of following their (expensive and ambitious) dream. This required considerable sacrifice, including downsizing their home, so it’s not surprising that the Yetkas’ life-is-too-short philosophy is reflected in the winery’s laid-back ambiance and the “Seek Adventure” motto that appears on their labels.
Taste it: Bigsby’s Folly’s grand opening is Friday, June 16. The winery will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. You can sample a flight of three wines for $10 or enjoy them individually by the glass or bottle. I highly recommend both the 2014 Malbec, a fruit-forward wine aged on French oak to give it what Nelson calls “coffee-toffee” notes, and the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, a silky-smooth red with more refined tannins and a lingering, spicy finish.
Take Home: In addition to enjoying beverages, charcuterie boards, and simple, shared plates at the winery, you can easily take your favorite Bigsby’s Folly varietal home with you by purchasing a one-liter growler ($10), which you can refill for the cost of the wine.