Interview with Julie Balistreri, owner
Q: How did you get involved in this business?
A: I have always worked in our family business. Originally, we grew cut flowers, but, eventually, the cut flower market shifted to South America. My father had always made homemade wine for family and friends, and, in 1998, he decided to get licensed to make wine commercially. As the cut-flower business declined, the wine business flourished and we expanded into our current set of operations.
Q: What distinguishes you from other businesses in your category?
A: We focus on in-person relationships with our customers that highlight our family’s passion for excellence and service. We offer complimentary tastings and tours that provide information on each wine and our unique methods. The wines are unfined, unfiltered and fermented on wild yeast, with no sulfites added. We also offer small plates and lunch daily, and have expanded to provide an event center. The most unique aspect of our business is the involvement of the family across all facets of our operations.
Q: What do you like best about your line of work?
Q: What is your business’ biggest challenge?
A: It is challenging making award-winning wines in Colorado because there are outside factors that we can’t always control. We source as many grapes as possible from Colorado growers in the Palisade area, but the weather is not always cooperative. Freezing temperatures damage the vines and the Colorado crop is far from certain. Sometimes we source grapes from California to make up for shortages on the local market. We rely on top-quality grapes that are matured enough to yield the body and fruit-forward flavors that our wines are known for.
Q: Something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business:
A: Many people are surprised by our location. Some customers have described us as an oasis in an industrial area. We make award-winning wines 10 minutes from downtown Denver. Although we do grow a few cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes down the street from the winery, most of our grapes come from the Western Slope of Colorado, Palisade and Grand Junction areas. We bring the grapes in on refrigerated trucks, and crush, ferment and age the wine here.
Business: Balistreri Vineyards
Address: 1946 E. 66th Ave., Adams County
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily