Inside some Colorado wineries
Jun 5, 2015, 6:00am MDT
Compiled by Sam Klomhaus, Denver Business Journal
The Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery
Top local executive: Ben Parsons, CEO
Location: 3200 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado, 80205
2014 production (bottles): We put wine in cans, kegs and bottles. Total production bottle equivalent in 2014 was 15,000 cases or 180,000 bottles. 2015 should see that number grow significantly as Frontier Airlines have the wine in a can on board and Whole Foods are starting a national role out of that same product. At this stage I would guess somewhere around 30,000 cases or 360,000 bottles.
Opened for business: We opened in 2008 in a Quonset hut in the Santa Fe Art District and moved to RiNo in 2012.
Where they get their grapes: Our grapes are sourced from a number of places. For our wines in a bottle we try to be as Colorado driven as the harvest allows. Our kegs are often the same wines we bottle so are Colorado for the most part. We do source some fruit from California to fill in the gaps. The can wine is all California fruit.
Distribution: We have built relationships with local and national distributors who get the wine to the customers. Here in Colorado we use Republic National/Grand Vin.
Best selling wine: That’s a tough question. Our best selling wine is our red blend, The Blind Watchmaker. We make more of this than the single varietals, so it will always out pace them. Our fastest selling wine is the Malbec, followed by the Sauvignon Blanc and Rose.
What it pairs best with: The Blind Watchmaker Red pairs well with a broad choice of foods. I like as my wine when grilling meats – a good chuck hamburger pairs well with this wine, but I have been told that it pairs best with good friends, good conversation and a second bottle.
What it costs per bottle:$20
Staff’s favorite taste: The staff love the Rose. It is an off dry Rose and we don’t make much of it, so it is always in high demand.
What it costs per bottle:$18
Best advice for selecting a wine: There are so many factors in play. First, buy a wine you can afford – buyers remorse is not something you want to experience with your wine. Second, think of the occasion, is it dinner, drinks on the porch or just your end of day glass? Each may call for a different wine altogether. Third, ask questions. Staff are usually quite knowledgeable and can direct you to wines that fit you needs. Lastly, don’t be afraid to try something new. The more you try and experience global wines, the more you will fall in love with specific varietals or regions or both.
Most underrated wine: I think to name a specific wine would be difficult as they change year on year. I think Cabernet and some Carmenere out of Chile can be overlooked and can give you some great value. I think the Riesling here at Infinite Monkey Theorem gets overlooked too, mainly because of fear that Riesling will be overwhelmingly sweet. That is not the case with this Riesling at all.
Silver Vines Winery
Top local executive: Danny Chayer and Jeff Chayer, owners
Location: 7509 Grandview Ave. Arvada, Colorado, 80002
2014 production (bottles): 25,000
Opened for business: 2011
Where they get their grapes: Colorado, California and Washington
Distribution: We self-distribute to Colorado liquor stores
Best selling wine: Pinot Grigio and Syrah
What it pairs best with: Everything. Chicken, eat and spicy food. The Rocky White pairs well with spicy food
What it costs per bottle:$15-$40
Best advice for selecting a wine: What is the customer in the mood for? White? Red? Sweet? Dry? We have all of them. It really depends on what they are in the mood for. The experience is a huge factor.
Boulder Creek Winery
Top local executive: Mike Thompson, co-owner
Location: 6440 Odell Place, Boulder. Colorado, 80301
2014 production (bottles): 1140 (The winery is selling off the last of its wine and will close its doors at the end of the year)
Opened for business: 2003
Where they get their grapes: Colorado’s Western Slope, in and near Palisade, Colorado.
Distribution: 75 percent direct sales from our tasting room; 20 percent retail outlets; 5 percent off-site festivals and internet.
We have a loyal wine club of over 700 members who buy most of our wine.
Best selling wine: Cabernet Sauvignon
What it pairs best with: Good friends. Of course if your good friends bring along beef, lamb or red pasta dishes that would be great, too!
What it costs per bottle:$25.00/bottle for a single bottle. $18.75 as part of a full or mixed case (25 percent off)
Staff’s favorite taste: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Claret, or Chardonnay (we all have our favorites!).
What it costs per bottle:$24, $24, $25, $28, and $20, respectively for single bottles. (or 25% off for a mixed case)
Best advice for selecting a wine: Taste the style of wine you think you would enjoy (i.e. dry red, dry white, sweet red, or sweet white), taste all you can within that category, then select the one that tastes the best to you.
Most underrated wine: A high quality barrel-fermented Chardonnay – from any top producer.
Ours ($20/bottle) is fermented in new Hungarian Oak barrels ($800 each) and aged “sur lies” (meaning it’s stirred on the yeast sediment) in the new barrel for just 4 months (so not too oaky). This is a very expensive and labor-intensive style of Chardonnay that is rich, buttery, and almost creamy in texture.
Un-oaked, or cheaply oaked Chardonnays bear no resemblance to the real thing, and there are so many over-oaked cheap Chardonnays out there that many people turn up their nose at all of them. A big mistake if you have the chance to taste a “real” one.
(Side note: our first Chardonnay produced in 2003 won a Double Gold Medal in New York, then went on to win Best of Show at the Colorado Winefest in 2004. Since that time our Chardonnays have consistently won high awards in both Colorado and International Wine Competitions, and is considered to be one of the top Colorado Chardonnays).
Aspen Peaks Cellars
Top local executive: Julie Flukiger, president Marcel Flukiger, VP
Location: 60750 U.S. Highway 285, Baily, Colorado, 80421
2014 production (bottles): Around 20,000
Opened for business: 2009
Where they get their grapes: Most of our fruit is from Lodi, California. Some is from Palisade, Colorado.
Distribution: Winery in Bailey, tasting room in Conifer, a few Highway 285 liquor stores and restaurants, onlinee store with free Colorado shipping, other states through vinoshopper.com.
Best selling wine: 285 Fusion, our proprietor’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Zinfandel.
What it pairs best with: The balanced flavors of dark fruit, oak, spice and rounded tannins really go great with anything off the grill, especially red meats. Or just a wonderful bottle to enjoy by itself.
What it costs per bottle:$16
Staff’s favorite taste: They love the 285 Fusion as well as the newly released Blanc de Blancs, Brut Sparkling Wine.
What it costs per bottle: The Blanc De Blancs, Brut is $24.
Best advice for selecting a wine: Contact your local winery or liquor store present your case what you are looking for. For example at our winery, my wife and I are both trained chefs and with our assortment of 12 wines we will be able perfectly pair your meal or occasion.
Most underrated wine: I don’t have one specific one in mind. I believe, if you put a maximum price tag to a wine you try and it costs less than that, it is underrated, based on your palate.
Snowy Peaks Winery
Top local executive: Eric Mohr and Candice Mohr, owners
Location: 292 Moraine Ave. Estes Park, CO, 80517
2014 production (bottles): About 12,000 bottles
Opened for business: 2005
Where they get their grapes: Palisade, Paonia and Burlington
Best selling wine: It varies seasonally, but overall Riesling
What it pairs best with: Colorado cheese plate
What it costs per bottle:$18
Staff’s favorite taste: Everyone has a favorite
What it costs per bottle: Varies
Best advice for selecting a wine: Trust your palate
Most underrated wine: Colorado-grown vine