The Art of the Wine - Wineries of the Four Corners
Wineries of the Four Corners
It’s Friday evening, a long workweek behind me I pop the cork on a bottle of Merlot and pour a
generous amount into a goblet. I take a sip and feel the stress begin to melt away. There is no
better way to unwind than kicking back in my favorite chair with a nice glass of wine.
I, like many of my friends, am very fond of wine. By no stretch of the imagination am I a
connoisseur, but I definitely appreciate a good glass or three now and then, and have had the opportunity to enjoy some very fine vintages over the years. I know enough to know what I like, but have always been curious about the process of making this magical elixir.
Vinification or winemaking is more of an art than a process, and though there are copious online sites with detailed instructions to the process, talking to a vintner is the best way to understand the
passion involved when undertaking of the art of winemaking. This is not a venture for the impatient. Newly planted vineyards take three years to begin to produce a harvest and five years to reach full
White and red wines differ in their creation as grapes are sent directly to the press for whites, and all the juice is removed to avoid the extraction of tannins contained in the skins and seeds. The juice is stored in stainless steel tanks and allowed to ferment. In the fermentation process, yeast converts the sugars in the juice to ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is then lost to the atmosphere, and the wine is bottled. Most white wines take a relatively short time from harvest to bottle, no more than a year, though there are exceptions, but reds are a
The skins give the wine its rich red color. The grapes go through a destemming process which breaks most of the produce; the “must” is then allowed to ferment. After this primary fermentation, which takes two to three weeks, the free-run wine is pumped off into barrels and then the skins are sent to the press to remove the remainder of the juice and wine. At the discretion of the vintner, the free-run wine and press wine may or may not be combined. Free-run wine tends to be fruitier and have less tannins than press wine. Storage time in barrels matures the wine and softens the tannins. Before filtration and bottling, the wine is settled or clarified and adjustments are made.
From vine to glass can take a few months to a few years depending on the type of wine, and a
winemaker is responsible for every step. From monitoring the maturity of the grapes and determining the best time to harvest, to testing the wine by tasting and finally, once the wine has reached maturity, maintaining quality through the bottling process. Whether they have a degree in viticulture or have trained on the job, a love of wine and a dedication to the final product is essential in their chosen art, and I thank them for their efforts.
1. Castle Creek Winery
Castle Creek Winery is nestled high on the banks of the Colorado River 15 miles north-east of Moab. The winery opened in 2002 and now produces over 15,000 gallons of wine. Reservations are accepted for seminars, private tastings and parties and weddings. Daily tours are offered and tasting is available. Castle Creek currently offers four whites, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Lily Rose White and Uintah Blanc, and four reds, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Outlaw Red and Kid Red. The winery is open daily for tours and tasting.
Milepost 14 Highway 128 • Moab, Utah 84532
435-259-3332 • www.castlecreekwinery.com
2. Guy Drew Vineyards
Capture the allure of our vineyards and straw bale winery carefully situated among ancient dwellings scattered along the historic trade route and fields of picturesque McElmo Canyon. Experience how agricultural tradition is continuing in this unique area of abundant sunshine and productive soils and our commitment to growing premium grapes and making fine wines for your pleasure bottled under our GUY DREW VINEYARDS labels. Join us for a complimentary tasting daily 12pm-5pm.
19891 Road G • Cortez, CO 81321
970-565-4959 • www.guydrewvineyards.com
3. Guy Drew Vineyards Tasting Room
Nestled in the art gallery inside the “Ute Mountain Indian Trading Company” 1/2 mile east of HWY 145 on HWY 160. We established this location to save the drive to the winery and utilize the high traffic and visibility of this beautiful sales space. The Trading Company was established in 1979 and has been an attraction for tourists ever since. Join us for Happy Hour from 4:30 to 6:00 pm and get $2 off wines by the glass. Open 2pm to 6pm Tuesday thru Saturday, May to October 15.
19891 Road G • Cortez, CO 81321
970-565-4959 • www.guydrewvineyards.com
4. Four Leaves Winery
We import the highest quality grapes from all over the world and then ferment, blend and bottle all of our wines in front of you. Enjoy wine by the taste, by the glass or by the bottle. Wine-related merchandize and light appetizers. We are available for private parties, events & weddings. Available wines: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah,
Red blends, Fruit wines, Port wines, Ice wine. Come enjoy the experience.
528 Main Avenue • Durango, CO 8130
970-403-8182 • www.fourleaveswinery.com
5. Fox Fire Farms Vineyards and Wine Tasting Room
The Southwest's premier certified organic farm and vineyards. Located 30 miles southeast of Durango as part of an 1100 acre organic farm in a stunningly green setting. Fox Fire Farms is a soothing place to spend the day, resting your spirit and reconnecting with nature. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a bottle of one of our wines as you gaze out over our tranquil pastures. You're always welcome at Fox Fire Farms. Facilities for weddings, special events, private dinners and now producing: Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, & Pinot Noir, a blend called Fox Fire Red. Tasting Room open 1:00-6:00 PM Daily.
5513 County Road 321 • Ignacio, CO 81137 • Use “Google Maps” to navigate
970-563-4675 • www.foxfirefarms.com
6. St. Clair Winery & Bistro
Opened in 2010, our winemaker and chef collaborated to create a menu that features approachable dishes paired with our award-winning New Mexico wines. Our comfortable dining room and refreshing outdoor patio are sure to make your dining experience a true pleasure. Enjoy a glass of wine from the largest local wine list in the four corners; from sweet wine to dry, and everything in between. Listen to live music Fri. and Sat. nights. We are happy to prepare any meal to go! Open Sun. - Thurs. 11am-9pm, Fri. & Sat. 11am-10pm.
5150 East Main Street • Farmington, NM 87402
505-325-0711 • www.stclairwinery.com
7. Wines of the San Juan
Looking for a beautiful and private escape from the ordinary? Visit our vineyard and winery, nestled in the arms of the soaring cottonwood trees of the San Juan River Valley, just one hour south of Durango, CO. No matter what your preference, here you will find a wine that is sure to make you fall in love with our winery. Bring a picnic lunch along and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting in our courtyard. Please visit our event calendar and join us at one of our many festivals or contact us about hosting your outdoor wedding or special event. Open Daily 10-6pm, Sunday 12-6pm, Closed Tuesdays.
233 HWY 511 • Blanco, NM 87412
505-632-0879 • www.winesofthesanjuans.com