I spent a fun hour with assistant winemaker, Justin, of Bookcliff Vineyards. Unfortunately owners, John Garlich and Ulla Merz were out of town, but Justin did a great job filling in. John and Ulla began their winemaking venture in 1995 when they bought 10 acres of land in Palisade and in 1999 opened the doors of their winery. After 9 years of having the winery in their home, and needing more space, they opened their present-day winery and tasting room on Lee Hill Road. The facility is impressive, with 24 stainless steel tanks and lots of oak barrels. John and Ulla now own 36 acres of vineyards in Palisade and are proud that their wine is made from 100% Colorado grapes. To find out more about their story, check out their website.
Bookcliff makes several white wines, red wines and blends. Justin had me try their two table wines – Fridays Folly (a red blend) and Lucky Star (their Muscat and dry Riesling white blend). Both were a good tasting table wine for a reasonable price. I also tasted their Cabernet Franc and Syrah, both delicious, but their Ensemble really stood out. In fact, it just won a gold medal!
Most of their wines carry the Bookcliff Vineyards label, however, each year local artist Keith Scramble Campbell paints a label for them using Red Rocks Amphitheater as his backdrop. The label is printed and placed on one of their wines called Flagstaff Star. Keith then adds his own personal touch to a select number of bottles by painting on the bottle and label itself. A definite collectors item.
Bookcliff also hosts several dinner and wine pairings with local chefs. Check out their website for more information.