The last stop on my Grand Valley tour was at Plum Creek Cellars. I had an amazing time with owner, Sue Phillips, and learned about the history of Plum Creek as well as how the Colorado wine industry began. Plus I had the opportunity to taste some of their delicious wines.
Plum Creek holds Colorado winery license #10 and began in 1984. They didn’t start out in the Grand Valley like you would imagine, but in Larkspur where they built their winery and tasting room. Hence the name…Plum Creek, which by the way, flooded in 1965 and that is why Chatfield Resevior was built. In a picture below you can see an etched glass that was the front window of the tasting room and is the only remaining item. Doug and Sue Phillips were pioneers in the early days of Colorado winemaking. In 1980 they leased land in Garvin Mesa near Paonia (which later would become a wine mecca of its own!) and realized they could grow grapes there. Their basic premise was to make estate bottled Colorado wine…something that was new and different for Colorado. And have they succeded!!!
In 1989 they moved their winery and facility to Palisade. Sue says when they chose the land and began planting their vines, there was nothing around them. Its hard for us to imagine all that has happened in the Grand Valley in the past 23 years! In 1994, the Phillips hired current winemaker Jenne Baldwin, who certainly knows her trade. Jenne makes an incredible Chardonnay, something you don’t always find in Colorado. The Palisade Red is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. My favorite was the Grand Mesa.
Plum Creek’s tasting room is a fun experience. You can check out their “mascot” at the entrance – known as the Chardonnay Chicken (see picture below). But if you can’t get to their tasting room in Palisade, their wines are available in numerous liquor stores across the state.