Since the Olympics are in London, I thought it would be interesting to talk about a wine that is popular there, but in the United States you will only find at Liliputian Winery in Hotchkiss, Colorado, and that is Ginger Wine! At first you might think…yuck. But actually it is quite tasty and is an excellent wine to pair with sushi, spicy Thai food and Chinese foods. Ginger Wine is sweet and has a ginger/citrus taste. It is not made with grapes, but rather filtered water, ginger and raisins (your fermenting agent). After finding a recipe for Ginger Wine in an old English cookbook, owner Lisa Fairbank spent several years changing the recipe and perfecting it, and in 2009 found what she liked and could duplicate it. In English pubs you can order a drink called a Whiskey Mac, that is a shot of Ginger Wine, a shot of Whiskey, sugar and hot water….sounds like a good drink on a cold, damp evening in England!
In addition to Ginger Wine, Liliputian also produces a Riesling, which is fruity and delicious, and a Liliputian Red, that is a Cabernet Franc blend. The winery was named after Lisa and Scott’s dog, Lily, and also that their tasting room and production is small (see pictures below). The Fairbanks actually lived in the current tasting room when they bought the property, that had an untended vineyard, but after a few cramped years moved into their new residence. As with many winery owners, they didn’t intend to start a winery, and Lisa says they divide the work by her as the winemaker and Scott as the muscle in the vineyard.
They are both actually nutritionists by trade, who spent many years in the natural products retail business. In addition to their winery they also have a natural food store right next door called Hardin’s. Here they rival any Whole Foods market with locally grown products, most of them organic or natural. I was amazed at the selection their store had to offer. There is an organization called VOGA, which stands for Valley Organic Growers Association. It was interesting to learn that the North Fork Valley is the largest area in Colorado with organic farms…some 55+ of them! They are producers of wine, wool, plans, beef, mutton, vegetables, cheese and much more.