There are changes taking place at Carlson Vineyards, but things are also staying the same. So what does that mean?? After many years in the winery business, Parker and Mary Carlson have sold their business…the change! What isn’t changing…according to new owners Garrett and Cailin Portra is “the spirit and soul of Carlson Vineyards.” For those of us familiar with Carlson we know their top seller is Sweet Baby Red, which is a blend of 8 grapes (primarily Merlot, Lemberger, Syrah, and Orange Muscat, and the rest a secret!). The winery is known for its fruit wines, semi-sweet and sweet wines as well as their dry whites and reds.
Garrett isn’t a “newbie” at Carlson, having worked at the winery for over 5 years. During that time Garrett experienced every aspect of the business….from cellar assistant to tasting room to management, and additionally took courses at UC-Davis and online certificate courses through Washington State. Garrett grew up in Missouri’s livestock and hay business and earned his degree in environmental science. When he met Cailin in college, whose father owned a small winery in Missouri, their destiny was sealed!
Carlson’s fruit wines are made with 100% Colorado fruit and its Peach Wine is produced from Palisade’s own delicious variety. Carlson Vineyards grows its own grapes on 3 acres and sources its other grapes primarily from the local area. Garrett says he will continue to produce their “world class fruit wines” and balanced sweet wines as well as their top selling Gewürztraminer and Riesling whites, and of course, Sweet Baby Red!
So what will be new at Carlson? Garrett is working on a Lemberger / Cab Franc blend and will be “re-vamping” some of the other reds, using a barrel fermenting and blending approach. Also coming soon is a dry Rosé made from 100% Lemberger. Since Sweet Baby Red is so popular, Garrett is working on a Sweet Baby White made from Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Orange Muscat.
Stop by Carlson Vineyards located in an old peach packing shed, although plans are in the works for a remodeled tasting room. Carlson is also part of the Grand Valley Winery Association, who will be having their “Barreling into Spring” event this April and May. Click here for details.