My first stop in the Grand Valley Region was at Canyon Wind Cellars. If you are driving from Denver, its your first stop at Exit #44. Canyon Wind has been in the winemaking business for years…having started this winery in 1996. Owner, Jay Christianson is a second generation Christianson to make wines. When he was 9 years old he began working next to his Dad and at age 15 began his internship learning how to produce incredible wines, under the tutelage of his father and reknowned winemaker, Robert (Bob) Pepi.
Canyon Wind owns 50 acres of land, and currently 35 acres are under grapes with 6 more acres to be planted soon. Their largest production includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Jay’s favorite, Petit Verdot. But if those don’t suit your palate, they produce many other whites, reds and blends. Canyon Wind is all about single varietal wines under the Old World style of production. They are also an Estate winery, which means they grow their own grapes and produce their wines in the same location….a real plus for quality and control, and not something many of Colorado’s wineries can tout!
Their tasting room is surrounded by their vineyard and is adjacent to their production facility. Here they utilize the standard, large stainless tanks and oak barrels to ferment and age their wines, but also use stainless steel barrels, which was a new concept for me. They also have an underground cellar where they store their oak barrels.
I’ve mentioned, owner Jay Christianson, but I haven’t mentioned the newest addition to the family, and that is Jay’s wife, Jennifer. Jennifer came into the family in 2009 without much wine knowledge, but since then has increased her skills to the point of opening up a new winery (with Jay) called Anemoi Wines.
Where Canyon Wind is all about tradition, Anemoi is all about experimentation. Anemoi wines are big, fruit-forward, oaky New World wines. The wines are named after the Greek Gods of Wind…and let me tell you, it does get windy in the Grand Valley, as I experienced 50 mph winds one day during my visit! Their first wine is called Boreas and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Currently, there are 2 other wines available – Iapyx and Zephyrus. Keep your eye out for the next wind God and another delicious blend from Anemoi!
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