While I was visiting Colorado Cellars Winery, they were bottling their RoadKill Red, so I had the opportunity to learn the bottling process. Below is a basic explanation. Please see corresponding pictures.
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- The bottles come upside down in cases.
- A person turns them upright and sets them on the bottle line.
- The machine vacuums out the air and at the same time puts nitrogen into the bottle.
- The bottle is filled with wine from the bottom up (wine is actually sprayed to the outside of the bottle). This allows the carbon dioxide to rise to the top, therefore protecting the wine from oxidation.
- The bottle is corked.
- The cap is put on and then twisted for secure sealing.
- The labels are put on.
- The bottle exits the bottling machine and is packed in cases by hand.
When I arrived at Colorado Cellars Winery, owners Richard and Padte Turley were bottling (see separate blog on the bottling process) some of their delicious Roadkill Red. This is their biggest seller and possibly the only wine that comes in a red bottle! To truly understand what Colorado Cellars and the Turley’s represent, you must first understand how winemaking began in Colorado. So here is the story / history…hope I got it correct…..
Dr. Gerald Ivancie started the first winery in Colorado in the mid-1960s, but imported his grapes from California. Then, in 1978 a new winery was formed under the name Colorado Mountain Vineyards. There were 12 investors and Rick, who grew the grapes, and they bought their equipment from Ivancie. Unfortunately there was “disagreements” among the investors and in 1985, a man named Tom Husband (not an original investor) bought out the others. In 1989, Rick bought out Husband. Now under the ownership of the Turley’s is Colorado Mountain Vineyards, Colorado Cellars Winery and Rocky Mountain Vineyards. For the Turley’s, their winery is family owned and operated, and as their website says… “we are, and always have been, exclusively in the winemaking business.”
Winemaker, Padte, is crafting some delicious wines…in fact 30 wines in all under their 3 brands. One of the unusual aspects at their tasting room is the ability to “pour your own.” In addition to wine-related merchandise at the tasting room is their homemade salsa and mustards that are created using their wine as one of the ingredients. They have a HUGE storage facility for their tanks and barrels that is actually underground. This helps keep the temperature cooler and the humidity higher, which helps control evaporation. During my winery tours I have seen a variety of machines that crush and press, but I was really impressed by Colorado Cellars “bladder press,” which Rick says is the biggest in Colorado!
When you have finished tasting Colorado Cellars’ delicious wines, take a walk through their vineyard, which is located just outside their tasting room. Some of the grapes come from a Colorado State University project and date back to 1975, making them the oldest commercial wine grape vineyard in Colorado. For all us non-farmers….grapevines usually only last 30 years and take 3 years to get a first small crop.
A stop at Colorado Cellars Winery is not only a travel back in time through Colorado’s winery history, but a place to indulge yourself with a variety of delicious wines.
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