Posts Tagged ‘Sutcliffe Vineyards’

Winery Visit – Sutcliffe Vineyards

After the Durango Wine Experience, I visited the three wineries near Cortez. Most people find it hard to believe that there are wineries there, let alone that they grow their own grapes. While the terroir does not afford ideal growing conditions, and they deal with high-altitude and cold, winter temperatures, these three wineries are making great strides in producing excellent grapes to make delicious wines.

John Sutcliffe, owner of Sutcliffe Vineyards planted his first grape vines in 1995 and has been producing delicious wines ever since. John also raises livestock and grows hay as well as other orchard fruits.

Visiting with John Sutcliffe was one of the most enjoyable two hours I have spent in a while. Besides the beautiful McElmo Canyon and nearby Ancestral Pueblos, the vast openness of the countryside, can take your breath away.  From Cortez, its a 10-mile drive to Sutcliffe Vineyards tasting room, but half the fun is getting there and once you arrive you will not  be disappointed.

John is a gracious host and toured us around his tasting room and adjacent home, his vineyards and farmlands and we even took a 3-mile drive to his “cave.”  Now I’m not sure if everyone gets a tour of the cave, but this is a remarkable cold storage space for Sutcliffe and I think the only Colorado “cave” of its kind!

After the tour, we basked in the sun, experienced the serenity of the area and enjoyed a sampling of Sutcliffe’s incredible tasting wines. My favorite was the Cinsault….something rare to Colorado wines. John Sutcliffe has definitely stepped forward as someone producing excellent Colorado wines.

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Having fun at the Durango Wine Experience

My new book – Exploring Colorado Wineries – Guidebook & Journal – was launched at the sixth annual Durango Wine Experience. The 3-day event took place May 3-5 (so put this on your calendar to attend in 2013). The two most popular events are the Walk-About on Friday afternoon, which consists of taking your special Durango Wine Experience glass, walking around and tasting delicious wines, beers and spirits at numerous locations in downtown Durango.  The Grand Tasting is the culmination of the 3-day event. Positioned under a huge festival  tent in the First National Bank parking lot were 50 vendors and 12 restaurant tables. Samplings of wine, beer and spirits as well as food was offered for one price.

Four out of the five Four Corners Region wineries were pouring their wine – Four Leaves Winery, Fox Fire Farms, Guy Drew Vineyards and Sutcliffe Vineyards. The other vendor tables consisted of distributors who represented “beverages” from all over the world. Many of the local Durango restaurants were on hand to offer some of their delicious fare.

The Durango Wine Experience was a huge success again this year, and provided net proceeds to United Way of Southwest Colorado.

Mark your calendars for the first weekend of May, 2013 as the seventh annual Durango Wine Experience will take place. If you haven’t been to Durango in a while, its a great area to visit and experience its world-class biking trails and blue ribbon water, take a ride on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge train or step back in time at Mesa Verde National Park.


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