One thing this year's finalists for Colorado Winery of the Year at the Colorado Manufacturing Awards have in common is the desire for consumers to embrace the wines that are produced in the state.
And they wouldn't mind a visit. "We'd love to see more people on the Front Range realize that they can take a trip to visit wine country right here in their own backyard, and we would like to see the relationship between Colorado's wine and culinary scenes grow even closer with local wine and food events throughout the state," says Jayme Henderson, co-founder, farmer and winemaker for The Storm Cellar in Hotchkiss, one of the 2021 nominees.
Sauvage Spectrum grows and sells grapes to more than two dozen wineries across the country. Last March, Sauvage opened a 5,000-square-foot winery on its 75-acre farm where they make wines from grape varieties not usually grown in the Centennial State. Grower Kaibab Sauvage, who has been farming for 20 years, and winemaker Patric Matysiewski teamed up to produce fruit-forward non-oaky wines designed to appeal to Millennials.
"The greatest success that our company can have is to be a part of helping to elevate the entire Colorado wine industry," Matysiewski says. "We must continue to improve upon the engagement and overall experience of our guests."
A busy tourist season and thriving tasting room in the North Fork Valley would define success for The Storm Cellar, a four-year-old winery founded by Steve Steese and Jayme Henderson.
The Storm Cellar ships to more than 40 states for a $15 flat-rate shipping fee with the purchase of six more more bottles and a 10 percent case discount on orders of 12 or more bottles.
"Defining success for the Colorado wine industry would be to see the residents within the state of Colorado fully embrace the state's wine culture," says Jayme Henderson, co-founder, farmer and winemaker for the winery. "There are so many award-winning wineries producing world-class wines right here, and Colorado is a state that loves to embrace high-quality, local products."
Carlson Vineyards is a family-owned winery in the high desert of western Colorado that's known for making easy-drinking regional wines.
Carlson is striving to create jobs that foster career growth for its staff rather than seasonal temporary work, says Garrett Portra, the winery's owner and winemaker. Portra, who is on the Wine America board, also says he'd like to see Colorado wines recognized alongside those from Washington, California and the Texas Hill Country.
"We're looking to increase the number of wines we can put in front of customers as well as the quality found in each bottle," Portra says. "Our focus has been and continues to be producing high-quality wines at approachable prices, and the more we can do that, the better."