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Canyon Wind Cellars
Kathy Sullivan

Canyon Wind CellarsSummary: Located in Palisade, Colorado, Canyon Wind Cellars has a variety of wines to taste. Be sure to notice the Colorado River flowing by and the reddish cliff formations not far away. The views from the vineyards are striking. Don’t forget your camera! Tours are available on summer weekends. Check for times.

The location of Canyon Wind Cellars is delightful with many views of cliff formations and the Colorado River flowing past. The elevation of the vineyards is 4710 feet. In the tasting room, you will discover a wine 47-Ten, a blend of red varietals. It was named for the elevation. A light wind passing through the canyon protects the vineyards. The vineyard soil is comprised of loose cobblestones and sand. This is a wonderful area to grow quality high-altitude grapes.

Canyon Wind CellarsIn front of the tasting room a small green oasis, enclosed by a two and a half to three foot stonewall, provides a retreat to view the natural beauty of the area. At the far end of the enclosure, a large tree with four gigantic branches, tempting one to dream about climbing or perhaps build a tree house provides shade over two tables and chairs. Vineyards surround the area and beyond the area are high rock formations

In 1991, Norman and Ellen Christianson planted the vineyards after Norman, a geologist, searched for an area that was conducive to growing grapes. The vineyards spread over 30 acres. Grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. Vineyards run along and perpendicular to the Colorado River. The beautiful Book Cliffs rise from the other side of the river to touch the sky. The bright, fresh green of the grapevines makes a striking contrast against the high, dry and reddish cliff formations. Although a bear fence runs between the vineyards and the river, if the season is unusually dry, bears will enjoy some of the grapes.

The Christiansons built the winery in 1995. The first crush was in 1996. Today Canyon Wind Cellars produces between 6,500 and 7,500 cases.

Canyon Wind CellarsIn the winery, one will discover many Missouri oak barrels along with some French oak barrels. The Christiansons like the attributes of the Missouri oak. The winemaker uses medium and plus toast. A barrel cellar provides the humidity level that oak barrels need. If you participate in a tour, you will see a temperature/humidity instrument. The cellar is indeed cool, 63 degrees, with a good level of humidity, 88 percent.

After our tour of the winery with Norman, we tasted several wines. Rosé 2006 was a blend of Petit Verdot and Chardonnay. The result was a fruit nose and strawberry taste. This wine was light and refreshing. Pinot Grigio 2007 had nuances of fruit and pineapple. Sauvignon Blanc 2006 had a floral nose and citrus taste with a crisp finish. Unoaked Chardonnay offered an apple-pear nose and taste while the Oaked Chardonnay had an apple nose and taste. There was oak on the finish with butter. Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 had a black cherry nose and a black cherry and chocolate taste. It was crisp.

Canyon Wind CellarsWhile you taste wines take advantage of the opportunity to browse the gifts available in the tasting room. The boutique tasting room offers visitors a selection of gifts to browse. Gourmet food items include grape seed oil, red raspberry vinegar, tequila wine vinegar as well as tomato and olive pestos.

If you have the opportunity, visit the vineyards and observe the stage of the grapevines. For a unique aspect, look through the grapevines at about 12 inches from the ground. The canopy of leaves is high with the result of a view of woody grape trunks. As one member of our group suggested, “it looks like a miniature forest.” Perhaps this is a magical forest for those with vivid imaginations. The magic continues right into the winery where the grapes become delicious wine.

Enjoy your visit to Canyon Wind Cellars. Take a camera so you can take home some wonderful memories.

Canyon Wind Cellars
1500 Argentine Street
Georgetown, Colorado 80444

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