With A Little Help From My Friends

From Colorado Wine Press, 12 Nov 2010

The wine industry can be a pretty cutthroat business. Just as new wineries open up on a weekly basis, others close due to competition. A winery's bottom line depends on selling wine; If consumers are buying a competitor's wine they're not buying your wine. Wineries naturally compete against each other, however, they can also work together. This is especially important in emerging wine regions such as Colorado.

In Colorado, a leader in cooperation is Two Rivers Chateau and Winery. Owner Bob Witham, is the first Colorado winery proprietor to utilize a recently enacted state law that allows two or more wineries to operate at an alternating proprietor licensed premise. This means that a portion of a host winery’s licensed premises can be shared with alternating proprietors for winemaking activities. Offered as an employee incentive for Two Rivers' winemaker Tyrel Lawson, Witham agreed to let Lawson start his own winery, Kahil Winery, using Two Rivers' infrastructure. One condition with this arrangement is that Kahil must not produce any wines that directly compete against any Two Rivers labels. For its first release, Kahil produced a Malbec, a variety which Two Rivers does not produce.

In addition to sharing premises with Kahil Winery, Two Rivers also produced and bottled a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon blend, Colterris, for High Country Orchards and Vineyards owner Theresa High. Not surprisingly, Ty Lawson was also the winemaker for this debut endeavor. With the cooperation and foresight of Two Rivers Winery, two new wine brands have been emerged by taking baby steps while holding the hand of one the leaders of Colorado's wine industry. To celebrate and participate in the First Ever World Wide Colorado Wine Virtual Tasting, I opened a bottle of Colterris.

2008 Colterris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Valley AVA, Colorado