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November 18, 2010 by Jacob Harkins
Not long before producing its first wine, this vineyard had some pretty special guests: First Lady Michelle Obama and her kids. They were visiting for the main attraction, however, the High Country Orchards peach trees.
Maybe if they swing through during a campaign stop in a few years, they’ll pack a case of Colterris wines onto Air Force One rather than a few boxes of peaches.
Colterris Wines is one of the state’s newest wine labels, produced by the same family that has been running the massive and beautiful High Country Orchards on East Orchard Mesa since 1999.
The vineyard and peach farm overlooks the Colorado River, Mount Garfield and Mount Lincoln. It’s a beautiful property filled with some of the great peach trees we’ve come to expect from the Grand Valley.
Many would be content at producing tons of premium peaches each season. But Scott High made a promise when he proposed to his future wife many years back: He’d buy her a vineyard. The storybook promise turned into the purchase of Theresa’s Vineyard in 2008. Tony Fernandez, the High Country peach farm and vineyard manager who brings more than three decades of Napa viticulture experience to Palisade, planted the 19-acre vineyard back in 2001 so the vines were more than ready to produce when the Highs took ownership.
And in the summer of 2010, the Highs debuted their label: Colterris Wines. The name Colterris was derived by combining a three-letter abbreviation of Colorado ,“Col,” with the Latin word terris, meaning from the land.
In total, the Highs now have about 25 acres of vines planted, including Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot clones, to go along with the 71 acres of peaches that grow in more than two dozen varieties. The 2008 Colterris is a Cabernet Sauvignon, and the family plans to play with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot in future vintages.
While they are new to the winemaking business, they bring 30 years of combined wine experience from the sales, marketing and wholesale side (and a whole bunch of travel and tasting). Since they don’t have a full-scale winery on site yet, they left their harvested grapes in the capable hands of Tyrel Lawson, the winemaker for two other distinct label, Two Rivers Winery and Kahil Winery.
Winemaker: Tyrel Lawson
Best wine from the owner’s perspective: “The best bottle that we have produced from Theresa’s Vineyard is Colterris Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, which was our first release from Colterris Wines,” Theresa says.
* 2008 Colterris: Silver at the 2010 Colorado Mountain WineFest
* 2008 Colterris: Bronze at the 2010 Governor’s Cup
Wine club: Coming soon.
Tasting room: Opening in the spring of 2011.
Colterris Wines, 581 36 5/8th Road, Palisade, 970-464-1150
* Twitter: ColterrisWines