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Located roughly 100 miles due north of Durango, just south of downtown Montrose, Colorado off US-550 sits LaNoue DuBois Winery. Owner and winemaker Lee LaNoue oversees a 15-acre estate vineyard planted to five French-American Hybrid varieties: Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, and New York Black Muscat. These varieties are extremely resilient to cold temperatures, and have a natural resistance to diseases. While these may be grapes you have never heard of, Lee finds that they have developed a following with those wanting to branch out into non-traditional wines.
Lee is a third-generation owner of the land on which LaNoue DuBois sits. In French, the name means “LaNoue of the Woods,” Woods being the maiden name of the matriarch in their family. All of the property surrounding the vineyard and winery used to be part of the Woods estate, and the vineyard is still called Woods Estate Vineyard.
Lee graduated from Western Colorado Community College’s Viticulture & Enology Program in 2020, the same year as his winery’s first harvest and a year before opening the tasting room. At LaNoue DuBois they employ sustainable farming practices and utilize a solar-powered drip irrigation system. All weeding is done by hand, and they don’t spray herbicides or pesticides. The cold-hardy grape varieties they grow don’t have to be sprayed for powdery mildew.
Visitors enjoy a beautifully-trimmed tasting room with wood from the Woods Family Farm. The room is available for business or social meetings and special events, with a capacity of 35. They also have a large patio with a wonderful view of the San Juan Mountains.
LaNoue DuBois has collaborated with Body-Mind Connection Massage for a one-of-a-kind wine and massage pairing. Their amazing masseuses will meet you in the vineyard for a 60- or 90-minute single or couple’s massage. As you bask in your massage, enjoy the sounds of the Uncompaghre River flowing by and the smells of the grapes in bloom. Afterwards, visit the tasting room to continue indulging your senses with the additional options of a bottle of wine and a charcuterie board.
With fine wine thoughtfully made from interesting varietals, incomparable views in a family atmosphere, and peaceful, indulgent luxuries to treat yourself and someone special, anyone exploring western Colorado’s wine-growing region should make a point of visiting LaNoue DuBois Winery.
Learn more about LaNoue DuBois Winery, purchase their wine, and follow them here:
Peachfork Orchards & Vineyards specializes in raising high-quality fresh fruit and estate wines in the town of Palisade on Colorado’s western slope.
Owners Susan and Phil Patton bought the property (adjacent to property purchased in 1972 by Susan’s mother, Lola Brennan) in 1991 and began growing apples and grapes a year later. They started by growing and selling Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Lemberger to Carlson Winery, and continue to grow for them today. After adding peaches to their repertoire in 1997, the Pattons opened the winery in 2016.
Phil, a former engineer, and 2021 Grape Grower of the Year, is the winemaker and specializes in cold-hardy varieties like Chambourcin, Traminette, Noiret, and Blaüfrankisch (aka Lemberger). Current releases also include Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blends, Peach, and Pear-Apple. The latter won Double Gold at the 2023 Colorado Governor’s Cup. If you have never tried a non-grape-based wine you need to start with Peachfork’s Pear-Apple!
The Pattons have a heart for conservation, and value the land on which they farm, placing it in conservation with Mesa Land Trust to insure the agricultural Lola started in 1972.
Visit the Pattons at their tasting room, which is open Thursday through Monday from 12:00-6:00 and Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment. Learn more and follow them here:
Founded in 2016 by Timothy Morley, founder of Chocolove chocolate, Boulder-based Vinnie Fera seeks to make world class wine with a Colorado soul. Vinnie Fera was named after the European species of grape vine, Vitis vinifera. Tim, a botanist by training, embarked on an active education in wine in Sonoma County while guiding the taste of tea blends at a tea company in California. His in-depth wine travels include time in Chile, Piemonte, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne.
Vinnie Fera began by making mostly sparkling wines, with grapes sourced from regions like Sonoma County, Santa Barbara County, and the Willamette Valley. Their 2018 Vinnie Fera Brut Rose made in the Methode Champenoise is 70% Pinot Grigio and 30% Pinot Meunier and was sourced from West Elks AVA in Colorado.
Vinnie Fera also owns the trademark Hogback for wine and spirits and makes wine under this label from Colorado grapes (more on this in our Hogback profile).
Winemaker Kyle Mitchell has a degree in horticulture science from Colorado State University and Kyle worked for nearly a decade with the who’s who of winemakers in California. He says his goal as a winemaker is to make the last sip taste better than the first. He makes Vinnie Fera wines for consumption with food. All wines are fermented to dryness and in post-fermentation handling are supported with careful oak aging. While forward and approachable in wine style, they are also well structured to hit their sweet spot in years consistent with well-made white and red wines.
Visit Vinnie Fera at their beautiful Boulder tasting room and enjoy their wines for a tasting fee of just $15. Also, check out their website for special tastings, performing arts experiences, and other fun events.
Learn more about Vinnie Fera, purchase their wine, and follow them here:
Timothy Morley’s second wine label is Hogback, a trademark for wine and spirits owned by Vinnie Fera. Hogback is a geologic term and the colloquial name for the land formation that is a protrusion or ridge of limestone technically known as the Morrison Formation. This area in western Colorado has been the most fertile source of dinosaur fossils in North America. Western Colorado is also the state’s prime area for growing grapes.
Varietals such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Syrah are sourced from farmers in the Grand Valley AVA, the West Elks AVA, and the Four Corners region of Colorado and the wine is made and bottled under the Hogback label. The label design is evocative of the front range and mountain landscape with the hogback ridge.
Winemaker Kyle Mitchell’s approach is to evaluate Colorado wine and it comparable to other reputable regions around the world. Hogback wines are fermented in small lots, usually single clones, using diverse methods like saignee, whole cluster fermentation, and carbonic maceration. Yeasts and barrels are matched to clones and varietals in order to support the best expression of the area and allow Kyle’s creativity to come through in blending and bottling. Some of the wines are on a short program of 6-9 months, while others are aged anywhere from 14-36 months. Wines are then bottled, labeled, and bottle aged until they are ready for release.
Vinnie Fera farms a 10-acre vineyard in the early stages of growth and by 2025 plans to start making wine from that vineyard, which predictably enough is planted in close proximity to the Hogback.
We encourage you to visit their Boulder facility and taste their wonderful wines. If you are not in Colorado, purchase Hogback wine here:
Linda and Gary Brauns have a passion for restoration projects. It’s what they do. Gary began by restoring old Volkswagens, which led him to a career as a parts distributor for Mercedes Benz, the cars he now restores. The couple has supplemented their income by flipping houses.
It should come as no surprise, then, that in 2012 the Brauns bought a dying 10-acre vineyard in Palisade, Colorado, on East Orchard Mesa, above the Colorado River, known as the “stick vineyard.” They originally planned to flip it in a couple of years but those plans changed when “the sticks” produced a Chardonnay crop in their first year of ownership. Linda learned how to make wine and a new passion was born.
The Brauns opened their tasting room in 2018 and today Restoration Vineyards grows Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon. Critical acclaim for their wines has followed.
At the 2023 Colorado Governor’s Cup Competition, a dozen wines emerged as winners among the 286 wine submissions from 48 Colorado wineries. These wines are known as the 2023 Governor’s Cup Collection. One of these is the 2022 Restoration Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Grand Valley.
While wine experts agree on the quality of Restoration Vineyards wine, so do consumers. Just read the glowing five-star reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp.
So, wine as a reclamation project? You bet! Visit Restoration Vineyards, taste their wine, and see for yourself. If you’re not in Colorado you can purchase their wine, learn more, and follow them here: