New wine ferments for festival
High Country Orchards co-owner Theresa High will introduce her first wine this weekend at Colorado Mountain Winefest.
High has been in the peach and cherry business on East Orchard Mesa for years, but she said she always dreamed of having a vineyard and a line of wines.
She planted cabernet, cabernet franc and Bordeaux grapes on a 19-acre plot near the orchard that her husband christened “Theresa’s Vineyard.” In July, she began bottling 1,084 cases of a 2008 cabernet sauvignon under the brand name Colterris Wines after the wine aged for 18 months in oak barrels. The brand name comes from “Col,” short for Colorado, and the Latin term “terris,” which means “from the land.”
The wine, which mixes High’s grapes with malbec and merlot grapes grown elsewhere in the Grand Valley, already earned two medals at competitions in other areas.
One of those wins was in the Governor’s Cup tasting last month in Denver. High said she can’t yet announce where she earned the other win.
High has visited wineries in California, Oregon, Italy, France and other locales and has gotten most of her advice on wine-making from professionals outside the Grand Valley. But she and her husband couldn’t imagine making wine anywhere but here.
“Neither of us wanted to leave Colorado to pursue our dream,” she said.
Colterris will be one of 56 Colorado wine brands at this year’s Winefest. The event will feature four seminars; a chef demonstration by Kelly Liken, a Vail chef who placed fourth on the reality series “Top Chef D.C.”; a dinner with food prepared by Liken; and wine and chocolate tasting with sweets from Enstrom Candies.
Tickets are $43 for general admission or $56 with a boxed lunch, $23 for non-drinkers or $35 with a boxed lunch, and $180 for VIP tickets.
Ticket sales have kept pace with sales for last year’s Wine- fest, according to Winefest Executive Director Sarah Catlin.
“We started early this year with good ticket sales due to our marketing push through our new website and social media, which has allowed us to consistently sell,” Catlin wrote in an e-mail. “This past weekend we had a spike in sales which puts us on target with last year’s numbers.”
Elaine Matthews of the Ryan, Sawyer & Whitney marketing firm, who is working on public relations for Winefest, said the strategy of consistently updating Facebook and Twitter accounts for the festival has helped people stay informed and get interested in tickets.
The Facebook page for Winefest as of Monday afternoon had 1,474 fans, and the festival’s Twitter account had 1,420 followers.
Winefest’s Facebook page sponsored a contest for naming the wine-swilling animals that appear in this year’s Winefest materials, and it had a contest to pick a person to update the Twitter page throughout Winefest and report on what’s happening inside and outside the VIP tent.