He’s found the recipe for wine
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Vintner Kevin Doyle credits “Irish grit and determination” – and natural talent in the kitchen – for the ongoing success of his Woody Creek Cellars.”I just make it natural,” Doyle said, of his winemaking process. “Don’t be uptight. … Go slow. If you know how to cook, you can make wine.”Doyle, a Southern California native who has lived in Woody Creek since 1976, can be found at the Glenwood Springs Downtown Market most Tuesdays. He started the small winery after a two-year apprenticeship under the guidance of Hotchkiss winemaker Steve Rhodes.”I went straight to the pros,” Doyle said. “I never made five gallons – I bought 10 tons of grapes and made 500 cases.” Using Old World techniques – aging his wines 24 months in French oak barrels and bypassing chemicals and filtering – Doyle produces his award-winning labels naturally.”I don’t add chemicals. My wine is really earthy and natural with a lot of finesse,” he said. “I get as close to biblical times as possible and stay away from technology. I like to say, ‘God is perfect – I am only the shepherd getting the grapes in the bottle.'”
Since starting the winery in 2000, Doyle consistently sells out of the 1,000-plus cases he bottles each year. Downvalley restaurants such as Baron’s at Hotel Colorado, Russets and Six89 pour Doyle’s wine.Production takes place in a vintage apple-packing shed in Orchard City, near Delta. Doyle harvests a total of 40 tons of grapes per year.”It’s a super-human effort,” he said. “It’s so a part of me. I choked up and started crying the other day just thinking about it.”Knowing his friends and neighbors will work for wine, Doyle enlists their help with handpicking, destemming and crushing grapes each October.”They all call it the ‘anti-job,'” Doyle said.Doyle is known to sleep on the floor with the barrels during crushes.”We like the barter system,” said Scott Brown, Doyle’s Woody Creek neighbor and a crush volunteer, as he manned the winery’s Glenwood Springs Downtown Market tasting booth Tuesday. “It’s hard work. It’s very physical. It’s like ski conditioning.”
Brown said Doyle’s uncomplicated approach to winemaking is what motivates him to help out where needed.”He’s very enthusiastic about his product. He’s very passionate about it,” Brown said. “It’s very fun to hang around people like that.”Doyle’s past experience in the local culinary scene – serving at Aspen restaurants such as The Mother Lode, Poppie’s and Krabloonik – helps him cater to clients who appreciate his Old World-meets-the-West approach to winemaking.”I like to see my wine consumed in Western Colorado,” he said. “The closer the people are to me, the better.”And Doyle has been awarded for his efforts.At the 2005 Colorado Mountain Winefest, Woody Creek Cellars won two silver medals, for a 2002 merlot and a 2002 cabernet Franc. This year’s event takes place Sept. 13-16 in Palisade, and Doyle will again be on hand to promote his wine.In November, Woody Creek Cellars is set to release its 2005 cabernet sauvignon, the first in Doyle’s collaboration with Verso Cellars in East Orchard Mesa. The grape used to make the tasteful cab is an Opus One clone, known for its ultrapremium quality.
Doyle’s newest brainchild – a sparkling white wine he describes as much like champagne – is in the research and development phase and could be released as early as 2009.”Everything I make is French-inspired,” he said.Doyle’s wines range in price from $15 to $25 per bottle and can be purchased at valley liquor stores, the Aspen Farmers Market, and the Glenwood Springs Downtown Market from 4 p.m. to dusk every Tuesday.”My quote is, ‘The common man should be able to drink wine every day for a fair price,” Doyle said.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. email@example.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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