A family love affair with wine | PostIndependent.com

A family love affair with wine

Mesa Park Vineyards co-owner Brooke Webb inspects her grape crop recently, which she said will likely be harvested within the week. Mesa Park Vineyards at 3321 C Road is a family-owned business run by true wine enthusiasts. They will be pouring their award-winning vintages at Colorado Mountain Winefest's main event Saturday at Riverbend Park in Palisade.
Caitlin Row / crow@gjfreepress.com | Free Press

Editor’s note: Who We Are is a regular series featuring men and women who embody the unique spirit of the Grand Valley. To nominate someone to be featured, email crow@gjfreepress.com.

When Brooke and Brad Webb toured Grand Valley’s wine country over Labor Day weekend in 2008, their lives suddenly changed course. That weekend, the young married couple from the Front Range decided to take a huge risk and leave their jobs in finance in favor of another shared passion — wine.

“We stumbled upon a vineyard that was for sale, and we talked ourselves into it,” Brooke, 35, said with a smile. “In March 2009, we closed on Mesa Park Vineyards and now we’re entering into our fifth harvest.

“It’s truly been a learning experience. None of us had a background in wine, and we’re basically self-taught. We had a lot of help from other winemakers, CAVE (the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology), and the CSU Extension.”

Joined by Brooke’s parents — Patty and Chuck Price, who moved from Front Range as well to join the business — Mesa Park Vineyards is now owned and operated by two generations of wine enthusiasts who took the bull by the horns in hopes of becoming true experts in their chosen field. Their vineyard, tasting room and on-site residence is located at 3321 C Road in Palisade.

“All four of us love wine,” Brooke said, “and we have an appreciation for wine tasting.”

Chuck, Brooke and Brad share winemaking duties — from harvesting grapes grown on their property to production and bottling. Plus, all four family members take turns managing the tasting room, with Patty working as the tasting room leader.

“I like making wine and meeting the clientele,” Chuck, 64, said. “It’s fantastic.”

And despite never having run a vineyard before, over the last five years the family has worked extremely hard to immerse themselves in western Colorado’s small, agricultural community. Most recently, they received recognition for the quality of their wine with two gold medals for their cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc from the Colorado State Fair this past summer.

“The first few years were a challenge,” said 37-year-old Brad, who formerly worked as a banker. “It took a few years, but with perseverance we’ve proved to folks that we’re going to make it. We’ve paid our dues and maintained the quality of wine” from the previous vineyard owners.

“Embracing this lifestyle is key to what we do,” Brad added. “We came here to taste wine and we decided we wanted to live here. We made that happen, and we have a chance to better our community.”

Brad also recently joined the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, a two-year program which allows for a variety of travel while learning about agriculture on a global level.

“Farmers are the most impressive people,” he said. “People take it for granted where their food comes from. I want to bring rural Colorado to the urban corridor, so people can better understand where food comes from.”

The Webbs and Prices have additionally been involved with CAVE’s annual Colorado Mountain Winefest (which is going on in Palisade this weekend) since taking over Mesa Park Vineyards in 2009.

“It’s a fabulous event,” Brooke said, who also sits on CAVE’s board of directors. “We’ve got a booth set up and we’ll be there to pour. We’re holding a big open house on Sunday, too, called Behind the Winery Bash.”

Mesa Park Vineyards is currently readying for another very important event — the harvest of their grapes — which they expect to commence as early as this coming week.

“We grow really good grapes here, and the wine follows that trend,” Chuck said. “I’m excited for the harvest. I can’t quit cleaning.”

For more information about Palisade’s Mesa Park Vineyards and where to purchase wine, call 970-434-4191 or visit http://www.mesaparkvineyards.com.

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