Red Fox Cellars, a new winery, opens for business in Palisade, Colorado
WHAT: Red Fox Cellars Grand Opening
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27
WHERE: 695 36 Road, Palisade
A salesman, a waitress, a construction expert, an office manager and an engineer: Put the five together and what do you get? Red Fox Cellars, Palisade’s newest winery! Scott and Sherrie Hamilton, along with their sons — Chad and Kyle, plus their daughter-in-law, Kelly — recently started a family business.
They transplanted from Denver to Palisade to purchase a vineyard two years ago, and now the fruits of their labor is being celebrated … with the opening of their tasting room set for Friday, Sept. 19. It’s located at 695 36 Road. Tasting room hours are planned Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment.
A grand-opening celebration is also in the works for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27-28.
“It’s exciting to open in an area known for wineries and agriculture in general,” Kelly said. “We like to drink wine, and it turns out we like to make it as well. It doesn’t feel like work when you love what you do.”
Chad — Kelly’s husband — home-brewed beer for the past decade as well. He applied his brew skills to their new wine business, she said, and came up with Red Fox Cellars’ “bourbon barrel” technique. Chad, now Red Fox Cellars’ full-time winemaker, continues to experiment with a variety of fruits and other ingredients to craft unique flavors.
Since 2013, Red Fox has produced 1,500 gallons of wine. Currently 900 gallons of merlot are in the mix, along with 150 gallons of cider, 100 gallons of a cherry wine (which is described by Kelly as “cherry pie in a glass”), 80 gallons of peach wine, and 500 gallons of bourbon-barrel wine.
TASTING ROOM OFFERINGS
According to the Hamiltons, wine cocktails (featuring their own wine, of course) will be a highlight of their tasting room. Options include a Bourbon Barrel Old Fashioned ($6) and “44” and Citrus ($6). The Old Fashioned is a mix of muddled sweet cherry, Bourbon Barrel Merlot, simple syrup, club soda and a dash of bitters. The “44” and Citrus is a mix of lemon-lime soda, a “44” red-wine blend, a dash of orange bitters, and an orange-peel garnish.
A bottle of Red Fox Cellars’ Bourbon Barrel Merlot is $20. A bottle of “44” costs $18.
Since opening, the Hamiltons have played with many flavors including adding hops to their wine.
“We aren’t out to be gimmicky with being different,” Kelly said. “We make sure it is actually good before we bottle it.”
Kelly currently works as Red Fox’s marketing coordinator, and she also works as a server at Kannah Creek Brewing Company (1960 N. 12th St., Grand Junction). Kannah is the only restaurant in the Grand Valley to serve Red Fox Cellars so far, which helped the winery get much-needed exposure.
“I knew they wouldn’t spare my feelings when choosing the wine, but they ended up liking it,” she said of the Bourbon Barrel Merlot.
NEW WINERY TAKES CHANCES
Opening a new winery has its advantages, Kelly confirmed, including the cultivation of “fresh grapes” on the Hamilton’s seven-acre vineyard in Palisade.
“It’s a lot of trial and error,” she said. “But, we aren’t afraid to take a risk.”
And Doug Caskey, Colorado Wine Industry Development Board’s executive director, is glad someone finally bought the old vineyard, which was unoccupied for a time.
“Instead of selling the grapes, [the Hamiltons] are trying to build a winery out of the vineyard,” he noted.
When wineries opt to grow their own grapes, like Red Fox is doing, business isn’t so dependent on outside forces, Caskey explained. Plus, it allows for business owners to better plan ahead for wine production.
For more information, visit http://www.redfoxcellars.com.
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