Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group

The Storm Cellar Winery - Jayme Henderson + Steve Steese - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group

December 09, 2021 Jayme Henderson + Steve Steese Season 1 Episode 21
Full Circle with The Christi Reece Group
The Storm Cellar Winery - Jayme Henderson + Steve Steese - Full Circle With The Christi Reece Group
Show Notes Transcript

Christi and Marketing Manager Mattie sit down with the owners of The Storm Cellar Winery of Hotchkiss, CO to talk wine, growth, grapevines, palates, pairings and more.  Jayme and Steve are so passionate about their wine making that you'll be running out to the store by the end of this episode to try their incredible, award-winning wines!

Find out more about them at stormcellarwine.com or follow them on social (they do GREAT social).  Cheers!

If you prefer video, check out our YouTube page!

Christi:

The full circle podcast, compelling interviews and incredible tales from Colorado's Western slope, from the mountains to the desert Christi Reece, and her team here from the movers, shakers, and characters of the grand valley and surrounding mountain towns that make the Western slope, the place we all love. You'll learn. You'll laugh. You'll love with the full circle. Hi everyone. And welcome back to the full circle podcast. Uh, I'm here today with our marketing manager, Carey Matthews, also known as Mattie, and with some very special guests from the storm celler vineyard , uh , winery. Uh, this is Steve Steese and Jamye Henderson, and we are excited to learn all about your wines and your property today and your lives. We just , we wanna hear everything. Yeah . Right. So just share it, all, share it all. Um, yeah. I , uh, have not had the pleasure of attending your facility yet, but Mattie has. And so she's here today to , uh , chime in on all the one wonderful things that you do. And we're, we're just excited to learn more about the wine and everything and , and all over the Western slope. We have such pride in our wines here in the grand valley, and we feel like you're a part of that, you know, Western slope. We're all, we're all one all together. Yeah. And it's really important. Um, so Mattie , why don't you start off with a couple of questions for , uh , Steve and Jayme. Well, welcome.

Mattie:

Thank you . Thank you for coming. And yes, I've been kind of stalking them this past summer. We , we went a couple times to the , we became good friends. Yes. We were there like all day. And then we , at the end of the day, Jim was like, was that weird that we were there? Like <laugh> not at all six hours ? No , like , I don't think we're the only people that no , take that long. So , um, anyways, but it's awesome. And so after being there a couple times, I definitely wanted to talk to you guys and talk more in depth , cuz they're so busy. Like these guys are like the show, like they're doing everything and they're tasting rooms . So,

Christi:

Ah , I read about you, you , you have one employee. Is that still true?

Jayme:

Uh, one this year that operated the tasting room on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Kelan Smith. And she did an amazing job and having her there those two days out of the five that we were open, allowed us to be in the vineyard because we do all of the vineyard work together , uh , allowed us to do any, you know, deliveries, which we do across the state out of our pickup trucks . So it was, it was big, big help to have her there those two days mm-hmm <affirmative>

Christi:

But otherwise you do, you all do everything, all the jobs, everything. Yeah, we do. Amazing.

Jayme:

It's funny. We were just , uh , talking with one of the growers that we purchased grapes from and we were , uh , you know , asking for tips on efficiency and planting and grape variety . And you know, he was talking about how he has all of these crews and such, and we are the cruise . So we have about like for example, we have about 4,000 vines that we're putting into the ground this next spring. And you know, because it's just the two of us right now in a perfect world. It'd be great to have more, but you're always looking to make things more simpler and more efficient mm-hmm

Christi:

<affirmative> goal. It sounds awfully romantic. Is it , is it that romantic? Like you guys are working together, you're picking graves together. It's pretty

Steve:

Romantic. Yeah.

Christi:

<laugh> a vineyard. I think a lot of people have that feeling like, oh gosh, it just sounds like wonderful. It's a lot of hard work.

Jayme:

It's a lot of hard work. You , you can weigh in on that. Steve. Yeah.

Steve:

People who think they want a vineyard, they don't really want a vineyard. They want a Chateau or they want a tasting room. They don't , they want pay everybody to do all the work and they just , they just want to lower over their property

Christi:

And some wine eat good food while looking at the beautiful view and the vines. Yeah. Who doesn't want that? Who doesn't

Jayme:

Want that. Yeah . Yeah. And then there are stories like that where, you know, you have these people who have, you know, already established a career and they can just launch this vineyard and winery project. Um, but you know, kind of play on what you just said. We thought about waiting maybe even like 20 years to do what we're doing, but we realized that we wouldn't be able to be as hands on . So we're capitalizing on, you know, the youth that we have, the energy that we have , uh, so that we can really be hands on in what we do. We love being, you know, right there in the mix of things. Well ,

Steve:

There certainly will be some point in the future where we have employees, but how do you train some you what to do if you've never done it, if it's new exactly industry for you. So we have to figure everything out ourselves before we can figure out which tasks are the ones that we're willing to let go, which ones are the ones that we refuse to let go? Um , those kinds of things. Yeah . Well

Mattie:

Said, well, it's a good question to go, go to the beginning. I , uh , we know that you guys had a life in the restaurant industry in Denver and other areas and small years and all the , you know, in really in depth , talk about the transition to like, how did you, I mean, obviously you've kind of told the story a million times, this is, you know, we decided to buy this vineyard, but like really talk about that transition and how you took that leap. That's a huge leap. What you guys did. Yeah.

Steve:

I like talking about that.

Jayme:

No , I was just gonna say the same thing and I'll , I'll let you take the lead, but you know , um , it's a story that we never get tired of telling it's our roots. We're still attached to that part of our lives. We're we're not letting go of our culinary hospitality roots . Yeah, go ahead. You can weigh in.

Steve:

No , I mean, people ask what it's like to be a somelier and they just like owning a winery. They think it's this magical thing where you're just tasting a wine all the time. But

Christi:

Like people think that all we do is look at great houses. Some people, you know, like all day beautiful houses, that's all we see . Yeah.

Steve:

But even us, we say mean even though we're certified som liaison , we spend a lot of time of our lives with that as our professional career. Now, when we talk about ourselves, we say former sommelier because in our mind's eye, a sommelier is a specific thing. A lot of people think, oh, it's this certification you get, I have a piece of paper. I miss really, it's a service position. If you're not in a restaurant, are you really suddenly , maybe you've got the certification, but that's debate . That's really what the job is, is the , the curator of a restaurant wine list. Um , so which is why we say, former sommelier now, but you know, when you're running a restaurant like that, you don't ever get time off. We were running the busiest restaurant in Colorado for many years, is that Shanahan's Shanahan's mm-hmm <affirmative> um , but what people outside of the industry don't see is when you get to a place like Napa valley and you tell them you're the wine director of the busiest, the steakhouses in Colorado, you , you literally cannot imagine the red carpet that gets rolled out. It is like truly like jaw dropping. Oh, Colorado. Unbelievable. Yeah . So for years, you know, we'd get time off time away. And we'd say, you know what? I really missed the beach, but wine country's free <laugh> . So for year, for a decade, every time we had time off, we'd spend it in wine country. And just like everybody, when you first get to wine country, it's, it's magical and it's shrouded in mystery. And then after years of seeing it and studying it, you , you start to see the process as behind it. And then after more years of visiting, we'd literally one of our catch very is we'd , we'd walk out of a winery, we'd leave a vineyard and we'd look at each other and be like, we could totally , we could totally do this. Or if, if that guy can do it, we can totally do this. And um, just like Jamie said, we , we didn't want to retire and pay somebody else to do the work. We wanted to do it ourselves. If it felt like the right time and a lot of levels.

Christi:

So I thought you were kind of kidding when you said they rolled out the red carpet for you, but they did. Oh , they do. Oh, they do. And they really

Jayme:

Treat you, right? Yes. When you are running a list of 750 plus bottles, and you have this coveted by the glass, you know, section you have like between 10 and 15, say red wines on a list, someone out there in cat , California spec , for example, you know, is vying for that. We would do cases and cases and cases a week. And so they do roll out the red carpet. Um, I kind of chuckled inside a moment ago because when you're we , when we totally crossed over and became winemakers in Colorado, then you're growers or grape growers here, Colorado going back into the restaurant scene from Colorado wine standpoint, there's a big hurdle. You know, it'd be easy if we were from California, everyone thinks quality wine, California, and they open the door for you. And even in our home state, after we released our first wines, even people that we knew they're , you know, a little apprehensive, like, let , let's see what you've got. Okay. You have to prove your quality. Mm-hmm , <affirmative> totally different scenario, like a 180. Wow.

Christi:

So , um, and , and back to Mattie's point of like, how did you make that transition? How did you, did you look at each other and say, now's the time? I mean, we just gotta do it. Yeah. But that the , the right property presented itself though,

Steve:

The right property presented itself, that was the , that was the real turning point was finding the right place. It had been just sort of this mysterious dream until we find the right place. But pretty much the, the drive back to Denver from the very first time we saw that property, we spent the four hours back to Denver writing a business plan and pretty much haven't turned around since then. We

Jayme:

Were thoroughly convinced after looking at this particular property that we knew we were the ones that should have it and that no one else would be able to fulfill the dream that we, and I mean, that might sound kind of gutsy and crazy because we weren't even farming. We , we were growing , uh , gosh, maybe 45 tomato plants in our city plot . And we were just like, well, if we can do this on a small scale, we can do this on a , a larger scale. And I think that having that kind of that crazy, I call it crazy faith. You know, it's just like, I think we can do it if you don't have that. And if you knew all of the challenges that we'd be presented, I , I don't know if we would've taken that jump.

Mattie:

What is , so what did you with the property that you bought? What did you inherit, if you will, like, what, what was there, what did you have to invest in?

Jayme:

Not a winery <laugh> it was not a winery at all. It was , uh , it was a , it's still is a vineyard. So it was planted with white wine grapes. Uh , some of which could be made into rose and it needed a lot of repair. Uh , it had a lot of great roots. Uh, some of the wines that came out of that particular property were award winning . We , um, but we hadn't even been able to taste what was actually made like the wine that was made from those grapes on the property, cuz they were always the London with grand valley grapes. So there was a big leap. Um, but we saw great potential. As far as the inherited question. Um, we inherited a lot of farm equipment that we did not necessarily know how to use. Um, a lot of crowdsourcing, a lot of tapping into local resource resources, local farmers, local winemakers , um, you two videos, a lot of groundwork that was where we least that was the least known topic was the farming aspect. And we didn't, you couldn't even conceptualize what an acre even meant until you'd walked it until you'd, you know , taken the track around it. So it was, you know, we had to do a lot of equipment purchasing to bring it to <affirmative> a winery. So, and you're

Christi:

Planting more vines, you said yes this year. So was there a portion of the land that was fallow or, or lacking or are you replanting, did you had to tear , did you have to tear things out a little bit of both

Steve:

A big in depth , convoluted subject, you

Jayme:

Could fill up the rest of the, the 45 minutes. Like how long do we have here that that's a book, <laugh>

Steve:

It ? It was a vineyard. It had been neglected a lot of it for many years. So we have been able to salvage some of the vines that were there. Um, it's , uh , a terrible pest exists in that vineyard that we found a couple months after purchasing the property. Of course, Colorado thought it was immune to this pest because of its extreme climates here. But unfortunately it's not just in our vineyard, but it's running rampant through the grand valley area right now too. And it's going to be the bane of Colorado wine industry for the next 10 years. And the only , the only way to deal with it, people are always shocked when they say there's a bug in your vineyard, you can't rid or get rid of can if you tried this, if you sprayed this, I'm like, if you can solve this problem, you are set for life billionaire . It is the billion. It is the billion dollar question that affects the entire world of wine. Every, every vineyard in the entire world has to come to terms with this pest. And the only way to get around it is to replant with rootstock, that's immune to that pest. It's really the only way to deal with it. Otherwise you're fighting a , a battle of maybe you can buy yourself a couple years if you pour some poison onto the vineyard to , to, to buy a little time, but who wants to do that? Just free land and get on with it. Yeah.

Jayme:

And then you lost a lot to the freeze we did. So we had , um, kind of conceptualize when we first purchased the property. There were maybe 18 producing acres of vines and we were able to use most of them. Um, the first year that we were there, we sold them two different, excuse me, Colorado wineries around the state. And then in 2018 we made our first round of wine and we knew that we had phylloxera, the pest that Steve was mentioning in our vineyard. And so slowly our estate vineyard production has decreased. And so like right now, even before the frost event that you were mentioning back in late October of 2020 , uh, you know, we were projecting that we would have maybe 10 to 12 producing acres on our property. Um, those 10 to 12 producing acres, you know , um, they were killed back by that frost. However, their older vines and their roots system was fully established. So this year in 2021, we were able to train the roots , uh , trained from the roots, several new shoots. And those will be next year's trunks and will be able to obtain fruit in a perfect world from them for 2022 harvest. But those are also on a , you know , a death March , uh , with phylloxera. So we're enjoying what we have right now, but to answer your question about replanting, we have already started replant ding . We have about three V uh , three vines, three acres of vines already planted. And the thing about grape vines that you have to consider is just because you put 'em in the ground from seeds, say like , uh , like a tomato, you can get a crop, you know, a few months later, 90 days you have to really wait about three to four years to obtain a harvest. You, you can maybe get a couple of , um , clusters those first two years, but really, especially in Colorado with its volatile climate, you wanna make sure that you concentrate on root stability, a great trunk system , uh , for the cold possibility mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative>. So how does your ,

Christi:

Um, Somali past and your food experience affect how you wanna make wine? How's that make you better wine growers?

Jayme:

I light up with that question. Um, we definitely we're home cooks , uh , the conversation when you are at a table with a guest, you know, even if they're buying a $30 bottle of wine, a $7,000 bottle of wine, it's about a story it's about that connection. Who's in the kitchen. What ingredients are they using , um, where those ingredients say grown in Colorado was the wine, you know, made here in Colorado. That moment is, is so exciting. And as far as like affecting our wine, making style else , being able to taste through all of the wines that we did over the years, hundreds of wines, it builds a library like a tasting library, a , a palate that you can kind of go back to, to reference. And it's allowed us to put our wines, our personal wines that we've made in a worldly context. And so being able to talk to people that come in the tasting room and you're able to say, Hey, have you had this shun , have you had this, you know, really crisp, dry, lively expression of Chardonnay? Well, it's kind of like our Chardonnay here and you're able to really kind of place meet people where they are on their wine journey and be able to communicate with them in a non-threatening way. Expand it as far as they'd like, that's my take on it. I , I think

Steve:

Another Ang along that too, which everything you said is totally right, but also think about it. You know, whenever you start a business, you kind of have to make the decision. Am I going to find a guest, find out what that guest wants and try and create a product for that guest, or am I going to do what I want? And then find a guest who likes what I want and that's a very dividing line. And we knew right away that, you know, once you go down the dark side, once you start making the wine with only the guest in mind, it's really hard to come back for that people get used to that style. So we're like, we're , we're gonna do what we want to do as long as we can do it and hope and try to find other people that have similar palettes, similar ideas to what we're trying to do. And you know, all those years of tasting wine, we came in with very specific ideas about what it was we wanted to do. We weren't just, we were floundering around in a lot of ways, farming in those kinds of things were scary, but when it come to came to, you know , what sort of style of wine we wanted to make, we had knew very clear ideas, as far as that

Christi:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And did that have to do as much as , uh, the , the kind of grapes you can grow there or

Jayme:

Yes. Um , even looking at that property, it was planted with varieties that we love. Uh , we love high acid , aromatic expressions of wine, specifically white wine. So we are a white wine and Rose House planted in that vineyard. So our first vintage, we did five different grapes. Um , we did so Blanc , Pinot , GRE Chardonnay, and then Ling I missing one. This is just four. There we go. I want it to be five <laugh>.

Steve:

There was

Jayme:

A little Pinot noir. Yeah , there we go. So a Pinot noir. Um, and so what we did, we really, we worked with what the vineyard was already planted with and it , that vineyard was planted in our opinion, perfectly with grape suitable to that climate it's cold climate. So you really get that acid, you know, expression we'll , we'll crack a bottle of our estate Chardonnay in a minute and oh, darn. I know <laugh>, we've kept it nice and cold. Yeah. So it , it was great. That was one of the other moments where we're just like, okay, these are the grapes that we love. We wanna make wine out of. And it was just a telltale sign. That, that was just what we wanted to you out the vineyard we wanted to purchase. Do you think

Mattie:

That's the difference for you guys? One of the questions I have is why is your wine so good. <laugh> and is it, I mean, do you think it is because of your, just your background in the small gay versus other winemakers don't have that kind of, I mean, what do you think is the difference, at least that I

Steve:

We've certainly talked through that many times. Yeah.

Jayme:

Well, first of all, thank you. Um, that is like our goal is, is to make quality expressions of grapes. Um, we work with grapes , uh , this year from out of state we're , we've worked with grapes from parts of Colorado down in Cortez, a lot of grand valley grapes. So it's not just grapes from our vineyard site that we work with. Um, honestly that I , I don't know. I'll just say like our philosophy is to really just let the grapes shine. First of all, we , we , we love working with high quality grapes. I mean, that's our goal, you know, we even invested in, you know , uh , a grape press that gently presses the grapes so that you're not extracting bitterness, bitterness can happen at our high L of , because of sunburn, natural defense mechanism from grapes to kind of thicken the skin. And so we didn't also wanna have our wines, you know, hidden or, you know, or, or kind of clouded over by say a lot of heavy Oak influence. We really wanted to make great expressions of say, you know, Ling Chardonnay.

Steve:

Yeah. Last vintage, the 20, 20 vintage we made, I think like 1,350 cases. And across that entire production, there was not one touch of Oak on 1,350 cases.

Jayme:

Not that we don't like it. We've definitely used a touch of Oak, like with our Ruan little bit of Chardonnay, but , um, just really clean expressions. And we, we religiously TA think like button keeps anyway, that's side now I'm like , I'm gonna just hide it. Um, so we, where was I? Sorry, we religiously clean . Yes. Religiously. Thank you. Yeah . So, you know, as far as like wine making styles, we taste our wines all the time throughout the fermentation process. You know, it's not one of those things where you just like juice, the , you know, grapes, put it in the tank and for it to ferment, you know, where we do temperature controlled fermentations, we're tasting them daily to make sure that, you know , um , that the fermentations are healthy. Mm-hmm <affirmative> .

Steve:

And then there's the other little things that you don't think about, you know, a , a word on labeling, you know, to put the word, Cabernet, Chardonnay, whatever, on a ball of wine in the United States, it only has to be 75% of that grape. The other 25% is wineries choice. And you could be 1% of 25 different wines. And literally in the restaurants, people would come, come in all the time and they'd be like, I'm really into blends. I like blends. We're like, they're all blends. <laugh> <laugh> . So , you know, it's the one thing that people don't think people think if they see the word Cabernet son on the label, oh , it's a hundred percent Cabernet. Those days are rare when you get, I mean, there are the grapes, Pinot noir reasoning almost never blended. Certainly there's some California Pinot noirs that you feel confident there's some rah or something in there, Pinot noir . Doesn't doesn't do that. But I think that's a big part of what we do too . People, you know, when we first started, you feel some part of you thinks, oh, we should do a hundred percent of these grape varieties, purest kind of mentality. But then you look at some of the most famous wine growing regions in the world, the Bordeaux , the Roan valley, those regions are built on blends. Um, you know, Southern RO there's 13 different grapes that can be in a chat new to pop Bordeaux. The most famous wine growing region in the world allows multiple different grapes blended in whatever percentage you see fit and in a new wine growing region. Why should we not try that? You know, we've worked with grapes, like Viogner grapes, like gewurtztraminer, grapes, like roussanne and you grow those grapes here in a climate like Colorado with this much heat. By the time you get them as ripe as you want, by the time you get the phenolic flavors that you want, you've lost a lot of the natural acidity in those grapes. Well, we also grow a lot of reasoning . Well , reasoning has acidity for days. So you blend in 5% of reasoning and all of a sudden your wine has, is balanced, balanced. Again , those kinds of things. Um , we , we love our seasoning packet of a winery. You know, you look at the winery, what do we have and all these tanks, how is this gonna work? Oh, this wine's gonna be perfect as it is this wine need something. What do we have here in the winery? That, is that something that, that wine needs. So that's what our winter consists of.

Jayme:

Yes, it's blending season. I , I like to, both of us have, you know, cooking and cocktail making in our repertoire, as far as jobs go and building a cocktail is all about finding that balance. You've got texture, you've got acid. Um, even when it comes down to the color and the presentation. And so making a great quality wine, you know, if you get these rules and limits of like, it has to be a hundred percent of this, because it's this purest thing. I say , you have a vintage, you know, a year where it's really cold and the grapes don't get as ripe as we would like them, our area, you know, say we have something in grand valley that we're able to source that has a lot of ripeness. And it goes back to that blending. And you could be really intimidated when you see a big tank, you know, with 500 liters of this wine. And you're just like, oh my gosh, it's not tasting as perfect as perfectly as we'd like it to that's where the fun comes on. Um, that's what we do in January and December. We're already starting to do our blending trials. And for us back to what you were mentioning about, do we use what we, the skills that we developed, you know, working in the restaurant industry, tasting well-balanced wines over all of those years gives us a model as to what kind of wines that we'd like to make mm-hmm . And

Steve:

Our, our wine making style has, has sort of shifted our , our first year, we sat down and we're like, we're gonna focus on aromatics. It's gonna be our thing. We're gonna be focus on the aromatics. And we literally about lost, lost our minds that year. You know, the , the , the fermentation and aging pro it's not a straight line. It doesn't start here and end here. I mean, there's days you go into the winery and you're like, what's that smell what's going on in here? You know, it , it rides a wave. And , um, so the second year we decided right away, let's focus on texture. Let's focus on balance. If you do everything right, the aromatic are gonna work themselves out, but focus on a well-balanced wine. And that's what, you know, that's the same debate with the whole purest thing. Do we keep it, this is this pure unadulterated thing, or do we try and make the best wine that we can make? And every wine we debate that, and it's not a set formula. There's no rules . There are certainly wines you . I mean, we never adultery our estate reasoning. We won't touch that with anything. We are happy to be that purest , but then we work with other grapes and it's fun to experiment in the blends too. So yeah , you're tasting

Jayme:

And you're thinking, okay, that's way better than I thought it was gonna be. We gotta go with this.

Steve:

Yeah, yeah . I mean, it , it truly granted there's a great and well established wine culture here in Colorado. But when you look at it, opposed to someplace like California, it's the wild west here. You can get away with anything. Nobody's moving into Napa valley and planting an experimental acre of meter in the middle of Napa valley. Like those days are, are ancient history. You know, if you're buying property, Napa valley, you're planting Cabernet, and you're pouring all your money into, it's your only chance to make it work there. But once you get out of there and the land prices go down and there's a chance to try something new, it's , it's exciting. That experimentation is so exciting.

Mattie:

Mm-hmm so i t, i t seems l ike, y eah. So the bottom line is quality making wines t hat you guys wanna drink first and foremost, and I'm hoping others will follow, which obviously they have, u m, being s pent many years in the beer industry. And the brewery I worked at was founded in 86. So one of the older American craft breweries. And, u h, it was always, you know, that founder was very frustrated with how a lot of C RE breweries would go to market with stuff that wasn't high quality wasn't tested. They'd basically be testing on their customers. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And i t, I don't get the sense. That's how you guys do < laugh>.

Steve:

Yeah . All of those industries, how many, how many, whatever new spirits companies, the first thing they do is some crazy seltzer or some triple fermented nonsense package in a can you're like, hold on. Yeah. <laugh> just make something good first. Yeah .

Jayme:

Well, Carey, I was gonna say you, you know, we're in the craft brewing industry, that is one thing that you have to , uh , you know, I guess listeners people while it's good for of them to know, is that breweries have this unlimited supply of pro of, you know , uh , base product to make beers all throughout the season. They can just order this. Okay, let's get wheat with wine making . It's, it's a little more risky. You have one chance to pick those grapes. And if you don't pick them at the right time, and you're not one to like, you know, add sugar or acid or whatever, you haven't , you have to wait another year. Uh , so it's definitely a little bit more of a risky venture. Uh , you know, I'd say I might make some brewers mad, you know, but , um , they can kind of change it up and do small batches and such throughout the year and keep things coming.

Steve:

They can also refine their process a lot because they get fit 50 different batches over the course of the year, and we get one chance and then we spend the entire year talking about what we're gonna do the next year. And then you try and get all your ducks in a row and capitalize on your one chance and then talk about it all year. And so it's, it's stressful.

Jayme:

One of our neighbors is like, okay, like Midsummer, when are you gonna get some new wines? I'm like, this is it right now. This is , this is 20

Mattie:

Works . Yeah . We only have a limited supply. Yes . Yeah . And I know you guys talked when I was there this summer , um, you talked about doing some expansion, doing a new tasting room. Is that right on the other end of the property? So kind of talk about that, like where you are now and where you see things going in the next few years,

Steve:

Expansion on every level we , we uped production. We should also drink.

Mattie:

I mean, why are we just sitting here? Yeah . Let's

Jayme:

Uh , thanks for having us here. <laugh> yeah . This is the Chardonnay. This is Chardonnay. So this is all we'll get back to that question. This is all a state grown fruit , um, made initially style, like I mentioned earlier. So really we wanted to capture that true essence of Chardonnay grown at 6,000 feet. What , what , what does style mean initially style? So Chablis is a region in France that is characterized by not a heavy Oak influence , um, that particular, you know, region within France. So Chablis is a region. And unlike, you know, a and wine labeling Chablis is on the label and, you know, it's gonna be Chardonnay. So it's kind of like if we were to say like, you know , um , Palisade, if we knew Palisade was just say, it was just , uh , reasoning say, oh, I'm gonna have a Palisade tonight. You're having a Chablis and you know, it's going to be this, you know, typically really crisp, refreshing , uh , bright type of , uh , Chardonnay. And so for us, that's one of our favorite styles of Chardonnay. So we didn't do any Oak treatment on this. And, you know, for example, these are grapes grown at 6,000 feet above sea level. The vines are about 30 years old. Uh , they are well established and we really wanted to have those nuances of that bright apple, that pair , um , lemon zest , and, you know, they're food friendly wines. When you say food friendly, what is that? It's kind of like a , a wine that makes your mouth water encourages you to take a bite <laugh> and you kind of wanna, you know , maybe have a little cheese here , you know , um , some bread, it would just be great. This was amazing. Like we say , like, like a creamy lobster dish. Sounds really great right now. Did

Christi:

You bring any cream lobster , creamy lobster?

Jayme:

That's the second bag <laugh>

Christi:

Yeah , I should've thought of that. That's really delicious. I love it.

Steve:

Thank you . This just got a gold medal in San Francisco or this year , really? Mm that's fantastic. Which is great. When you hit with Chardonnay in California, cuz that's Chardonnay ground zero, basically. So it feels like a win when you come onto their turf and win with a Chardonnay.

Christi:

So what are the advantages, sorry, and the challenges that you face at the elevation and the region that you're growing in, as opposed to somebody that's in. Oh

Steve:

My so pluses and minuses. People think when you look at a place like this, they look at a fringe climate and all they , all they see is the negatives. They say, oh, it's frost. You know, that must be a terrible, scary place to grow grapes. Granted, the frost is our biggest adversary spring and fall frost are our biggest adversary, but we're in the high desert. We get inches of rain a year. If you look at a play , Napa valley is such an easy target. I always come back to Napa valley. People are like, oh, I had this organic wine from Napa valley. I'm like one moment here. Let , let me just tell you. I mean, because in Napa valley, it's not just grapes. It's want to grow there. Everything wants to live there. Every animal, every bug, every, every mildew , every pest can thrive in that environment. And so you are constantly battling all of those things. There are plenty of organic vineyards that are driving their tractor through every single week in a place like Napa valley, spraying, organic certified chemicals, all over their vineyard, all the time to manage those things. We , we have almost none of those biological threats. It's the desert and it's super windy. As soon as it rains, the wind rips through and dries everything out. We have almost no mold or bug or mildew issues, a tiny bit of bird pressure we're up on the Mesa. So we don't even really get animals cuz they're all down in the valley floor. So in a lot of ways, it is an growing in desert. People have found over many years that if you can get water to the desert, it's an amazing place to grow grapes, Spain, Eastern Washington, those kinds of places because the biological threats are minimal. It's the water, it's the issue.

Jayme:

But the threat of, you know, late spring or early fall, frosts is incredibly high and we've been affected by both of those. You know, we have measures that we can take, we have two wind machines on the property that can bring, you know, the temperature at the ground, right there at that tender, you know, graft line . If you have grafted vines, it can bring the temperature up by five degrees and save you from losing, you know, buds or you know, trunk loss .

Steve:

Yeah. When we had , um , PBS filming at our property a year ago , year and a half ago, and they were doing a special on how climate change is affecting grape growing regions. You know, a lot of even Bordeaux, like I was just talking about the most regulated wine region in the world is allowing new grapes into Bordeaux. It's unheard of. It's unheard of that . That is in response to climate change. Mm-hmm people are saying that by 2050, they won't be growing Cabernet in Napa valley. They won't be growing Cabernet i n Bordeaux. They'll be growing t emp n e or S angiovese grapes that can stand desert climate heat. M m-hmm so what does that mean? You either have to go up in latitude or you ha ve t o, to g o up in elevation mm -hmm , which is why a lot of people think the Rocky mountain region is a, a real potential up an d c oming region for the country, cu z i t doesn't matter how hot it hi ts. People think, oh, it's Colorado, it's a cold climate grape growing region. That's not true at all. We get plenty of 90 and a hundred degree days, but at 6,000 feet, even if it gets to a hundred degrees a day, it's 60 degrees at night, that that shift is called the diurnal swing. The , the difference between the hottest point of the day and the coldest point of the night. And that's how you get Finesse in a wine. I mean you grow a wine in a place like Lodi , California, and it's 90 degrees in the day and it's 88 degrees at night and your grape is just a leading sugar. That's all this did in skiing , riper and riper and riper. But it has no Finesse it never has a chance to breathe. So that's when you get gram wines that are jammy or baked or whatever kind of word you want to use to describe.

Jayme:

Cause that goes back to balance. You really wanna have that acidity to make sure that the wine is just in check and that it's, you know, drinkable and it's not just this flat Flay expression of , of basically jammy wine.

Steve:

Yeah. People think Colorado's a cool grape growing region. We were shocked this year. So since we can't get all of our wine from Colorado this year , um , we're working with vineyards in California and Washington state in New York state. We're making a Chardonnay from one of the most single famous Chardonnay vineyards in the world. The Bien Nacido vineyard, top 10 Chardonnay vineyards in the world. We were reading a post where like three years ago over the course of the entire grape growing season, it never got above 80 degrees in that vineyard all summer long . That's cool climate grape growing. That is not what we're doing here in Colorado. We have a hyper concentrated, but hyper intense grape growing season here. So it's unique. Fascinating. Yeah .

Mattie:

Fascinating. Matt , you had a favorite wine didn't you? Well, my new favorite is the dry gewurtztraminer. Cause thank you . Yeah . I bought like six bottles this summer in an addition to my wine club thing. Um , well, and I think that's such an example of , um, when you talk about sort of like the diversity of the drink, you know, that there's all these different things to discover and as it warms up and you know, that's the thing with white wines and rose is people drink it's so cold. Yeah . But like when you go to a tasting room, that's where you really kind of sit around and you get to, it opens up and you , you see all the different, different notes and the different subtles subtleties . Yeah. And it's, it's fascinating. And so like I used to reject white wines and roses. I was like only red and now I'm like, oh my God, there's such interesting things going on. Yeah . There's

Jayme:

Power in that subtlety conversion , conversion, conversion success <laugh> but yeah, it's fun in the tasting room. We like to pour heavier pores for our tastings because of that evolution. We pour it cold and you know, we do have an outdoor tasting room and so the , the wine comes to temperature and it's just incredible how the wine evolves just with a little bit of air and a little bit of tempera your change. Yeah.

Steve:

It's so good. We'd been wanting to do averts. So , um, when we first visited the north fork valley , uh, the winery that kind of drew us, there was one of our neighbors, stone cottage cellers. Jamie spent some time did some harvest with them and uh , their flagship wine is their dry , diverse , demeanor. It it's, without a doubt, the single wine that drew us to the north fork valley , um , we had it on the list at Shas. It was a pretty clear model of what it was. We thought we kind of wanted to do an all sauce style model. Uh , and we wanted to do a take on converts demeanor ever since. And we knew we wanted to do it dry for sure. So this was our first take , um, was the 20, 20 dry converts and we thought it was delicious.

Mattie:

So good. And I , I have a star that we don't forget by the end cuz we're getting closer to talk about holiday pairing since this is December. And that of course

Jayme:

Is an your question about expansion to yes, I remembered. I like <crosstalk> catalog .

Mattie:

Good . Let's talk about expansion. Well wait . Yes, we don't forget.

Jayme:

Yeah. Well, in, in 2020 that was the year for us to, we were ready. We are beyond at, you know , over capacity right now in our , in our small winery and 2020, we were going to build on the Southwest corner of the property, a new , um , actual winery. So right now we are in a retrofitted machine shop. It's not insulated. We have to do a lot of song and dances, meaning a lot of like energy input , um , to make sure it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter, we have the space heater. We're constantly looking at temperatures. We have a glycol chiller slash heater that keeps our wines at temperature that is , um , you know , conducive to proper aging, proper fermenting. And we have in that same small sickly garage, all of our inventory and all of our tanks right now, we have 13 tanks in there. We're expecting eight more totes this week of finished wine. And so we are, you know, it's kind of been fun bursting at the scenes . It's been fun because we both love games. We both love touches , but it's , it's a it's time for a new place. And so in 2020 we were gonna do that. And of course everyone was halted. Uh , we had , uh , you know , um, a loan ready for, you know, to sign, to have a construction site built or to have our winery site built. And that just fell through the cracks because of COVID. And so we adapted, we did a , an outdoor tasting room in 20 20, 20, 21. We're doing it 2022 knocking on the wood here. We'll be the last year that we're doing that. It's been great. We have the room. Um, and it's a beautiful spot. It's a beautiful spot overlooking the west elk wilderness and Mount land borne and lands ends, but it's tight. And we wanna do sparkling project, which requires. And so to answer your question about expansion, we are, you know , tentatively breaking ground in 2022 to have a tasting room and a winery for 2023 season. We're thrilled. It's definitely gonna be focused , uh , around a culinary connection with a commercial kitchen. Uh , because that is something that we are just tied to both wanna be in the kitchen. And we both wanna make the wine both wanna talk about it. And that's a point where we'll probably have to bring someone in or bring some guest chefs in cuz can't do everything

Mattie:

When you guys end those wine dinners outside a lot . Right. Which I have not , we've

Jayme:

Been doing 'em outside, which is hard because of the , the elements, you know, we've been at rain delayed, you have to move venues, but to have a venue there ourselves on site is just a dream <affirmative> mm-hmm,

Mattie:

<affirmative>, that's really awesome. Dream for us

Jayme:

Too. Yeah. Yes. <laugh> channel that excitement. We'll do it. <laugh>

Mattie:

Take a field trip. Um, going back to the point about California and the world and all that stuff, I'm interested to see what you guys think about ratings and competitions in terms, I , I know that coming from the beer industry, it's sort of that, well it gets your name out there. It gets, it gets, makes it more accessible to people, but there's also the piece of like, Ugh , someone's, you know , this person is ,

Steve:

There's a piece of you gotta , you gotta fight that battle. Yeah.

Jayme:

I mean, E even right now, starting out, having a new winery, getting a good rating is important. Having those medals is important. It establishes credibility , um , that you are a quality wine maker . It's it goes farther than the impact of say, you know , having great tasting room guests that leave good reviews. That's important. Crowdsourcing is important, but having say the San Francisco international wine competition saying that you're rose of St . Vincent is one of the top three roses in the world, put that grape for us on, on our map, we made it, we've made , this is third year making it. And that that's powerful credibility in an emerging wine region. Uh , you know, even back in our days when we were at Shanahan's curating a list, I , I don't know. I I'd kind of scoff at , you know, and you get to know, say a per you know, a certain wine critics palate. And you're just like, oh , of course, you know, so, and so makes this wine, put it on the map . And , and then you're just like, well, I don't like his or her palate and it's kind of a , it's kind of a litmus test. It can be a great thing. But , um, yeah, we kinda ebb and flow. We , we still are pro putting our wines in competitions right now.

Steve:

Partly cuz do we just want to know? Yeah , too , you , you just wanna put your wines against the wines of the world and mm-hmm , <affirmative> see what shines, but you know, when you look at yourself as a business, do we, do we spend $500 to enter four wines into a major competition or do we spend $500 to put an ad in the local newspaper? You know what it's knowing your audience, what is the marketing that's gonna work for us? How do we make that work? It's still a work in progress is to figuring out yep . What works what's , what's the right angle, but we've been we've entered competitions, pretty religiously, every single , every single wine that we've ever made, been entered into a major competition. Mm-hmm <affirmative> every single one.

Jayme:

It's great feedback regardless of how you use that press. Right. And

Mattie:

It shows your pride in what you're doing. You believe in your product. Yes . As you should. <laugh> thank you. Yeah . Um , that's a good segue. Not really, but into , um,

Jayme:

I'm lying <laugh> I

Mattie:

It's completely not at all. Um , but the holiday pairings about, you know , talking about the wines that you guys offer and, and some , some of the classic holiday meals that people are gonna be making and your suggestions for our lovely audience.

Jayme:

Yeah. I think white wine and roses. Steve and I talk about how our wines are just made for holiday cooking. You know, you've got that classic roasted Turkey ham. What did you say while

Mattie:

You're cooking and while

Jayme:

You're cooking. Exactly , exactly. Um, pairing wines, it's , it's so much fun. You have all these richer cuisines and a lot of people think, oh, big bold reds . Yes. Really that higher acid profile. And that finesse is just so complimentary with richer dishes. And, you know, for example, your , you know, the go that you love that is like a classic Turkey pairing , um, rose is often overlooked. Uh, and the , the rose spectrum is, you know, to just say, I love rose . Great. What kind of rose do you like? It's a big spectrum. Just like red wine, just like white wine, like orange wine. And so rose is definitely a versatile option. You've got the , the notes of a red wine made in a white wine style , tillable refreshing. You've got that good acid too. That a lot of people think of rose as a summer wine. Right. But it doesn't have to be no, <laugh> no, probably crack once a night. <laugh> I'll

Mattie:

Drink it all day. Yeah .

Steve:

And I mean, for us, it's it's about what do you like to drink while you're eating and what do you like to just drink? And those are not the same thing. People are like, I hate big buttery oaky Chardonnay. I'm like, I love it. <laugh> yeah . It's great to sit on , but I love to just sit around and sit on it. It's rich, it's cozy. I love big, bold reds, but we almost never, I mean , unless you like having a steak or a pot roast or something, we tend to sip on those wines after dinner. If I'm, if I'm having wine with dinner, I tend to have something lighter in body, sharper and acid. Mm-hmm , <affirmative> less Oak, less body, less extraction, all those things. Overwhelm dinner to

Jayme:

Me. Yeah. To borrow a word that's used in beer world . It's sessionable, sessionable, you know, it's something that you can have another sip of , have another glass off and it, it backends you to enjoy another. It doesn't just stop you in your tracks. And you're just kind of overwhelmed with this heavy

Mattie:

Red. Yeah. And I love that you said about the Chardonnay because it's like, I mean, in any, anything, whether it's food, beer, wine, the arts it's like people have these popular opinions, like Okie Chardonnays are the worst, you know, or whatever, <laugh> you not drink Merlot, whatever the line is for never say, but it's like, no, like just if you get a good one, like yeah . I mean , every there's bad versions and there's good versions and ,

Steve:

And there's a time for all of them , you know, do you want, do you want oyster and Cabernet together? You know, people think, oh, I love oysters. Oh, I love Cabernet. Both of those things are delicious. Right? Like ,

Jayme:

And , and that was actually like a classic pairing that we'd see at a steakhouse. And you don't wanna judge someone. They're just, if that's what they're , it's depends upon what you're going into a dinner, you know what your vision is. I wanna have the fanciest wine available. I wanna have the fanciest food available. And so you get this really fancy cab, really fancy oysters. And you have to think like, okay, how can I show this person that there's this magic sip and bite pairing? Um, in a nice way, just like try this. So you'd bring out a taste and it's so much fun, but you're right. It's just like, you don't wanna judge someone because they like this big, bold red there's a time and a place for it. Yeah. Yeah.

Steve:

People say, what do you like to drink? Or what should I drink? And I'm like, well , whatever , whatever you like , whatever the cheapest wine is, it tastes delicious to you go for that for sure. Pack yourself that

Jayme:

And then get , get the specials. Yeah . So nice to go to a , to tasting and a wine pairing. I mean, it's really a huge education. Absolutely. There are those magical pairings.

Steve:

It's weird in United States that, you know, we , we talk in the world of wine. We , we talk old world in new world, you know, whereas old world being Europe and new world being everything else. And it's such a weird new world mentality that wine is supposed to take the place of a cocktail. And you're just supposed to open this bottle and it's just supposed to be delicious right out of the gate . Just drink it and go. But mm-hmm , <affirmative> , that's never the way it's made to Europe. It's like, what food is this going to go with? How is this going to compliment my meal different?

Mattie:

Right . Well, and where your , my biggest pet peeve is like where your pallet is coming into the drinking experience. Like people so often are like, I just , you know , had gum and now I'm drinking this Chardonnay and it taste like crap. It's like, well, yeah,

Jayme:

It did. And I'll tell you, I had some spare before we got here. And , uh , not the best flavor combination with the Chardonnay. So yeah, you're right. Or wearing perfume in a tasting room. It's I mean the whole pairing experience and tasting experience can be so dramatically different depending upon what you bring to it. Attitudes should have an outdoor shower, like, oh my gosh. For people to, of just rinse off

Steve:

Before like a clean, a clean room, right? Yes .

Jayme:

Decontamination room. That's really brilliant. <laugh> for real,

Steve:

We actually, Jamie posed did a post this last week where she was talking about , um , what if we , um , do our tastings where we don't tell the guests what it is, and we do it all in black glasses this next year. Like what if we offer our normal tastings, but what if we offer a true, an option option for a sensory experience where you can't see it and you don't know what's in the glass and you really put to the test of trying to figure out, yeah , what's here. Do I actually like it as opposed to, oh, this riesling is too sweet. I ain't , that's our dry reasoning. You know, I don't like Chardonnay. There's no Oak on this Chardonnay or they say this Ling's too sweet. I it's crazy. The preconceptions that people bring to a tasting run with

Christi:

Them. I think it's a great idea. It's great. Yeah . Yeah . I'll be

Jayme:

There. Of course. Awesome. We'll get those black glasses lined up then.

Christi:

<laugh> well, as we wrap up, can you tell our listeners and our viewers about schedule for 2022? Um, when can they come visit you? When do you hope to open and when will you have wines and tastings and what's, what's going on in 2022? Well,

Jayme:

We'll, we'll start with what's available right now. You know, tasting rooms in our area , uh , you know, are a little bit different hours than those in Palisade grand junction. So we're technically closed for the season, but we do keep our wines , um , preserved in an argon system. So we put this in gas on it that we allow, you know, if we , we see one guest, you know, and we see a guest maybe like in a week, the wines are like preserved and fresh to go. So anyone who'd like to make an appointment can definitely stop by anytime , you know, between now and the end of may for the 2022 season, we are tentatively scheduled to be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 7:00 PM. And we're definitely excited to do some more, you know, culinary wine pairings , um , at our tasting room offering some more food options for our guests.

Christi:

Fantastic.

Steve:

But certainly have , um , amazing website wines available right now. We just today released our , uh , Christmas holiday, Colorado culinary pack. That's got some of our wines, some favorite , um , culinary treats from some local Colorado purveyors that just went live on our website today. And we'll be promoting it on social for the next week. Uh, we'll be selling those for the next week and getting 'em off in time for Christmas,

Christi:

For sure. And your website is

Jayme:

Storm cell wine.com . Okay . And storm cell wine is our handle on all of our social media accounts too. Make it easy. Great.

Christi:

Do you do most of the photography?

Jayme:

We do. Yes. Yeah. It's really good. Thank you so much. Yeah.

Christi:

Thank you. I love your, I love your label too. I mean, that's, it's wonderful. Thank you . Yeah, it kind

Jayme:

Of thank you . It , it , it is intentionally meant to like mimic our style of wine as just crisp and clean. Um, so yeah. Thank you.

Christi:

Mission Accomplished. Well, thank you so much for joining us. This it's been a real pleasure and I know Matt agrees. Um , we're just thrilled to have you on the Western slope of Colorado and we can't wait to come visit you. I gonna have to take a team trip. Don't you think so much team

Jayme:

Trip? Mm-hmm let us know. We'll be ready for y ou. Oh, you d on't. I

Christi:

Don't know if they <laugh> . I don't know if you are truly ready for us. Please block off the whole place for us. You don't want any other guests there at

Jayme:

Outdoor shower needed <laugh>

Christi:

Before and after. Okay. Jayme and Steve from storm cellar winery in hotchkiss Colorado. Thank you so much for joining us and , uh , we'll see you next time on the full circle podcast. Thanks Christi.

Steve:

Thank you. Mm-hmm <affirmative> . Bye .

Christi:

Thanks for listening. This is Christi Reece signing out from the full circle p odcast.