Dr. Kent Hutchison and Dr. Angela Bryan produce the Colorado wines with consultation from leading winemakers on the Western Slope (see Jay Christianson at www.tinsheets.com). Kent and Angela are scientists with successful careers in research and teaching. They have studied wines and wine making practices in their spare time over the last two decades and bring their passion for cutting edge, innovative science to their winemaking. Their wines are truly hand-crafted, produced in small lots and with enormous attention to detail. Customers will not find any high volume, industrial wine making practices at Continental Divide.
The mission of the Colorado division of Continental Divide Winery is to make a truly handcrafted premium wine that is a distinct representation of Colorado terroir – wines that stand up to the best wines in the world. Colorado wines are not supposed to be California wines, just like California wines are not supposed to be French wines. Rather, the wine should uniquely reflect the region. Each of the Colorado wines is a unique reflection of the interaction of vine genetics (i.e., varietal and clone) and the Western Colorado environment. When describing their wines, they try not to tell customers that their wines are “like” the wines of another region. Rather, the goal is to educate consumers about how Colorado wines are DIFFERENT than wines from other regions and unique to the region.
The Colorado wines are produced from fruit grown in the Grand Valley AVA near Palisade, home to the majority of Colorado’s premiere vineyards. The unique microclimate of this high desert environment benefits from searing daytime temperatures moderated by cool Rocky Mountain evenings. Ample water from the adjacent Colorado River nourishes the vineyards here. In the winery, the goal is to hand craft wines that are accurate expressions of the unique Colorado terroir and invoke fond memories of Colorado. A customer once said that she loved Colorado wine because the taste and smell reminded her of the smell of the Colorado forests, the taste of water straight of a mountain stream, and more broadly, of the Colorado culture. The ability of the local wine to evoke fond memories of the wine region is true for many places in the world, and Kent and Angela want their wines to prime memories of Colorado. Of course, as anyone who has made wine in Colorado will tell you, there are years in which making wine here can be quite a challenge. For Kent and Angela, the challenge of making premium hand crafted wine in Colorado (especially at an altitude of 10,381 feet!) is part of the fun, and they take great pride in the finished product. For more information on Colorado wines in general, see this recent write-up in Forbes.
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