Having first met in Crested Butte, fallen in love in Colorado, and cultivated our passion for making really good wine here in Colorado, there’s no place we’d rather be. There’s something about this land, the people, and the way time passes here. You can see it in the vibrant sunsets, draping the sandstone cliffs that tower over the Western Slope’s orchards and vineyards, feel it while shaking hands and exchanging laughs with a farmer as you load up the season’s harvest, and taste it while taking that first sip of a new vintage, as fall’s cooler air funnels into the valley and golden aspens glow in the low-angled afternoon sun.
Colorado is truly a special place, and we aim to share as much of it with you as possible. From the terroir, to the history, and the adventures that await, come back here often for our family’s favorites of Colorado and Crested Butte.
To celebrate the Summer Solstice this year, I attended a backyard wine tasting. I am so grateful for the generosity and creativity of my friends who hosted the occasion - what a fun evening! Buckle Family Wine brought their entire catalog of Colorado wines, ranging from a refreshing and flavorful rose to a deep, bold cabernet blend. At the request of the host, each guest brought a dish to pair with one of the seven varieties. Joe Buckel and his wife Shamai guided us through our tasting, describing the varietals and the creation of each wine, and each guest then presented their paired dish. Over the course of about three hours, we ate and drank, chatted and learned about the incredible variety of wine that is possible with 100% Colorado-grown fruit.
I was impressed by the affordable price point of Buckel Family Wines, which seems to average about $20 per bottle. In the past I have been disappointed to purchase a bottle at other tasting events, only to bring it home and realize that the ambiance and company of the event had added flavor to an otherwise flat-tasting glass of wine. This is not the case here! Last night, paired with slow roasted pork spare ribs from Calder Farm and a crisp salad from our backyard garden, we opened a bottle of the Cabernet Franc that I purchased at the Solstice tasting. The bright cherry color was equally as vibrant in my glass at home, and the bold yet mellow flavor profile was just as delicious in my kitchen on our mix-matched dinner plates as it was outdoors, surrounded by good friends, on the longest night of the year.
Consider having Buckel Family Wine at your next event... virtually or in your backyard!
The 2020 Colorado wine conference featured speakers who offered information on a variety of winemaking and grape growing topics and techniques. From how yeast exactly works to wine flaws and faults, to how to make sparkling wine via the Charmat method, there was plenty of knowledge to absorb. The wonderful thing about winemaking is that there are so many variations in the process that affect your end product and display your style. Here at Buckel Family Wine, we believe in making old-world style wines that are able to show the true character of the grape and of the terroir. We achieve this by using minimal intervention in the winemaking process, meaning less additives and no filtering for our red wines.
One process that most people are familiar with however is barrel aging. Tim Donahue, Executive Director of the Institute for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College in Washington State presented on the the influence of oak in winemaking. He explained the barrel making process from oak seedling to finished product (which takes a long time as you could imagine), and how barrels can be used to benefit your wine.
Specific species of oak trees are grown in different geographic areas, resulting in varying characteristics that they impart on the wine.The biggest difference is between French (or European) oak and American oak. These types of oak can influence wines quite differently, usually the French being more subtle and spicy and the American being more bold with notes of coconut. Once the oak is harvested, it is cut into staves and left outside to cure for up to two years. Once cured, the staves are assembled into the beginnings of a barrel and are then toasted. The toasting process is another key component of how the barrel influences the wine. The heavier the toast, the more intense the barrel imparts flavors on the wine. In their early years, barrels impart a stronger influence in the wine’s flavor profile. After a few years, the intensity of the oak dissipates. For bolder wines, one might choose a newer barrel. For more delicate, subtle wines, one might opt for an older barrel.
For our wines, we choose French oak barrels that have already seen a few years of use. This allows us to age our wines for up to 18 months without overpowering the wine’s inherent flavor profile, and allows the oak to gently smooth out the tannins over time. We end up with a wine that has balanced characteristics and is ready to drink or age gracefully in bottle. Upon receiving barrels new to us, we make sure to take good care of them so that we can use them well. This means cleaning, rehydrating, tightening up the leakers. Once the barrels are full of wine, we check on them and top them up regularly to prevent space for oxidation or for unwanted yeast/bacteria to take over.
As the cold temps carry on, we have exciting events happening in February that’ll make you want to head back outside again!
We are pleased to announce that our Wine Bar in Gunnison will be officially open February 20, 2020! After the busy months of harvest came to an end, we took some time to revisit our 2018 Reds and get them into bottle. Now, we have been able to focus on creating a space where you can taste our wines, enjoy a glass, and purchase those bottles to take home! Our wine bar features a large communal table, comfy benches, and smaller tables as well. So, whether you are looking to connect and share experiences with new friends or have a cozy intimate evening, this is the perfect spot. In addition to our wines, we will be offering small bites of delicious food. Contact us about booking your next party or event at the wine bar.
Visit us Wedesday-Saturday 2pm-7pm. We are located at 1018 Highway 135, Unit B, Gunnison, Colorado 81230.
Feb 1st, Colorado Crafted. Join us at the Colorado Crafted event from 2-6pm at The Elevation Hotel & Spa in Mt. Crested Butte. This event is a great way to cap off your day whether you’ve been skiing around town in the Alley Loop or downhill at the resort. We will be there pouring our wines alongside other wineries, breweries, cideries, and distillers all from Colorado. In addition to the craft beverages, there will be small plates of food and live music by Coal Creek Connection. Purchase VIP tickets if you would like to participate in specialty tastings at 1pm with the chance to chat one-on-one with the vendors, and enter the Romp Skis giveaway!
Read more about this event and find tickets: Colorado Crafted
Winemaker Joe Buckel in conjuction with the Center for the Arts Crested Butte will be hosting a two-part series on the ART + SCIENCE of Winemaking on February 8th and March 14.
Learn more about this exciting series: Center for the Arts Crested Butte
Feb 28th Winemaker Dinner. Meet us in Grand Junction on Friday, February 28th at DinnerParty for our one of a kind Winemaker Dinner. Our winemaker, Joe Buckel, will be joining Chef Josh Niernberg of Bin707 to serve thoughtful pairings of expressive wines and spectacular food. The evening will include seven of our wines to accompany a passed appetizer followed by a six-course menu. Throughout the event, Joe and Josh will be talking about the wine and food, creating a fun and interactive experience. There is a limit of 30 seats, so be sure to reserve ASAP!
Info and tickets: Winemaker Dinner
Info and tickets:
Finally, we will be pouring wines to sip and sample at the following places:
Redlands Liquor Store @ 3-6pm Friday, Feb 7th
2518 Broadway B7, Grand Junction, CO 81507
Fisher Liquor Barn @ 4-6pm Saturday, Feb 29th
2438 Patterson Rd, Grand Junction, CO 81505
Gunnison Valley, CO
Colorado grapes are getting better…
Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition 2019 awards Buckel Family Wine’s 2016 Chardonnay with gold.
With a growing Colorado presence in the wine industry, it’s great to see Colorado Wineries as well as Colorado grapes receiving national recognition. Buckel Family Wine was awarded a gold medal for their 2016 Chardonnay in the 2019 Sunset Magazine International Wine Competition. The wine was made from Chardonnay grapes grown in Palisade, CO by grower Black Bear Orchards. The competition also awarded other Colorado wineries with medals, although the grapes were sourced from outside of the state.
The November/December issue of Sunset Magazine recognizes the best wines of the west on page 67.
About Buckel Family Wine: Buckel Family Wine was founded in 2017 by winemaker Joe Buckel and his wife Shamai. They have been getting their wines into the hands of restaurants and liquor stores throughout Colorado, with rave reviews. The winery uses 100% Colorado sourced grapes from Palisade, Hotchkiss, and Cortez vineyards. They produce the wines in Gunnison, CO, with a tasting room slated to open in February.
Buckel Family Wine believes the nuanced grape flavors should be expressed on the nose and palette profile of each wine. Buckel wines are handmade in an old world natural style, with the red wine being unfined and unfiltered. Classical winemaking techniques are used, with minimal intervention, and no sugars or additives. Other wines being produced by Buckel Family wine include, a red blend, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Cinsualt, Rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc.
“Our 2016 Chardonnay is created in a Burgundian style with grapes sourced from vines planted in the 1970’s in Palisade, CO. It is an expressive Chardonnay with a richness on the palate finishing with focused acidity,” Joe Bucke
The warmer temperatures are here, and spring is inevitably on it’s way. On the western slope of Colorado the cherries and apricots are starting to bud out, with a litany of fruiting trees and vines to follow. The grape vines have been pruned and are ready for bud break, which typically occurs around April 20th.
Last year at this time our landscape looked very different, the land was parched and dry, very dry. The snowpack was at record lows throughout Colorado and the entire west, naturally leading to dusty lands, fewer wildflowers, stressed trees and vines, smaller amounts of water in our rivers, and reservoirs that look empty.
In fact, Colorado Reservoirs are going to be starting this spring at their lowest levels since being originally filled, even with the above average snowfall this winter. It was exciting times for the ski towns of Colorado, as we saw historic avalanches running all around us. The above average snowfall will begin to fill the reservoirs, which in turn can be used for farming and growing produce on the Western Slope of Colorado.
These two regions supply much of Colorado with fruit, such as peaches, apples, plums, and of course grapes for making into wine. This is great news for Colorado and meeting our water needs within the state. Although most water managers believe we will not fill our reservoirs this summer due to the parched earth from previous years, increased water usage, and down stream shortages.
How might all this impact grapes within our state? Well thats hard to say. We do know that water is vital for shoot growth, vine health, and optimal leaf conditions. All of these factors ultimately impact the quality of the fruit, which directly relates to the quality of the wine.
In the wine world folks often refer to the ‘Goldilocks Condition,’ where the earth is the perfect distance from the sun, allowing for the right water balance on earth to sustain all life… plant and animal.
Two of our favorite growers in the Grand Valley AVA are Black Bear Orchards and Colorado Vineyard Specialists. Joe has had the pleasure of working with these guys for a decade.
Black Bear Orchards is run by Brain and Rebecca Cox. They have over 150 acres of fruit orchard, including Cherries, Peaches, Plums, and Wine Grapes. In our opinion he produces some of the best Colorado Fruit, often organic and now found in Krogers/City Markets across the state. You can also purchase from them directly. Brain is a 2nd generation farmer in the Palisade region.
Kaibab Sauvage owns and operates Colorado Vineyard Specialists. He has been in the vineyard most of his life and farms over 50 acres of wine grapes in the Grand Valley.
When in Palisade be sure to check out the Palisade Café, and our favorite spots in Grand Junction, Bin 707 Food Bar, and Taco Party with Josh Neimenberg.