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Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 
August 1, 2016 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Until We Meet Again.....

It's hard to believe that in just two weeks, there will be no more Canyon Wind Cellars and Anemoi Wines. From a sketch on a napkin to our nearly 10,000 case winery, we have had a whirlwind 20 years. As we near the end, we admit that we are a bit nostalgic about the wines we've produced, friends we've made, and incredible opportunities that have allowed us to build a business that we are proud of and provided us with the knowledge to follow our dreams going forward.

We've mentioned it before, but want to pass along again how grateful we are for your support and enthusiasm for our wines over the years. We wish each and every one of you the very best and hope that we meet again in the future. We've been asked if we'll make wine again and our response is simply, "never say never". 

Our next chapter will begin in just a few weeks, as we will be hitting the open road and traveling around the country in our Airstream trailer. During our travels, we will be visiting wineries in other lesser known wine regions and detailing our tastings and travel adventures on our blog- Tin Sheets to the Wind. And of course, we can't imagine a life without wine work, so we are simultaneously launching our new mobile wine consulting company, Tin Sheets Consulting.

If you have any questions, comments, or tips for full-time life on the road, please feel free to contact us via one of our new websites or email us at info@canyonwindcellars.com.


All the best,
Jay & Jennifer Christianson, Owners/Winemakers and
Finley, The Fine Wine Canine

Time Posted: Aug 1, 2016 at 1:05 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 

Final Wine Club Shipment

Until We Meet Again

It's hard to believe that in just over six weeks, there will be no more Canyon Wind Cellars and Anemoi Wines. From a sketch on a napkin to our nearly 10,000 case winery, we have had a whirlwind 20 years. As we near the end, we admit that we are a bit nostalgic about the wines we've produced, friends we've made, and incredible opportunities that have allowed us to build a business that we are proud of and provided us with the knowledge to follow our dreams going forward.

We've mentioned it before, but want to pass along again how grateful we are for your support over the years and enthusiasm for our wines. We wish each and every one of you the very best and hope that we meet again in the future. We've been asked if we'll make wine again and our response is simply, "never say never". In the meantime, if you happen to be near us during our travels (you can always see where we are on our Tin Sheets to the Wind website), please send us an email or message, we'd love to meet up for a glass of wine!

In this final shipment, you will be receiving some or all of the following: perhaps our favorite special project that we've produced over the last few years, the barrel-fermented Syrah Rosé, 2015 Eos; the final vintage of the wine that started it all, our flagship, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon; and the 2015 Apeliotes, a blend of our three favorite grapes- Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot, and Syrah.

As always, please feel free to email us at wineclub@canyonwindcellars.com with any questions, concerns, or ideas. If you want to keep up with our new adventures and still get your Finley fix, you can follow Tin Sheets to the Wind on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

All the best,
Jay & Jennifer Christianson, Owners / Winemakers
and Finley, The Fine Wine Canine

Time Posted: Jun 28, 2016 at 2:19 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 
April 22, 2016 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Summer 2016 Wine Club Shipment

Life is a Highway

By now you've received the news that we are closing Canyon Wind Cellars at the end of this year. While we are very sad that we will no longer be a part of your lives and a part of the Colorado Wine Industry, we'd be lying if we didn't admit that we are excited for the road ahead. 

Many of you have asked about our future plans, so we wanted to share with you the details currently in place. Once all of our wine inventory is sold, all three of us (Jay, Jennifer, & Finley) will be hitting the open road and traveling around the country with our Airstream trailer. During our travels, we will be visiting wineries in other lesser known wine regions and detailing our tastings and adventures on our blog- Tin Sheets to the Wind. And of course, we still have to make a living, so we are simultaneously launching our new company, Tin Sheets Consulting, a mobile wine consultation service.

In this shipment, wine club members will be receiving some or all of the following: our perennial summer favorite, the 2015 Chardonnay; the final vintage of the wine that led to the creation of Anemoi, the 2014 Boreas; and the 2014 Notus, our first 90-point Anemoi wine (and one near and dear to Jennifer's heart). 

As always, please feel free to email us at wineclub@canyonwindcellars.com with any questions, concerns, or ideas. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for sales, updates, and Finley pictures!

Cheers!
Jay & Jennifer Christianson, Owners / Winemakers
and Finley, The Fine Wine Canine

Time Posted: Apr 22, 2016 at 1:03 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 
April 18, 2016 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Raid the Library Event Available Wines

Whether you're a participant in the Raid the LIbrary event or are just curious about what wines are in the library for sale, we have posted a full inventory here. 

Library Wines

APELIOTES                                                                                    
2012            
2013                        

BOREAS                                                              
2009            
2012                                                          

IAPYX                                                           
2011

LIPS                                                             
2012            
2013                                                                                    

NOTUS                                                                     
2011                                                

ZEPHYRUS                                                             
2010            
2013                                                                                    

 

CABERNET FRANC                                                                    
2007             
2010            
2013             
2014                                                                        

CABERNET SAUVIGNON      
1996
2000
2001
2002
2003
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2011
2012
2012- Clone 4
2013                                                                

CHARDONNAY    
2009
2012
2013
2014                                                            

IV                                                                   
2007                                                

MERLOT    
1996
2000
2001
2002
2003
2005
2007
2009
2014                                                  
  

PETIT VERDOT           
2006
2007
2008
2010
2012
2013                                           

PROPRIETOR’S RESERVE PORT                                                        
2003 (750 ML)     
2004 (750 ML, 375ML)
   
2006 (750 ML)                 

SYRAH                                             
2006            
2008            

2009                                                                                                

47-TEN RED                                               
2005                                    

 

Time Posted: Apr 18, 2016 at 12:43 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 
April 13, 2016 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Canyon Wind Permanently Closing on December 31, 2016

As of December 31, 2016, we will be permanently closing Canyon Wind Cellars. After much contemplation, we came to this decision based on a number of reasons; but ultimately, it was the desire to pursue exciting new endeavors and follow our dreams.

Over the past two decades, we have made many friends in the Grand Valley, throughout Colorado, and around the world and it has been an honor and a pleasure to share our wines with those near and far. We thank you all for being our biggest fans and supporters and we hope that you will continue to enjoy and support Colorado’s wine industry. Over the next few months, we will be offering deals and discounts on our wines, so be sure to keep an eye out for more details.

If you have the opportunity to stop by and visit us at the tasting room in Palisade or just want to pop in to pet Finley before the end of the year, we would love to see you! Thank you again for your support and dedication and we hope you'll continue to enjoy our wines and think fondly of Canyon Wind and Anemoi. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us by phone at (970) 464-0888 or via email at info@canyonwindcellars.com.

Respectfully,
Jay & Jennifer Christianson
Owners/Winemakers 

Time Posted: Apr 13, 2016 at 9:29 AM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 
February 29, 2016 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Spring 2016 Wine Club Shipment

Getting Back to our Roots

We can hardly believe it, but we are turning 20 this year. And even crazier that that? Our first vineyard, the Riverside Vineyard, was planted 25 years ago. Looking back on our first quarter century, we have made some wines that we would humbly proclaim as great (ask us about our favorites!). A mild winter, warm summer, and perfect weather in 2015 worked together to help us produce some even more great wines to add to that list. Our biggest production year ever at just over 9,000 cases, we are excited to share some of the best of the 2015 vintage with you starting with this shipment. All three of the wines in this shipment were produced from grapes planted in the Riverside Vineyard- Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Now 20 to 25 years old, these vines have weathered the snowiest year since their planting (2015), near hurricane force wind gusts (every Spring/Fall), and bears (2002, 2014), and we are excited to imagine the great wines still to come over the next 25 years and beyond. 

In this shipment, Cliffside and Riverside members will be receiving the second vintage of our hugely popular barrel fermented and aged 2015 Reserve Chardonnay; the very limited production and just bottled 2015 Cabernet Franc; and the 2014 Petit Verdot in all of its big, brooding glory. Aeolian and Riverside members will be receiving our first ever barrel fermented and oak aged rosé, the 2015 Eos, named for the goddess of the dawn and the 2014 Apeliotes- both recent recipients of 90 points from the Beverage Testing Institute!

As always, please feel free to email us at wineclub@canyonwindcellars.com with any questions, concerns, or ideas. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for news, events, and pictures!

Cheers!
Jay & Jennifer Christianson, Owners / Winemakers
and Finley, The Fine Wine Canine

Time Posted: Feb 29, 2016 at 1:03 PM
Stacey, Retail Sales & Wine Club Director
 

Crushing It At Canyon Wind Cellars

CRUSHING IT AT CANYON WIND CELLARS

Harvest is the busiest season at Canyon Wind Cellars, and our main harvest months are September and October. My previous blog entry detailed the work that goes into determining when the grapes are ready to harvest, including taking samples and performing tests in our winery’s lab. Once winemakers Jay and Jennifer Christianson give the green light to harvest a particular part of the vineyard based on grape chemistry and taste, they communicate with our vineyard manager, Juan Adan Diaz, to schedule the harvest crew. Juan has been the steward of Canyon Wind Cellars vines for nearly 20 years now!

     

Canyon Wind Cellars Vineyard Manager, Juan, overseeing Syrah harvest in 2015 (left). The harvest crew picking grapes in our Cliffiside Vineyard in 2015 (right).

Grape harvest in our vineyard is done entirely by hand, and it is hard work. Harvesting the grapes requires a lot of bending and reaching because the fruiting zone of the vines is about waist height, by the old vine growth that remains year-round. From my experience helping harvest one day, here is the process: work your way from one end of a row to the other, identify where the grape clusters are on the vine, grasp a cluster, cut the top stem with small pruners (or sometimes you can twist the cluster off), put the grapes in a 5-gallon bucket you have on hand, repeat.  Usually there is someone working on each side of a vine row, with a harvest crew of up to a few dozen people working at once. As buckets fill with grapes, they are gathered by a crew member who empties the buckets into a bin on a trailer pulled by our tractor. Once that bin is full, he drives the tractor to the crush pad (the covered area between our winery and warehouse buildings). Being an estate winery and using our own grapes grown on site, we are able to immediately crush the grapes after harvest.

     

Emptying 5-gallon buckets of Syrah grapes into bins, ready to be moved to the crush pad (left). CWC Owner/Winemaker Jennifer Christianson preparing to crush Chardonnay in the wine press (right).

We have 35 acres of grapevines planted, which can give us about 125-150 tons of grapes each year. Some grapes we sell in bulk to other wineries, but we keep most to make our wine. Believe it or not, we do not crush over 100 tons of grapes with our feet! Winemakers have been using much more efficient tools to crush wine grapes for thousands of years now. Our crush pad houses modern tools of choice: our wine press and our destemmer-crusher (see pictures).

White wine is the product of the process used to make it rather than the color of the grapes. For example, Pinot Gris (a.k.a. Pinot Grigio) is a dark grayish purple grape. Crushing for white wine involves dumping the whole grape clusters into our wine press. Inside the press are “bladders” that are remote-control operated to move in from the sides of the cylindrical tank and gently press the grape clusters like giant hands. Then the juice alone is drained out of the tank and pumped into stainless steel fermentation tanks.

          

The wine press in action with Owners/Winemakers Jay and Jennifer Christianson (left). The Christiansons hard at work with the destemmer-crusher (middle). Close-up of the destemmer-crusher used for our red wines, rosés, and some white wines (right).

Grape clusters for our red wines are emptied into a hopper that funnels them into the destemmer-crusher. A spinning rod with smaller perpendicular rods causes the grape berries to separate from the stems, which are spat out into a separate receptacle. The grapes then fall down between two rollers that crush them and into another receptacle with a pump and large hose hooked up to it. The resulting must (slurry of juice, skins, seeds, and pulp) is pumped into fermentation tanks. Red wine gets its color and many elements of its flavor from extended contact with skins during fermentation.

The next blog will get into fermentation, pressing red wines, oak, and racking!

Time Posted: Feb 5, 2016 at 3:37 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 
October 30, 2015 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Winter 2015 Wine Club Shipment

Hey, We're Doing the Inventory Limbo

How low can we go...If you've been into the tasting room or on our (brand new) website lately, you've probably noticed that we are sold out of a large number of wines. While most would agree that this isn't a terrible problem to have because it means that we are selling wine faster than we can make it, there is still an issue in that we can't provide some of our most popular wines to our customers. As of the sending of this email, we are holding the lowest inventory in our company's history- enough for about 1-2 months of sales. This also means that as of this moment we don't have enough wine in our inventory to send a full wine club shipment- but have no fear, next Thursday we will be bottling two of the wines that Cliffside and Riverside members will be receiving in this shipment. It is not our desire to send out wines so quickly after they have been bottled, but we want to be sure to fulfill our promise to our dedicated wine club members by providing them with new and exciting wines; and in this case, all three CWC wines are unreleased, something we've only been able to do once before. 

In this shipment, Taste the Terroir members will be receiving the just bottled 2015 47-Ten Rosé, a perennial favorite that has sold out in less than six months over the last three years; the just bottled 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon that will reward you with some leisure time in your wine rack; and one of our special project wines from last year, and the 2014 "179", a fun blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Cabernet Franc that we have anxiously been waiting to release with this shipment. Aeolian members will be receiving the unreleased 2014 Notus, just the second vintage of our spicy blend of Syrah and Petit Verdot, and the newly released 2014 Lips- sure to be an award winner like it's predecessors (did we mention that the 2013 Lips won the 2015 Colorado Governor's Cup!).

In case you need an extra reason to open a bottle from your shipment, you can join us in celebrating the fact that we are on track for the most successful year in Canyon Wind's 19-year history. Additionally, the 2015 Harvest was a record-breaker and we already have lots of exciting projects in the works and in mind to come from this year's crop that we can't wait to share with you soon!

Cheers!
Jay & Jennifer Christianson, Owners / Winemakers
and Finley, The Fine Wine Canine

Time Posted: Oct 30, 2015 at 11:15 AM
Stacey, Retail Sales & Wine Club Director
 

Grape Expectations: Harvest Prep

Harvest 2015 has been in full swing, so it is about time I wrote about winemaking activities taking place during the harvest season! Most of our winery’s harvest takes place in September and October. Some late harvest wine grapes are harvested as late as November. This year, we started harvesting on Wednesday, September 9. I will describe what goes into preparation for harvest, and how we determine when to harvest.

First, a basic rundown of the growth cycle of our grapevines leading up to harvest: dormancy during the start of the year, bud break usually in April, flowering and berry set in May, the berries gradually enlarge in June and build up tartaric and malic acids (I will describe their fates in a later blog), then usually in late July we see veraison. This is when we start monitoring the grapes to determine harvest time and estimate how much we may harvest.

     

Veraison as seen in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in our vineyard (left). Melanie taking fruit samples of Cabernet Sauvignon from our Riverside Vineyard (right).

Veraison is when ripening starts, and it is when the grapes start transitioning from bright green to their mature color, whether that is the golden-green of chardonnay or the blueberry-purple color of cabernet sauvignon. During veraison, the berries build sugars, which is when they become interesting in flavor to both humans and wildlife. That is why we put bird netting up on the vines just before veraison.

As grapes hang on the vines, they develop higher sugars and lower acidity. We then regularly measure the grapes’ sugar (measured in degrees Brix—°Bx—with 1 °Bx being 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution) and acidity, as well as evaluating the flavor of the grapes. Fruit samples are obtained on a weekly basis after veraison starts, and sometimes more frequently if needed. One of our winemakers or our winery assistant, Melanie Wetmore, zoom around the vineyard on our 4-wheeler to pick grapes from different varietals and various parts of the vineyard. They are put in sealed plastic bags in a cooler on the back of the 4-wheeler to protect them from the elements until sampling for the day is complete.

Grape samples in bags are then returned to the lab in our winery building. Yes, we have a small lab! The grapes are smashed in their bags to make pulpy juice. The seeds can then be seen to determine the percentage of brown seeds (indicating ripe berries) to green seeds (unripe). You want the percentage of brown seeds to be as close as possible to 100%. The juice is used to measure sugars and acidity, and it is poured into beakers for our winemakers, Jay and Jennifer Christianson, to taste. While tasting, Jay and Jennifer are assessing the flavors in the juice—specifically ripeness, tartness, fruitiness, and fullness—and they take detailed notes.

     

Pro Grape Smasher, Melanie Wetmore, preparing juice samples (left) and measuring total acidity (right).

Based on degrees Brix, acidity, and flavor, Jay and Jennifer decide when to harvest which grape varietals for different wines that they are making. The most important factor is always flavor, as long as the sugars and acidity are within an acceptable range. Some other factors are available tank space, availability of people to harvest, and weather. If many blocks of grapes are ready to harvest all at once, some of them just have to wait in line!

The next blog will describe grape harvest and crush!

Time Posted: Oct 9, 2015 at 3:53 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
 

Fall 2015 Wine Club Shipment

Varieties are the Spice of Life

Back in the days before California wines came onto the scene and made White Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon household names, wines were labeled with the region and more specifically the Chateau, in which they were produced. You've probably heard of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire- just to mention a few. As Americans looking to make our mark on the very well established and highly regarded wine industry back in the disco-lovin' 1970s, we opted to begin producing and labeling wines by specific grape varieties. By the time we started producing wine in 1996, Cabernet Sauvignon was a rockstar in the red wine world (thank you Silver Oak, Stag's Leap, Jordan, and others!) and the variety that would become the constituent of our flagship wine.

If it seems like a number of our wine club shipments over the past few years have been all about that Cab, you are correct. The first grape planted in our vineyard and the one that makes up 35% of all the grapes we grow, Cab Sauv has been and continues to be very prominent in the wines we produce, both as single varietal and blend projects. This shipment includes two vintages of our varietal Cabernet Sauvignon- the 2012 (in a half-size bottle- perfect for one!) and the 2013. A mini-vertical, these Cabs are a great way to discover the differences in structure and flavor from one season to the next. The third wine included in this shipment is the newly bottled and as yet to-be released, 2014 Cabernet Franc. A lighter and brighter wine than the Cab Sauvs, the Cab Franc still provides a picture of seasonal variation and can add more fun to a comparative tasting as it is one of the parent grapes (with Sauvignon Blanc) of Cab Sauv. Whether you decide to try them side-by-side or one at a time, we'd love to know what you think!

As always, please feel free to email us at wineclub@canyonwindcellars.comwith any questions, concerns, or ideas. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for news, events, and pictures.

Cheers!
Jay & Jennifer Christianson
Owners / Winemakers

Time Posted: Jul 29, 2015 at 10:09 AM