Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

CWC Wine Club- Summer 2012 Shipment

It is with high hopes for a great vintage that I write to you today. Last season at this time we were just looking at the start of bud break, this year I am typing this looking out of my office window at 10 inches of growth or more across the whole vineyard!  This super early spring puts us almost on track with 1997, our second vintage, and coincidentally one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon vintages to date. 

In celebration of this early spring (a nice change after last year’s 3-4 days of actual summer!), we have decided to release our entire library only to wine club members; and the 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon is my top pick for drinking right now.  This wine is lush with delicate bright fruit and good structure, a true gem in the Christianson Family Library!  If you would like to see the library inventory, prices and tasting notes or have questions about your own library of wine, please shoot me an email at

Besides the fabulous Canyon Wind library offerings that are now yours to discover, the other reason that we are talking about library wine is that we are planning to construct a super special wine club room in our famous (or infamous) barrel cellar.  This cool (literally and figuratively) room will house our library wines, allow us to offer scheduled wine club private tastings of vintage wines, and most importantly have a place for you- where you can get a unique and memorable experience right here at Canyon Wind!   Looking for more info, want to taste some library wines, or looking to see if we have a special date open in the cellar room for you or your group? Stay tuned for the official completion date!

However, I digress, back to the upcoming harvest of 2012.  We are excited (and trying to catch up on sleep now!) to be making more wine this year than we have in living memory- upwards of 7,000 cases! In addition to making your favorite CWC varietals, we are also going to produce a few small high-end experimental lots under the Anemoi Label (Jennifer is planning sneaky things that even I don’t know about!); and we are also going to be producing the 2012 IV- the second in the IV series after the seminal 2007.  This large harvest also means that we want your help!  Have you ever wondered what it is like to spend all day shoulder deep in grapes?  Here is your chance!  If you have interest in helping out this harvest, let us put you on our list!

We hope that all of you are well and if at any time there is something that we can do for you, please let us know!  Most importantly, thanks for being a special part of Canyon Wind Cellars and Anemoi Wines.

Jay & Jennifer Christianson (Grape Slaves) and Finley (Vineyard Quality Control)

Time Posted: May 21, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Meet Owner, Jennifer Christianson

A relative “newbie” to the wine world, Owner/Winemaker for Anemoi Wines (and Assistant Winemaker for Canyon Wind Cellars), Jennifer Christianson is the brains behind the newest (and dare we say, coolest) brand in Colorado.

Recently, Jennifer spoke with Colorado Wine Press about her experiences in the exciting and tasty world of wine.  Click here to learn a little more about Colorado’s newest winemaker.


Time Posted: May 1, 2012 at 2:49 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Meet Owner/Winemaker, Jay Christianson

Involved in all things Canyon Wind Cellars since the tender young age of 9, Owner/Winemaker, Jay Christianson, knows more about wine than most of us will learn in a lifetime!

Jay recently spoke to Colorado Wine Press about all things wine.  Click here to learn a little more about the first 2nd Generation owner and winemaker in Colorado.


Time Posted: May 1, 2012 at 2:46 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
February 10, 2012 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

CWC Wine Club- Spring 2012 Shipment

Throughout the brief history of winemaking and consumption in this country, we’ve evolved from syrupy sweet juice-like wines, to truly imaginative products to help us legally survive that “era that will not be mentioned” like Vine Glo (a concentrated block of grape juice in a can that could be fermented at home), to Screaming Eagle and Silver Oak’s cult-inducing Cabs, and wineries producing award-winning varietals in all fifty states.  Over the past few decades, as wine has become more fashionable and accessible, the focus has been primarily on producing singular varietal wines.  We’ve seen the popularity of some varietals remain high throughout this time (Cabernet Sauvignon) and others that are merely fads (White Zinfandel); however, no matter the time or the place, it is the varietal wine that has remained the mainstay.

While they are finally starting to generate some interest and acceptance, American blends have long been perceived as wines of a lesser quality or for lack of a better descriptor, cheap. As wine enthusiasts, we all know this isn’t true. Lest we forget about that somewhat famous region of France that you may have heard of- Bordeaux, where all of the wines produced are legally mandated to be made from one to five grapes (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot) and the vast majority (we can think of just a few notable exceptions) of wines produced are blends of these grapes.

Throughout its fifteen year history, Canyon Wind has always produced terroir-driven, varietally focused wines. Our first crush in 1996 produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Over the years, we’ve added Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo, and soon, Malbec to our lineup.  However, in the past few years we too have embraced the excitement of blends by adding the 47-Ten Series- a blend focused group of approachable and affordable wines; and in 2007, when Jay returned to take over winemaking, he created the fabulous Bordeaux-style blend, IV. While they are blends, they have still remained true to the terroir and the style of Canyon Wind wines.

Let’s jump back in time (we love this!) for a moment. In 2008, while coaching young ski racers in Vail, Jay met Jennifer, who was fundraising for young ski racers.  He asked her to watch his dogs for a weekend; when she came over to meet the dogs, they chatted, he poured her a glass of Canyon Wind (Chardonnay, we think…or maybe Tempranillo) and the rest as they say is history (and since Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, we figured a little love story wouldn’t be out of line). While Jay had a lifetime of wine experience and knowledge, it turns out that Jennifer had none.  Zip, zilch, zero.  It did not take long though to figure out that Jennifer loved wine, was a quick learner and was blessed with a good palate. With this shared passion, Jay and Jennifer spent the next three years trying any and all wines and came to realize that both really loved New World-style, oaky, fruit forward wines.

In 2011, they decided to create a new winery that would focus on fruit-forward blends and embrace new winemaking techniques and technologies- Anemoi Wines.  The Anemoi were the mythological Greek gods of wind who were each named for the cardinal direction from which their winds came.  The primary gods were Boreas (North Wind), Eurus (East Wind), Notus (South Wind) and Zephyrus (West Wind).  Each Anemoi wine is/will be named for the god that best represents its individuality and reflects its growing season. The first Anemoi wine and the one that you will be receiving in this shipment is the 2009 Boreas- a blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 15% Petit Verdot. 2009 was the coldest year in our vineyard’s history and thus created a wine that we named for the cold North wind, Boreas.  Upcoming releases include the 2010 Zephyrus, so named for the warm summer of 2010 that produced the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that combine to create the blend; as well as the 2011 Iapyx, a late harvest Pinot Grigio, named for the god of the Northwest wind (a minor deity).

In addition to the 2009 Boreas, you will also be receiving the 2009 47-Ten Red, a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Tempranillo, 12% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, and our unreleased 2009 Petit Verdot.  Our intent with this shipment was to introduce the first of the Anemoi wines; as well as provide you with both a Canyon Wind varietal and blend, so that you could try them side by side to see what similarities and differences exist and if you prefer one over the other.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on Boreas, blends or anything!  Send us your thoughts at

Jay & Jennifer Christianson and Finley


Time Posted: Feb 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
January 9, 2012 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

The Class of 2011

2011 was a great year for Canyon Wind Cellars!  After a few year hiatus, we started resubmitting our wines to various competitions and found incredible success.  We entered our wines into 12 competitions and won 30 awards, in addition to many accolades and tons of press.  We’ve listed the highlights below and all of the medals can be found on each wine’s listing in our Shopping Cart.

Most Successful
The highlight of the year’s awards was the 2009 Petit Verdot winning a prestigious Jefferson Cup.  CWC was the only Colorado winery to be awarded a Jefferson Cup in 2011 (and the third consecutive Colorado winery to win).

Our biggest winners were the 2007 IV with a Double Gold in the Indy International Wine Competition and the 2009 Cabernet Franc with a Double Gold in the Tasters Guild Wine Lovers International Consumer Wine Judging.

Most Popular
The 2008 Petit Verdot was definitely “Most Popular” in 2011, earning 88+ points from The Daily Grape, 91 points from The and was named one of the “Five Colorado wines to try right now” by the Denver Post.  All this in addition to winning one each of a gold (Denver International Wine Competition), silver (Mesa County Fair) and bronze (American Wine Society Colorado Winemaking Competition) medal.

Best Dressed
Our reserve, IV, won Gold for its fabulous label at the Denver International Wine Competition (beating out the wines produced by the Clif Bar Winery!).

We were very excited to release the first wine from our new winery, Anemoi, the 2009 Boreas in September.  In just its three short months, Boreas was awarded a Medal of Excellence (Gold) at the Jefferson Cup- its first (and at that time only) competition!

With the success of 2011, we can only imagine what 2012 holds!  We’ve already submitted wines to 4 competitions- stay tuned for the long list of awards we’re sure to receive!


Time Posted: Jan 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
January 9, 2012 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

A New Year, A New Look

With the end of the world quickly approaching, we figured there was no better time to redesign our label!

With the help our favorite designers, Wilson Lass (the brilliant minds responsible for the creation of the original and current CWC label and the Anemoi label), we created a stylistically clean, simple label that represents both our location (and origin of our name) and our philosophy on winemaking.

Wines bottled this winter will be sporting the new label- look for 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and 2010 Cabernet Franc to be appearing in the tasting room and in liquor stores sometime in the next few months.

We love the new look, almost as much as we love feedback.  Let us know what you think at


Time Posted: Jan 9, 2012 at 2:40 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
November 3, 2011 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

CWC Wine Club - Winter 2011 Shipment

We all know that you don’t need a reason to enjoy a special glass of wine (for example- “It’s Thursday and my email inbox is down to a manageable number” or “I finally found time to fold that pile of laundry” work for us); however, it just so happens here at Canyon Wind that we have a number of legitimate reasons to pop the cork on that special bottle (or case!).  2011 is the 20th anniversary of the planting of our vineyard and the 15th anniversary of our first crush- and we are planning to celebrate with you and the three wines that helped us get it all started!

Think back twenty years ago to 1991, a time when Whitney Houston and Nirvana ruled the airwaves; Arnold was the good Terminator and those two crazy ladies, Thelma & Louise, took us for quite the ride; Microsoft was releasing the latest and greatest version of MS DOS- 5.0; and current owners, Jay and Jennifer Christianson, were in grade school and high school, respectively. Recently retired from a career traveling the world as a geologist, Norman Christianson, along with his wife, Ellen, were looking for a way to relax and enjoy some free time- instead, they purchased a 50 acre plot of land on the eastern end of Palisade, created Christianson Vineyards and with the direction of viticulturist Rich Thomas, planted the first vines in what was to be known as the Riverside Vineyard.

Let’s jump ahead a few years to 1996 and fondly remember when gas averaged just $1.22 per gallon, Will Smith had left Bel Air and helped us save the world from alien invasion; and Ebay, MSNBC and the clones of Dolly the Sheep were created (maybe we’re loving this little trip back into 90′s pop culture a little more than we should…we (specifically Jennifer) could go on and on and on). Upon realizing that the fruit was some of the finest in the Grand Valley, Norman and Ellen with the expert guidance of renowned Napa Winemaker, Robert Pepi, created Canyon Wind Cellars and our first wines were crushed- 1996 Chardonnay, 1996 Merlot and 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon.

In celebration of these two exciting milestones and in honor of our founders, we are sending you a 15th anniversary horizontal of those first three wines.  In this shipment, you’ll be receiving the lush and creamy 2009 Chardonnay, the cherry and blackberry inspired 2009 Merlot and our signature varietal and Bordeaux classic, the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.  We hope that you enjoy these wines whether you decide to raise a glass to Canyon Wind now or if you wait and help us celebrate our next big milestone.  We thank you so much for allowing us to continue to do what we love, which is making wine for others to enjoy!

Happy Holidays and Cheers from the Christianson Family!


Time Posted: Nov 3, 2011 at 2:47 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
September 6, 2011 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

Accidental Encounter

There is nothing greater on a road trip then finding somewhere cool by total accident!  Well these guys found us that way – take a look at what they have to say.  For the full story click  here!


Time Posted: Sep 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM
Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker
August 11, 2011 | Jennifer, Owner/Winemaker

CWC Wine Club - Fall 2011 Shipment

As the summer comes to an end and the brisk breezes and falling leaves are just weeks away, we wanted to take you on an oenphile’s odyssey through three of France’s most significant wine regions. So pour a glass, sit back & relax and enjoy the journey!

With the Fall 2011 shipment, you will travel to the pastoral Loire Valley with our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc; the revered and sophisticated region of Bordeaux with the 2009 Cabernet Franc; and the ancient Rhone Valley once home to the vineyards of the Romans, with our 2009 Syrah.

Known as the “garden of France” and home to many grand castles, the Loire River Valley is one of the largest wine regions in France (nearly every type of wine is produced here!).  The most significant wines from the region, notably Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, are characterized by crisp acidity and are created to be a pure expression of the terroir.  The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, with its well-balanced fruit and hints of citrus and green tea is a great representation of our terroir in the Cliffside Vineyard.

France’s most recognizable wine region is home to many of the world’s most coveted and finest wines (Perhaps you’ve heard of Chåteau Pétrus?  Or maybe Chåteau Mouton Rothschild?).  Wines produced in Bordeaux (80% of which are red) are almost always blends of two or more varietals. Geologically very similar to “Left Bank” Bordeaux, our vineyard is a natural home for all of Bordeaux’s red grapes- Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and our newest addition- Malbec.  The 2009 Cabernet Franc is a perfect representation of our Bordeaux-like terroir, with its bright violet, blueberry and spice.

Divided into two climatologically distinct regions- North and South, wines from the Rhone Valley are some of the most “untamed”.  According to the Wine Bible (a fabulous resource- if you don’t have a copy, get one!), “The wines’ howling spiciness has no parallel.  Rhones are the wine equivalent of a primal scream.”- couldn’t have said it better ourselves.  The only grape permitted and grown in the Northern Rhone is Syrah- yep, that means that all red wines from that region are made up of earthy, gamy and spicy Syrahs.  Drastically different with Mediterranean-like climate and its clay, sandy limestone and gravelly soil, Southern Rhone Syrahs are a key player in the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  With our hot days and cool nights in the Grand Valley, our terroir is much like that of Southern Rhone and the 2009 Syrah is a nearly perfect representation of the region, characterized by minerality and earth with pleasant aromas of coffee and toast.

We hope you enjoy these wines whether you’re at home on the couch or on your relaxing in your villa in Positano.  Feel free to share your experiences at Enjoy!


Time Posted: Aug 11, 2011 at 2:52 PM
Jay, Owner/Winemaker
August 11, 2011 | Jay, Owner/Winemaker

Enjoy MountainSummit in Aspen with CWC

Canyon Wind is a proud sponsor and participant of the MountainSummit!  For info about this great event, check out more here.

The best part of this collaboration is that after the event, Canyon Wind Cellars will be the exclusive wine for the Wheeler Opera House.  So next time you are in Aspen, head over to catch a show and enjoy with a glass of CWC!

Here is a little teaser about the event – visit the link above to learn more:

MountainSummit: Mountainfilm In Aspen is a unique collaboration between Mountainfilm In Telluride – long acknowledged as the leading film festival for adventuring and advocacy – and the Wheeler Opera House.  The festival brings artists, activists, and adventurers together for four days in late August, filled with brilliant film and speaker programs featuring award-winning documentaries with their creative teams and subjects, plus talks from some of the most interesting people working on the planet today.


Time Posted: Aug 11, 2011 at 2:00 PM