- What’s the story behind your name and logo?
We sit at the foot of Mt. Garfield, named after the 20th president of the United States. Our logo weathervane comes from our desire to keep the original “farming heritage” of the property. It also represents our commitment to quality and excellence and keeping our sense of “direction” toward these goals.
- How long has Garfield Estates been around?
We were established in January of 2000.
- As the owners of Garfield Estates, how did you get into the wine business?
Basically, coming out of the high tech industry in northern California, with its proximity to wine country, is where the seeds were sown that would grow into our vision for Garfield Estates today.
- Why did you pick Palisade, Colorado, as your location?
We wanted to be a part of the growing and young Colorado wine industry (vs. the VERY mature and big business West Coast market) and to be ambassadors of the Colorado wine industry.
- How did you come to find this particular property?
It was brought to our attention by the original person we hired to develop and plant the vineyard. It was not “on the market” at the time. We met with the owners and then came to an agreement.
- How large is Garfield Estates in terms of planted acreage?
16+ acres. The original estate vineyard was planted in 2000. In 2006 we added an additional 5 acres just 1.5 miles west of the winery.
- What types of varietals do you grow and why did you select them?
Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscat Ottonel. We chose them based on our strong belief that these varietals are well suited to our unique micro climate and terroir here in Palisade, Colorado. Many of these varietals thrive in other parts of the world with climates similar to the Grand Valley.
- How many wines do you make?
We currently offer nine estate bottled wines:
Whites are Fumé Blanc, S2 (Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend), Viognier and our famous Lagnaippe Blanc (dry muscat)
Vin Rosé, a classic dry french style rose made from Syrah
Red wines are Syrah, Cabernet Franc and coming soon, Malbec!!
Desert wines are our world famous Vin De Glace and our unique Chocolate Port wine.
- What is the best time to drink your wines?
All the time! But seriously, our wines are really meant to be paired with great food anytime. It should be a fun experience!
- Do you use a distributor?
We currently self distribute our wines. If you are interested in carrying our wines in your retail store or restaurant please contact us at 970-464-0941 or email@example.com
You can also submit your contact information thru our website contact form.
- Describe the Garfield Estates’ team in terms of employees and consultants.
We have six employees including Rainer Thoma, our full-time winemaker. And we use a number of industry/winery consultants from time-to-time.
- Do you do tours at your winery?
YES! Simply request a tour when you visit our tasting room, or for larger groups please call ahead to make arrangements.
- What awards have your wines won?
Many of our wines have won medals in various international wine competitions. For a detailed list see the awards section of our website.
- How many visitors have come to your winery since you opened?
Approximately 25,000 since we opened in June 2002.
- Where do they generally come from?
The Front Range of Colorado mostly, but as far away as Europe and South Africa.
- Do you have a wine club?
YES! People can sign up for the wine club at our winery or online.
- Talk about each of your wines and what distinguishes them.
Our Vin Rosé is styled after the great European Rosé wines. Finished dry and bursting with fruit, the scent of strawberries is prominent --- a refreshing, summer wine for picnics or sipping on the patio on a warm afternoon. In Europe the Rosé is considered the perfect choice for lunch at an outdoor café or as an aperitif. Not to be confused with the sweeter, somewhat heavier, American Rosé, our Rosé is dry, crisp and refreshing.
Our Fumé Blanc refers to a particular style of wine made from the very popular Sauvignon Blanc grape. Countries such as Australia and New Zealand have enjoyed great success in recent years producing Sauvignon Blanc wines. In the U.S., great wineries such as Robert Mondavi first pioneered the Fumé Blanc style. This style combines the intense tropical and citrus fruit flavors of Sauvignon Blanc with the rich and creamy characteristics of many Chardonnays. For our Fumé Blanc we started with excellent fruit harvested from the ideal growing conditions of this last season. The wine was 100% barrel fermented and aged Sur Lie in a combination of French and American oak. The result is a wine with bold, fruit flavors of citrus and pineapple integrated beautifully with the rich creamy oak and vanilla tones brought out from the barrel fermentation. This wine truly combines the best of both worlds, the richness of a great Chardonnay yet still maintaining a subtle fruity taste. Fumé Blanc is a wine easily paired with a wide variety of foods from roast chicken to spicy Thai dishes.
- What hotel accommodations are available near your winery?
The Grand Valley of Colorado offers many hotels and some excellent B&B’s.
Vistas & Vineyards is just across the street from Garfield Estates. Others nearby include Palisade Wine Valley Inn and DeVine Time B&B.
The newly opened (2008) Palisade Wine Country Inn is just a few miles from our winery and is a beautiful new wine themed hotel.
For more information see our section on "Friends of Garfield Estates"
- What’s the best way to get to your place?
From Denver, I-70 westbound to exit 242 (Palisade). Turn right at the first four way stop and follow to G Road. Turn right, go about ¼ mile. We also have a map and directions to the winery here.
- What’s the drive time to Garfield Estates in Colorado?
Denver = 3.5 hrs., Vail = 2 hrs., Aspen = 1 hr., Telluride = 3 hrs.
We are 10 minutes from Grand Junction.
- What are the advantages and challenges of growing a vineyard in Colorado?
Besides the awesome beauty, the advantages are good climate with warm days and cool nights. And the low humidity is great for grapes. The only real disadvantage is the occasional late spring frosts that can damage grape buds. The Grand Valley climate is very similar to the climate in eastern Washington that is producing some nationally acclaimed wines.
- Do you have plans to go into other varietals in the future?
We are constantly experimenting with different styles of Rose and dessert wines. Our plan is to keep producing Fume Blanc, Vin Rose, Syrah and Cabernet Franc year after year.
- How many cases of wine do you produce?
We produce approximately 2,500 cases a year.
- Do you purchase additional grapes besides what you grow?
Currently we are purchasing our Cabernet Franc and few other small lots of red grapes for blending. Our whites, rose, Vin de Glace and Syrah our made from estate grown grapes.
- What is your approach/philosophy to aging your wines?
Wines need sufficient time aging on both barrel and bottle. But conversely, too much barrel aging is not desirable as wines become “over oaked” and can become too high in alcohol. We test and taste frequently to determine the optimum amount of time a wine should be aged in barrel or bottle.
- Describe your long-range plans for Garfield Estates.
Our goal is to establish Garfield Estates as a premium winery with limited production (maximum of 4,000 cases annually) focused on Rhone-style wines. We want to be recognized as a great, small winery with a reputation for vibrant, distinctive wines.
- What is your assessment of the wine industry in Colorado?
Currently the Colorado wine industry is in a very positive transition. From “hobby wineries” primarily, with a few exceptions, we are now moving towards a more serious approach to fine wine making. The level of investment, product quality and focus on creating great wines, regardless of location, is finally taking off. Over the last five years the industry has seen explosive growth in both quantity and quality of wines being produced. Colorado shares many parallels with the wine industry in Washington State, and there’s no reason we can’t emulate their success. The key factor to achieving this success is to get the word out to the more than three million people of the Front Range in Colorado, most of whom are not even aware of the burgeoning wine industry in their own state!
- How would you compare Colorado’s wines to other states in the U.S?
We strongly believe Colorado can be a “premium” winemaking state on par with Washington State and New York or California in terms of our quality.
- As the owners of Garfield Estates, what has been your most memorable moment?
As the owners of Garfield Estates, what has been your most memorable moment?
- What has given you the greatest joy so far at Garfield Estates?
All of the people we have met and worked with while starting our winery!
- What advice would you give to other would-be winery owners?
It’s a business that requires great passion and dedication. If you don’t have these qualities then the rest will be difficult.