Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Meet the Winemaker: Jennifer Christianson (Anemoi Wines)

Jennifer Christianson
Only a few year's ago, Jennifer Christianson knew almost nothing about wine. Now, she is the leading force behind one of Colorado rising wine brands. Together with her husband, Jay, Jennifer is helping the Colorado wine industry become more attractive to consumers. There are more than a handful wineries in the state producing excellent juice, but Anemoi Wines is the bold new kid on the block that everyone is going to want a date with soon. The Anemoi wines are big, oak and fruit driven blends with sexy packaging. Unfortunately, the Anemoi wines (only the Boreas has been released) will only be available at the winery and at select restaurants. So, with that, here's the woman behind the brand, Jennifer Christianson.

CWP: How did you get into winemaking?

I met my husband, Jay. We met while living and working in Vail; he was a youth ski racing coach and I was the Development Director for the organization. When I met Jay, I knew almost nothing about wine. I was an eager student and threw myself into tasting (I mean, learning) as much as I could. When Jay completely took over Canyon Wind Cellars from his parents in early 2010, we decided that it made sense for me to join him. When we made the decision to create Anemoi, with the intention of creating a style of wines that I loved, it was the perfect opportunity for me to dive into winemaking. 2011 was the first vintage that I was 100% involved in the winemaking for Anemoi (and assisted with Canyon Wind). I'm incredibly excited about this year's blend, Notus, made up of 60% Petit Verdot and 40% Syrah (and truthfully, for a girl from suburban Chicago with a BA in Geology and a MBA, it's all a bit surreal still).

CWP: If you weren’t in the wine business, where would you be working?

Most likely, I would still be in the non-profit world. In a previous life, I raised funds for ski racers from the little guys just starting out to members of the U.S. Ski Team. I thought it was pretty much the coolest job, until I got into winemaking!

CWP: What do you do when you’re not at the winery?

I think we spend most of our time not at the winery driving up and down I-70 (we split our time between Palisade and Eagle, plus we have our tasting room in Georgetown). If you mean for fun, we love to eat. Experiencing new flavors and foods is just an extension of what we do with every day with wine- plus, it is enjoyable and educational at the same time. We also like to ski, hike, bike (you know, all of those "required" mountain activities).

CWP: What is a wine that you currently do not make that you want to make?

Zinfandel. As a relative newbie to the wine world, I've tried to experience as many different wines as I can. It seems that no matter what I try, I keep coming back to Zin.

CWP: If you could make wine in any wine region in the world, other than Colorado, where would you be making wine and why?

I'd love to say Bordeaux or Tuscany or some other iconic region that produces amazing wines; but I haven't visited any wine regions outside of the U.S. (yet), so I don't want to pick just one without having experienced them all firsthand (business trip??). As for regions that I have visited, I would love to experience winemaking in California. As terroir focused as we are here in our vineyard/winery, it would be very cool to work with grapes, both as single varietals and blends, grown in a different climate and terroir (plus, they're much closer to the ocean and I could spend much more time on the beach...maybe).

CWP: What is the best bottle of wine you’ve ever drunk?

1982 Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard. I had this bottle a few years ago for my husband's birthday (he's a great vintage!) when I was just starting to really understand wines and it still stands out as phenomenal. If I get to pick a very close second, I'd choose a 1989 Château Figeac- in a word, wow.

CWP: To what style of music would you compare your wine lineup?

We listened to a lot of Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse") during harvest, so it feels like a good representation of Anemoi- new, young, energetic, excited.

CWP: What do you think consumers should think of when they think about Colorado Wine?

An adventure. An educational and fun tasting journey. Let go of any preconceived notions or things you've heard about Colorado wines and taste anything and everything- you can't judge a book by its cover, so don't judge a wine by its location or label.

CWP: Where do you see the Colorado wine industry in 10 years?

Bigger and better. There are so many exciting things happening in Colorado with new grapes, blends, packaging, etc, we can only imagine what the next 10 years will bring.

CWP: What question would you like to ask me and my readers?

What makes you want to join a wine club?

1 comment:

  1. I join wine clubs when the wines are not distributed and of the highest quality.