Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Meet the Winemaker: Keith and Diana Read (Cottonwood Cellars and The Olathe Winery)

Cottonwood Cellars is located on California Mesa. It just happens that California Mesa is located in sweet corn country near the town of Olathe, CO and not in its namesake state. However, the proprietors have a California connection. Diana Read is the face of Cottonwood Cellars and her husband Keith is the winemaker. They produce old-world style wines and are one of two local producers, that I know of, making Lemberger. Despite not displaying the bold fruit flavors of other Colorado wineries, Cottonwood Cellars took home the top award for the red wine at the state winemaking competition in 2011 (this will be renamed the Governor's Cup this year!).

Cottonwood Cellars is also taking full advantage of a Colorado statute that allows local wineries to operate five off-site tasting rooms. You can taste and buy the wine at the winery, of course, but also at Colorado Winery Row and at Coffee at the Point in Denver and at Cowbells in Woodland Park. Very few other wineries take advantage of this law and Cottonwood will soon fill its allotment this year with plans for two new tasting rooms. Wherever you are in the state, I'm sure you'll be able to find a bottle of Cottonwood Cellars that you can sip on while read our interview with Diana Read.
CWP: How did you get into winemaking?

We were looking for something to grow on our farm. Keith said if he was going to grow grapes, he wanted to make wine. It is a retirement project which has gotten out of hand!

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

We wouldn't be "working." We would be retired: traveling, snorkeling, fishing, hunting (Keith), golfing, fine dining with great wine, etc. Not that we don't do those things when we have time, usually in the winter.

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

We go to our house in California, go to Hawaii or Santa Fe, NM.

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

Not Applicable - He makes whatever he wants. That's why we have so many wines, If we try to discontinue one, our customers (wholesale and retail) complain! We make the varieties and styles of wine which we like and have found that our customers like them also! We enjoy a large variety of foods; so, we have made wines to accompany them.

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

Not Applicable - We moved from California to live in Colorado!

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

That's difficult! We have tasted many great wines from Europe as well as the USA. We prefer Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. At 65, we have tasted some excellent wine through the years. Mostly, it is a case of "What's for dinner?"

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

Classical - Mozart - lively, rich and complex.

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

Growing and improving. The ability to produce many varieties.

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

Hopefully, fewer wineries who produce a superior product.

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

Please, keep trying Colorado wines. Every winemaker has his own style. What is your opinion of Colorado wine? Have you tried Cottonwood Cellars or The Olathe Winery products? What was your opinion?

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