A perfect ending to a vivid day spent leaf-peeping at fall color in the Grand Valley might include a stop at Two Rivers Winery & Chateau for some wine-tasting. Fall means harvest, so taking a tour of the winery and vineyards offers unique insight into wine production from grape to glass. Two Rivers Winery & Chateau is situated at the base of the Colorado National Monument in the stunning mesas in the Redlands area of western Grand Junction. Sunset Magazine recently described the area as “a drop-dead gorgeous valley that’s a mini Napa-meets-Boulder-meets-Moab” (Sunset Weekend Trips 2011).
The family-owned boutique winery, conference center, and country inn bring a taste of France to Mesa County. Established in 1999, the conference and event center can host intimate events or large parties for up to 200 guests. The complex’s architecture and décor resemble a Country French Chateau. Surrounded by the Chateau deux Fleuves (“House on Two Rivers”) Vineyards, there are beautiful views throughout the property. The outdoor pavilion is open to nature and to beauty from all sides.
Two Rivers produces Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Syrah, and Port. The family has chosen to focus on a few varietals, which has paid off handsomely in the number of awards their wines win vintage after vintage.
Proprietors and Colorado natives Bob and Billie Witham entered the winemaking business after working for many years in the health care industry. Today their winery produces 14,000 cases. Bob’s years as an executive serve the winery in his attention to day-to-day operations. Billie’s finance background has her overseeing the business’s finances, as well as the Chateau and tasting room operations. Daughter Brittany Witham-Crowell manages the tasting room and the Winery & Chateau’s weekend events, including weddings, corporate retreats, business meetings, concerts, and conferences. Son-in-law Rob Crowell manages beverage activities and special projects. Son Brandon Witham is the sales and marketing manager and distribution liaison for wholesale and retail outlets in Colorado.
Award-winning winemaker Tyrel Lawson crafts wine from the estate-grown Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes. Grapes for the other wines are purchased from local growers. The 2009 Chardonnay is produced in the style of a French Burgundy: bright, with a good balance of fruit, acid, and smoke. The 2009 Syrah, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2008 Vintner’s Blend are standouts, with rich, dense flavors.
The Two Rivers Winery & Chateau is a beautiful setting for a wedding. Whether in view of the spectacular scenery outdoors or inside the beautiful French Chateau, the options are many. Event packages may include stays in the wine country inn’s 10 guest rooms, each named after a wine varietal – among them Beaujolais, Burgundy, and Champagne. Guests enjoy breakfast on the veranda that overlooks the vineyards and offers views of the Colorado National Monument.
The photographs in the accompanying slide show were taken during Colorado Mountain Winefest 2011, when Two Rivers Chateau & Winery hosted a festival brunch. They prepared a spectacular array of food that was accompanied by Rob Crowell’s delicious Bellini made from Palisade peaches, fresh-squeezed oranges, Two Rivers Riesling, and champagne. Heavenly!
If you are planning a trip to Palisade this fall, add Two Rivers Winery & Chateau to your list of destinations. The hustle and bustle of the harvest adds energy to an already dynamic environment. The Grand Valley has a delayed fall color season compared to the Front Range because they sit at a lower elevation and are a bit warmer. Consider heading to the Mesa for a color drive then dropping back into the Grand Valley for a late-afternoon wine tasting at Two Rivers. Enchanté!
Two Rivers Winery & Chateau is located at 2087 Broadway in Grand Junction, Colorado. The tasting room is open Monday-Saturday from 10:30am-6:00pm, and Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm.