Winter Park Winery restocks its shelves
Sky-Hi Daily News
Winter Park Winery owner Jon Brickner along with four helpers recently bottled about 4,000 bottles of wine.
“I had some friends help out,” he said.
Participants including Brickner’s father-in-law, Bob Peterson, “cranked out” the lot within three days last week.
They all had separate stations they worked at for about 11 hours each day as they hand-bottled the wines.
First, the wine bottle is placed underneath a filler, then passed to the corker, who slams a cork in the bottle. The bottle is then delivered to the labeler, who places the sticker on the bottle. Someone also puts a cap on the bottle and another person rinses the bottle.
“It makes it fun,” Brickner said. “People like doing it. It gives people something to do.”
On the first day, May 27, they bottled 1,480 containers of Winter Blend. The mix combines cabernet and merlot, Brickner said.
Brickner, 36, has been sold out of the “full-body dry red wine” blend for a year.
“It’s back in action,” he said. “It has a little bit of an earthy-flavor with a hint of some herb.”
On the second day, May 28, the crew packaged about 1,100 bottles of syrah.
“It’s really dark and has a black cherry and a vanilla flavor,” Brickner said.
On the last day, May 29, the group packaged 1,380 bottles of cabernet sauvignon.
“(It) has a chocolate-vanilla flavor going on,” Brickner added.
He said that the winery shelves should be stocked with wine well into winter.
“I think the stuff I just bottled will be nice in a year or two,” he added. “It’s good to let them rest a little bit.”
Brickner said he also enjoys crushing grapes and fermenting them. The grapes arrive in early October. A forklift has to transport the grapes that weigh about 1,000 pounds.
Red wine grapes are crushed in a machine. This process takes about two days and his friends also help.
The only Grand County winery that crushes fruit and makes hand-made wine attracts tourists, second homeowners and locals.
“They say it tastes good,” Brickner said.
He bottles about 10,000 wines each year. The winery only offers wines brewed there. Wine tasting is always available.
“You can come in and have a glass of wine or have a bottle of wine, and split it with your friends, or do a wine-tasting,” Brickner added.
About 80 percent of the wine is red while 20 percent is white.
“More people buy red wine and that is about the ratio of sales I’ve been having,” he said.
He said the Merlot is a customer favorite. The winery also sells cheese platters, mustard, dipping oils, vinegars and dessert sauces.
Brickner opened the winery about four years ago.
“My parents got me started making wine,” he said. “It started out as a hobby and grew into this.”
Brickner has lived in Grand County for seven years. The California native attended high school and college in Colorado. He and his wife Cassidi live in Fraser.
Robin Tolleff and Pamela Long also are part of his staff at the winery.
The winery hours are 12:30 to 6 p.m. every day. Its busiest day is Saturday.
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