Though Bigsby’s Folly is a Colorado winery, there will be some love for California as well. Rather than producing wine in just Colorado, they will also make wine in Napa and Sonoma, California. Because of the location of their productions, they will have two winemakers – Chris Nelson and Brian Graham. Locally, Chris will make the Colorado wines, while Brian will be out in California.
“Because wineries no longer need to be tethered to where the grapes are growing, […] by having an urban winery, we can really source the best fruit that we can,” explains Marla. Because Chad and Marla wanted to “keep a close tie to Napa and Sonoma,” having two winemakers allows them to do that; Brian works exclusively for Chad, Marla, and Chris and produces the wine for them. And rather than just bring in the grapes from California, they want to bring the wine itself. Should they just import California grapes, they could not call it a California wine. In order to keep it a California wine, it has to be made there.
By having two winemakers, they’ll be able to open their doors when it comes time and already have wine ready to sell and serve. At the moment, 70% of their wine will be produced at their facilities in Sonoma, explains Marla, but they will be making Colorado wine as well. Come time fall, they’ll be doing their first crush onsite. As Chris tells us, it’ll be an interesting challenge to begin making wine from Colorado grapes; it’s not something he’s done before.
As for the wine that’s being made at Bigsby’s Folly, it’ll be the grapes that are coming, not the juice. “We want it to be authentic,” says Marla. By sourcing grapes, that allows for more flexibility in making the wine. The process for making the wine, as Chris describes, is pretty straightforward. The grapes will come in cold from a truck, then production depends on whether it’s a white or red grape. For white grapes, the grapes (stems included) go into the crusher and out comes juice. For red grapes, they first have to be de-stemmed, and then they ferment the juice on the skin. Once those processes are done, the juice either goes into a tank or a barrel. This will depend on the kind of wine that is being made. Of course, the aging process depends on the wine. It can range anywhere from months to years.
Eventually, they’d like to get to a point where they’re offering their customers the opportunities to go through two crushes a year, Chad explains. This can happen by sourcing grapes from all over the world, not just Colorado or California. They want to be able to introduce their customers to wines made from around the world, like a tempranillo from Spain or a shiraz from Australia.
Throughout our conversation with the team at Bigsby’s Folly, they continuously went back to the same idea; they want to make sure that wine is no longer intimidating, but something everybody can enjoy. That it’s educational, but fun. Be sure to keep an eye on both Bigsby’s Folly website and Facebook page to learn more and follow their progress. We hope these posts have you excited for Denver’s newest urban winery and that you’re eagerly waiting Bigsby’s Folly’s opening day just like we are.