Colorado Winery Spotlight: Balistreri Vineyards
Since opening their doors in 1998, Balistreri Vineyards has truly been a family affair. There are currently three generations involved in the process – from making the wine to giving tours of the barrel room. John Balistreri and his wife are the owners, with John being the winemaker as well. Julie, whom we spoke to, says her official title is the “winemaker’s daughter,” meaning she wears a lot of different hats. And there are the grandkids who also work and help out. The family feel also goes into how they treat their customers. As Julie tells us, “when folks come here, we like to treat them like family.” They want their customers to feel at home when they come in for food and wine.
As far as their winemaking goes, everything about it is completely natural, explains Julie. There aren’t any sulfites in their wine, they’re filtered, and their fermented while the grape skins are on. “It’s a really natural process,” says Julie. This is also how John’s family did it back in Sicily; it’s what he was taught, and he didn’t even want to consider making wine another way.
The wine is made on site with grapes coming in from the western slope of Colorado. (If it’s a bad harvest season, they’ll source grapes from California – grapes made from California wines will be labeled “American” rather than “Colorado”.) The grapes are then crushed on site, fermented with their skin on, and then after primary fermentation, they’ll go into oak barrels. All of their wine stays in the barrel for at least twelve months and every year, “we sell out of our wines.” They’re currently serving 2015 wines, 2016 is in the barrel, and 2017 is still waiting to be harvested.
One aspect of their wine that sets Balistreri apart from others is their “orange” white wine. They are still white wines, but with an orange hue, as oppose to the whiter/golden colors you’re more likely to find. This happens because the white grapes are fermented with the skin on just like the process of a red wine. By doing this, they pick up a lot more color and “a lot more layers of flavor.”
In the nearly twenty years that they’ve been open, they’ve seen their production grow along with the Colorado wine scene. They used to be just the room that is currently their gift shop. But five years ago, they completed an addition. This included opening as a full restaurant and event center.
As aforementioned, they have a restaurant and an event space. With a patio in the front, you can have small bites or lunch during your tasting. Even though Balistreri is thought of first as a winery, their lunch and small plate options are delicious. They also have a large space in the back of their tasting room and out back to host weddings, bridal showers, corporate events, birthdays, or anything between.
The Balistreri family enjoys sharing the wines they made as a family with other people. “We really enjoy sharing what we have here with other folks. We enjoy sharing the whole experience.” If you’d love to learn more about Balistreri and try their wines, you can book a tour with us. You can try about twenty wines, have their delicious lunch, and a great time.