Wasn’t the temperature 80 degrees just the other day?  This question rattles around my lobes each morning while I begrudgingly scrape the ice from my windshield.  This morning on the way to school Liv asked, “Daddy, why is the grass white?”

“Because it’s so cold outside sweetie; don’t’ worry it won’t last long” I replied.

Vines in the snow

It’s amazing how quickly the vineyard morphs from a cornucopia of greened canopies to a barren, skeletal field.  The change doesn’t happen overnight, it just seems so.  Harvest comes, and we’re so inundated with crush, barrel conditioning and balancing various stages of fermentation, time seems to fly by while simultaneously standing still.  The flow of patrons drastically falls off by early November, slowing to a trickle by Thanksgiving. Winter hours begin (11 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays), and we take a collective deep breath.  As the temps drop, I contemplate why more tasters don’t incorporate a wine country visit with Colorado’s greatest winter sport.

Doesn’t a nice glass of red wine (and Christmas snacks, of course) sound fantastic while snuggled near a rippling fire after a long day crunchy-grooving down the slopes?  And instead of dragging your sore and unwilling butt back to the lift the next day, how about a nice day of wine tasting.

If skiing is your thing, the Grand Valley has access to plenty of world-class slopes. Located less than an hour from wine country is the fabulous Powderhorn Mountain Resort.  Situated at the apex of the Grand Mesa, Powderhorn is a resort fit for all, with steep black diamonds, corduroy blues and easy-going greens.  With fantastic ticket prices and virtually no lines to muddle your day, it has become the go-to resort for our family. The Wine Country Inn offers fantastic ski and stay packages, too.

If quaint resorts aren’t your thing, within two hours or so of the great Grand Valley you can cut tracks in Telluride, Aspen or another small but unique resort, Sunlight in Glenwood Springs.  Hell, add another half hour and you can get to Crested Butte.

Maybe downhill isn’t your bag?  The Grand Mesa is chock full of meandering cross-country ski trails to.  Winding through beautiful forests while looking down on the serenity of the mesa toting a backpack stuffed with salami, cheese, olives and Mesa Park Reds sounds like a winning plan to me.

Skiing at Powderhorn (amazing views)

At the end of a Christmassy winter day, what goes better with achy, lactic filled muscles better than warmth, wine and food?  Nothing.  Maybe a nice Mesa Park Merlot, 2006 perhaps, combined with a glazed, spiral ham is what ails you.  How about a nice Vienna Beef salami, baked to gooey perfection under a blanket of apricot preserves, served with our bold 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon?  Better yet, pair your Christmas Goose with a Potato Gratin and our rich 2006 Cabernet Franc!  Or you can have my favorite, a glass of Cab, a fireplace and a nice, stinky hunk of cheese. Buy Mesa Park Vineyards wine.

Still not enough enticement for you to visit wine country in the wintertime?  How about some quality tasting time with the Price/Webb family?  To say the least, our lives are dominated by wine.  We relish any opportunity to share the lifestyle with patrons, we love to talk and talk and talk….about wine.  Sometimes, we probably talk too much!  With the reduced crowds and vineyard/winery workload in hibernation, we can spend plenty of time educating customers and answering questions.  Plus, most Palisade area wineries offer winter hours, so there will be plenty of stops to make.

Did I forget to mention, it barely snows here (just at the ski resorts).  I can’t think of a better time to escape the city than when a blizzard is bearing down.  Would you rather have days of snow-packed streets and icy, clogged freeways or temps in the 40s, sunshine and wine?  I thought so.  The valley changes immensely with the winter solstice.  What was once vibrant has dulled, the bountiful chirps and croaks quiet, leaves shrivel and blow in the wind.  If you’ve never been here in winter, its time, isn’t it?

So, pack your bags, warm up the car and strap your skis to the roof.  Point your car toward the Grand Valley and come spread some Christmas cheer on our slopes and drink Mesa Park Vineyard wines!

Hope everyone has a great holiday season.

— Brad Webb