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The deck at Two Rivers Winery's Chateau is the perfect spot to enjoy the panoramic views of the Grand Valley—and a glass of their award-winning wine. —Image courtesy of Lon Abbott

Behind the Vines: Two Rivers Winery

This boutique winery offers a tantalizing taste of southern France at the base of the Colorado National Monument.

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The Winery: Two Rivers Winery & Chateau

Opened: 1999

The People: Owners Billie and Bob Witham, both natives of Colorado’s Western Slope, approach winemaking as a business. They both worked for years in the health care industry before combining forces to design and build two assisted-living facilities. After returning to their roots in northwest Colorado in the late 1990s, the Withams began exploring opportunities associated with Grand Junction’s budding wine industry.

The Space: Harnessing their extensive construction experience, the Withams purchased 15 acres in the gorgeous Redlands region east of Colorado National Monument and built Two Rivers Winery from the ground up. In addition to the rustic tasting room and sparkling, state-of-the-art winemaking facilities, the couple also constructed the Chateau, a multi-purpose “Country French” inn and events center with 10 chic guest rooms, adjacent to the winery.

The Grapes: Because Two Rivers is focused on consistently producing a small number of excellent wines, they grow just three varietals on their estate: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. They supplement this harvest with other locally grown grapes, including Riesling and Syrah, for a total production of about 14,000 cases per year.

The Wine: Since its opening in 1999, Two Rivers’ wines have garnered more than 60 honors and awards, including silver medals for the 2013 vintages of both the Riesling and the Chardonnay at the San Diego International Wine Competition. The 2014 vintages of these wines are also excellent. The semi-sweet Riesling has lovely notes of honeydew and pear that pairs well with hot and spicy food, while the golden Burgundy-style Chardonnay has a sweet vanilla nose, a slight oak taste, and a silky-soft mouthfeel.

Buzzed Trivia: If you plan to buy a case or more, Two Rivers Winery can also etch a quotation, logo, or image onto each bottle to create a personalized gift for weddings, holidays, or other occasions. After the image is sandblasted onto each bottle, the etching is colored with gold leaf paint for a classy look that pairs well with the winery’s tasteful label.

Taste it: Be sure to taste Two River Winery’s reds, including my favorite, the 2014 Syrah. One of the winery’s top sellers, the Syrah has notes of coffee and spice and a lingering flavor of black pepper that pairs well with rosemary, barbequed meat, and grilled eggplant. The 2013 vintage garnered 87 points from Wine Spectator, and at less than $14 a bottle, the 2014 version is a great deal.

Take Home: In addition to the eight wines on sale at the tasting room, you can purchase gourmet food items like wine-infused salsas and pasta sauces, as well as more unusual offerings such as antler wine racks. Even better, don’t go home—spend a night or two at the Chateau, so you can explore the fabulous countryside by day, then lounge on the Chateau’s amazing upstairs deck at night. This is the perfect perch to kick back, admire the stunning panoramic views and, of course, enjoy a fine glass of Two Rivers wine.

Visit: Two Rivers Winery & Chateau is located at 2087 Broadway, Grand Junction; 970-255-1471

(Read about more Colorado wineries in 5280‘s Behind the Vines series)

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