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—Courtesy of St. Kathryn Cellars

Behind the Vines: St. Kathryn Cellars

Jokingly named in honor of the original owner’s mother, this Palisade winery is known for its innovative herbal and fruit wine—the perfect gift for your own mom this Mother’s Day.

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Opened: 1999

The People: Winemaker Glenn Foster has been immersed in the wine industry from an unusually young age. His father, Reed, is the co-founder of Sonoma Valley’s lauded Ravenswood Winery, and even as a teen, Glenn would assist him with bottling and inventory. After living for 10 years in Colorado, where he met his wife, Natalie, Glenn returned to Ravenswood to learn the art of making wine. In 1995, the couple decided to return to western Colorado, where a decade later they opened a small shop and began making wine under their own label. Several years later, they expanded their operation by acquiring several wineries, including St. Kathryn Cellars.

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The Space: St. Kathryn’s shares a large tasting room with Talon Winery, one of the Fosters’ other brands, just south of I-70 in Palisade. The modern facility is spacious and sunlit, with vaulted ceilings, attractive merchandise displays, and a long, European-style granite tasting bar. One wall is covered with exhibits covering the history of the wine industry in Colorado.

The Fruit: This nontraditional operation makes its wines from many fruits, not just grapes, and uses local Western Slope products whenever they’re available. To preserve as much of the fruit flavors as possible, Glenn ferments the fruit juice while it’s cold, using a custom chilling system and tanks fitted with heat exchangers.

The Wine: Thanks to their focus on fruit and herbal wines, St. Kathryn Cellars offers a true cornucopia of flavors. The winery’s best-seller is its unusual Lavender Wine, made from Riesling grapes infused with organic, locally-grown lavender. Drier than the other flavors, this light wine has a gorgeous pink-and-purple hue and tastes like “aromatherapy in a glass.” Mix it half-and-half with prosecco and add a curl of lemon for a “lavender mimosa,” an ideal beverage for a Mother’s Day brunch.

Buzzed Trivia: The winery’s name comes from the original owner. Since his mother, Kathyrn, didn’t consume alcohol, her devoted son, with tongue-in-cheek humor, jokingly elevated her to sainthood when it came time to create his label.

Taste it: St. Kathryn’s tasting room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with longer weekend hours during the summer. You can sample five wines for free, including the Strawberry Rhubarb Wine, a 75/25 blend of rhubarb and strawberry wines with a slight strawberry nose and a refreshingly crisp taste. The Sweet Scarlet, which won a gold medal in the 2015 Colorado Governor’s Cup Competition, is a 50/50 blend of Merlot grapes and blackberry wine. This sweeter wine is ideal for serving chilled on the back patio on a hot summer afternoon.

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Take Home: In addition to the colorful bottles of wine, St. Kathryn Cellars has a large selection of gifts, including crafts from local artists, gourmet food items, and homemade butter fudge in a variety of fun flavors. In addition to a bottle or two for mom (which you can also purchase online or at many Front Range retailers), you may want to pick up a bottle of award-winning Peach Passion, Blueberry Bliss, or the slightly more tart Cherry Wine.

Visit: St. Kathryn Cellars is located at 785 Elberta Ave., Palisade; 877-858-6330

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