The People: When Michael Marsh, a general contractor, and his wife, Dee, spontaneously visited a winery near Palisade while driving through the Western Slope on their way to Las Vegas, they became intrigued by Colorado’s thriving wine industry. After returning home, Michael began to cultivate grapes in his backyard and ferment his own wine. He eventually enrolled at Texas Tech and earned certifications in both viticulture and winemaking before launching his own business, Legacy Vineyards, in 2015.
The Space: Located in a historic 1872 building that once housed a general store, the winery is bright and inviting, with cheerful yellow walls and a two-sided bar that is a hub of activity.
The Grapes: Marsh primarily uses Colorado-grown grapes, some of which he produces himself at a vineyard that he co-manages in Fort Lupton. These include cold-tolerant Marquette grapes, a red varietal developed by the University of Minnesota, which he blends with Cabernet Sauvignon, Primitivo, and Frontenac grapes to create his best-selling “Scary Basement Red,” whose unusual name belies its delicious dark cherry and chocolate flavors and spicy, cinnamon finish.
The Wine: Legacy Vineyards currently features three house wines. These include two red blends as well as a best-selling white, a pale yellow Chardonnay made from Palisade-grown grapes, about half of which were aged in French oak to create a light, citrus scent and lingering ginger finish.
Buzzed Trivia: Legacy Vineyard’s name stems both from Marsh’s love of growing plants and his deep spiritual beliefs. He sees parallels between how the vines overcome obstacles and the many challenges that people must rise above in the course of their daily lives.
Taste it: The tasting room is open from Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m.; Fridays from 2 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Tastings cost $8 for five wines. If you enjoy reds, be sure to try Marsh’s fun Bordeaux-style Red #2, whose characteristics noticeably change with temperature. When served chilled, the silkier texture and more subtle flavors pair well with fish tacos; at room temperature, the stronger nose and enhanced cherry flavor are better suited for serving with a juicy burger or steak.
Take Home: In addition to the house wines, Legacy Vineyards offers a selection of reds and whites from other Colorado wineries, most of which are located in the Grand Valley American Viticultural Area, where more than 80 percent of the state’s grapes are grown.
Visit: Legacy Vineyards is located at 5728 South Rapp St., Littleton; 303-798-0196