Vail Today: Vines at Vail hosts their annual wine press at 4 Eagle Ranch
By Tricia Swenson
If you love wine, why not join in the winemaking process by visiting Vines at Vail? This modest mountain, boutique winery will be hosting their annual press on Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 4 Eagle Ranch. Last week, they hosted the wine crush complete with an “I Love Lucy” costume contest reminiscent of that famous scene where Lucille Ball was stomping grapes with her feet. When you hear Vines at Vail you may wonder where their grapes come from. Although there are some vineyards in western Colorado, all of their grapes come from Lodi, Stockton, Amador, California. “I have been buying grapes from the same growers in California for over 40 years now and I am spoiled. This year’s grapes were excellent,” said Patrick Chirichillo, founder, owner and winemaker at Vines at Vail. Growing up in an Italian family, his grandfather taught everyone how to make wine and Chirichillo made his first bottle at the age of 18. “My passion for wine has always been the driving force. The traditions are key. I have been sharing and teaching what I learned with as many people as I know,” he said. What started out 22 years ago as a wine club where members made wine for their own consumption changed into a commercial business four years ago. This year they will produce 12 different varietals including Grenache, Rose, Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon. If you like blends, try their Riva Ridge, Lover’s Leap and Vail Bella varietals. Their wines can be found at local liquor stores, restaurants and at the Vail Farmers Market. “We are hands on with every process of making wine. All of our patrons love to touch, taste and be a part of the process because no one in the valley does this. This is something I am very passionate about this and will share for the rest of my life,” said Chirichillo. For more information, visit http://www.vinesatvail.com.
Vail Mountain opens Nov. 15, about a week earlier than normal. But that earlier opening will be out of Vail Village, not Lionshead.