Steamboat Winery blends love of the mountain lifestyle with fine wine
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local entrepreneur Penney Adams is hoping to blend her passion for great wines and her love of Steamboat Springs into her latest business, the Steamboat Winery.
“I grew up with wine, and we always had wine on the dinner table … My dad collected cabernet and Bordeaux. It was always a family passion,” Adams said. “I think that Steamboat is such a special place. I feel fortunate that I am able to bring together that love with making some nice wines.”
The Steamboat Winery was established in 2017. By purchasing grapes from California, the winery is able to produce an exquisite wine. Eventually, the entire process — outside of trying to grow grapes in the Yampa Valley’s short growing season — will take place locally.
Adams is working with a consultant in Sonoma to make the wines there and, recently, took delivery of the winery’s first offerings.
“I’ve been fortunate that some nearby wineries (in Sonoma) have let me use their facilities,” Adams said. “We have a temperature-controlled storage space, but our wine-making room has not even begun.”
She is hoping to start work on that once the snow has melted on the Adams’ Two Brother’s Ranch, located on Routt County Road 41 about 20 minutes from downtown Steamboat Springs. Once the wine-making room is completed, she will have the grapes shipped to Steamboat where they will be processed, fermented and bottled.
“Phase one was the storage room, phase two will be the wine-making room and the tasting area and phase three will be the rest of the barn,” Adams said.
She is also hoping to have a tasting room in Steamboat as well as the one on the ranch that will be able to host large groups, weddings and other events.
“Most people say they came to Steamboat Springs for skiing and stayed for the summers,” Adams said. “We came for the summers and the skiing and stayed for the community.”
Adams and her husband, Scott, have been regular visitors of Steamboat for more than a decade. They decided to become full-time residents of the Yampa Valley a couple of years ago, moving here from Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Adams comes from a corporate background. She ran and marketed an insurance office for a number of years, and during that time, she also operated a retail business in Charlotte called The Wine Gallery. When she first came to Steamboat, Adams thought about opening a wine shop.
“I knew that I wanted to get back into wine someday,” Adams said. “I just didn’t feel like there was room for another retail store in Steamboat Springs. I love growing and gardening and started thinking about a winery.”
The only problem was Steamboat’s short growing season, which makes it impossible to grow the grapes needed to make wine. But, thanks to her connections in the business, Adams was able to line up the grapes, which will be grown in Sonoma, for her rose, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet and non-alcoholic sparkling white grape juice.
The labels on the first batch reflect the mountain lifestyle with a rose called Ranch Dog, a River Angler cabernet, a sauvignon blanc named The Daisies, a syrah called Expert Slope and the Slopeside White chardonnay.
Adams said the 2018 Barn Red blend is aging nicely and will be released later this year along with The Aspens barbera.
Adam’s 10-year-old twin sons Jeff and Alston are also making a non-alcoholic sparkling wine called Bunny Slope. They are donating $1 from every bottle sold to the Drew Rushton Memorial Fund.
“Wine can bring people together — helping create connections and enhancing your food and your time together,” Adams said. “When I was little, so many times, my family would sit at the dinner table long after everybody had finished eating and chat and finish the wine. It’s a really fond memory that I have.”
Adams started with a small production of just under 400 cases, and she said it’s selling quickly.
The Steamboat Winery will hold a tasting from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Carl’s Tavern, 700 Yampa St. Steamboat Winery has also teamed up with The Homesteader to offer gift baskets that include Daniela’s chocolates. Visit steamboatwinery.com for more information.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.