By Gary Rollins
Last week, Gary gave a short history of the Winos; this week he will describe the wine-making process.
Each year, Al Clymer, who founded the Winos, carefully calculates the quantity of grapes that will be required to produce some very distinctive wines. Each of the participating couples antes-up the funds to cover the purchase of the grapes and the bottles and the corks, of course.
This past August, thousands of pounds of beautiful grapes were trucked to Clymer’s home where the assembled wine aficianados joyfully undertook the task of crushing the grapes and very carefully filtering the juice into huge oak wine casks to begin the fermentation process. There is enough work to go around for everyone, but the fruits of the effort will be realized next April when the wine will be carefully sampled, blended, bottled and corked. At the end of the work day, the group gathers around a huge table at Casa Clymer to enjoy a sumptuous dinner with lots and lots of wine from all over the globe.
Is the wine any good?
Well, you can ask any of the participating couples how much they enjoyed the eight cases each couple took home the past year. If the wine wasn’t really that good, it might be a challenge to keep the Winos roster full. Suffice it to say there is now a waiting list of those wanting to become a card-carrying member of the Winos.
The wine is that good. And everyone has fun designing labels for their own personal wine collection. At the Spanish Peaks Healthcare Foundation’s fund-raiser earlier this year, a sample mini-case of five bottles of Huerfano Valley wine – appropriately named Huerfano, Ryus, Cuchara, Huajatolla and Grandote – fetched a hefty winning bid as the final auction item.
Can you buy the wine locally? Not a chance. But, if you ask Lance Freeman or Cheryl Bailey, they might offer you a sample taste, given the opportunity. Walsenburg’s #1 dentist, Dr. Phil Warlick and his charming wife, Terry, are also Winos and proud of it. Me, too.
From the vine came the grape and from those famous New Mexico grapes came Huajatolla Valley’s all-but-unknown, yet growing reputation as a producer of some really fine wine.
Eat your heart out, Napa Valley.