Rich and Cindy are no ordinary couple. When retirement came, they did the opposite of slow down, they bought half of another couple’s vineyard and started a winery. They dubbed it “Legatum Cellars.” Legatum means legacy in Latin, and that is just what they are doing on their three acres in the quaint hillside town of Brookside in southern Colorado, between Florence and Canon City.
Rich, Cindy, and their neighbor stood behind the lacquered barn wood counter smiling at the people coming in, pouring them their delicious wines. I sidled up to the bar and Rich put a glass in front of me. I am always excited to try new wines, but I had no idea what I was in for. These are no ordinary wines. I tasted varietals and flavors absolutely unknown to me as he chatted about their history, the terroir, his family, the barn wood from his family barn in Nebraska. He disappeared and came back with a small taste of a ruby red liquid just pulled from the tank to see what I thought.
He was kind enough to give us a tour. Doug took his camera and I took my glass and we embarked on the small winery tour. They turned a pole barn and shipping container into a state of the art, modern beauty, filled with stainless steel tanks (most empty awaiting harvest and drop offs of grapes) and barrels here and there. Cases of their succulent wines lined shelves in a cool room. Outside, the de-stemmer waited for action and the breath in the winery was baited, as there is always so much to do, but the anticipation of being on the cusp of the new harvest and wine making was in the air. Gleaming white floors inside and rows upon rows of sweetening grapes hung from the branches outside upon the hillside.
Doug and I walked along the rows in the vineyard, looking at the colors of each varietal; Chancellors, Concord for blending, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Cote Noir, Zeisfeld, and Cayuga. Netting protected the precious fruit.
Back inside, we sat with Rich during a quiet moment. I asked him questions. He is the wine maker, his wife the wine blender, together they make luscious, wonderland wines- things only they could dream up. Swenson Reds are a local grape that creates a mouthful of lemons and honey in cold white liquid, coating the mouth with acidity. The one I am intrigued by is the Marquette. A beautiful, glistening red that I would love to grow and play with.
Cindy handed Rich the phone. “Uh huh, okay.” He hung up and said to the others, “We have a ton of grapes coming in!” (He literally meant a ton of grapes.)
“I will go home and change my shirt,” a neighbor said. I would have liked to have stayed and helped. I had company coming over and couldn’t offer. I cradled my bottle of Cabernet Franc and bid them farewell as they rose to action to prepare for this season’s wines.
1704 Willow Street
Canon City, CO 81212