Reeder Mesa Vineyards has an endearing Colorado quality about it. The vineyard atop its namesake mesa has a one-dog welcoming committee that makes you feel at home as soon as you pull up to the tasting room.
When parking your car, Trooper will sprint the hundred yards down the dirt driveway from the family house to say hello and beg for a few precious head pats.
Eventually, you’ll be able to pull away from his puppy dog eyes long enough to make it into the tasting room, the real reason you are here.
Reeder Mesa grows two acres of riesling on the property, which backs up to the Grand Mesa. At 5,600 feet, it boasts one of the highest elevations for a vineyard that you’ll find. The property used to be homesteaded in the 1880s by John Reeder, a popular Palisade public figure who was at one time the sheriff.
Now his name lives atop a mesa and one of Colorado’s many vineyards.
Reeder Mesa makes its estate riesling as well as a cabernet sauvignon, merlot chardonnay, Meritage-style blend, rose and a dessert wine tabbed Purple Haze—these wines are made from grapes sourced in the nearby Grand Valley AVA.
Run by Doug and Kris Vogel, the winery has been in business since 2000, although the vines were planted in 1994. The Vogels previously herded cattle, and Doug also served as the area’s mechanic. Now it’s all about grapes and vino.
“Sold the cows and bought some vines; the grapes don’t kick me,” says Doug, Reeder’s winemaker.
Whether herding cattle or growing vines, the Voguels have enjoed one of the most beautiful pieces of property in the Grand Junction area for decades. In the spring, they have aptly named Waterfall Weekends, where visitors can take in more than a dozen snowmelt waterfalls pouring off Grand Mesa from the tasting room porch.
The Uncompahgre Plateau jets up within view and wildlife sittings from the deck are commonplace. Not to mention, the tasting room is just one mile from the start of a scenic byway that meanders up Grand Mesa, the world’s largest such flat-topped mountain.
Between the causal atmosphere as judged by the lap dog Trooper, the stunning beauty of the area and a wine list heavy in the local favorites, the Vogels have turned Reeder Mesa Vineyards into a quintessential Colorado wine country stop.
Best bottle from the winemaker’s perspective: 2007 cabernet sauvignon. “I think Doug is proudest of last year's Colorado State Fair Commercial Wine Competition in which the second bottling of 2007 cabernet sauvignon received Best Red and Best of Show, Overall. … It had been a unanimous decision by the judges.”
2007 cabernet sauvignon: Best Red and Best of Show 2009 Colorado State Fair
2007 Land’s End Red: Grand Junction Sentinel’s Best of the West 2010 reader’s choice for best local wine, and “Great” wine in the 2009 Jefferson Cup Invitational
N/V Land’s End Red: Silver 2007 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
Prices: $14-$22 | Buy Reeder Mesa wines now
Wine club: Two to four shipments a year, includes 20% discount on all wine purchases
Reeder Mesa Vineyards
Free tastings, open Wednesdays through Sundays and by appointment
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and noon-4 p.m. Sunday
7799 Reeder Mesa Road, Whitewater, CO 81527, 970-242-7468