From wine club to winery for a Boulder couple

(Photo © Mitch Dinkins)

(Photo © Mitch Dinkins)

There is certainly no shortage of computer scientists and engineers in Boulder. The city’s reputation as a high caliber startup incubator relies heavily on the tech workforce being churned out of the University of Colorado each year. Boulder is also a hotbed of startups closer to the Wagon’s heart. John Garlich and Ulla Merz left their civil engineering and high tech backgrounds and are now the owner/operators of Bookcliff Vineyards, one of the few wineries on the Eastern Slope using 100 percent Colorado grown grapes.

Bookcliff's tasting room (Photo © Mitch Dinkins)

Bookcliff’s tasting room (Photo © Mitch Dinkins)

Like almost all craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries in Colorado, Bookcliff started with an idea bred during home wine tastings and mountain festivals. In 1995 John and Ulla found and purchased land for their vineyard in Palisade on the Western Slope. They have grown to manage 37 acres since their initial purchase. Pressing, fermentation and aging used to be done in the couple’s Boulder basement but now all that takes place in the back of their Lee Hill Drive tasting room. The production and aging area is also the venue for all wine tasting events. Using grapes only grown in Colorado is a point of pride for the proprietors and leads to a very unique experience for Colorado craft audiences who stop by the tasting room.

Offerings at the Bookcliff tap room (Photo © Mitch Dinkins)

Offerings at the Bookcliff tap room (Photo © Mitch Dinkins)

There are 14 varietals currently available in the tasting room, an amazing accomplishment considering the crops only occupy 37 acres and the production facility fits in a small warehouse. A visit during tasting hours (Thursday-Sunday, 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.) will allow you to meet their friendly and knowledgeable staff and enjoy many of their award-winning wines. You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for one of the many wine pairing dinners, cheese nights, or barrel tappings.

Bookcliff Vineyards

1501 Lee Hill Rd. #17 Boulder, CO 80304

(303) 499-7301

Event Schedule – Reservations available online

Local Chef Wine Pairing Dinner – Kelly Whitaker – Basta Woodfired Restaurant

4/10/14 – $65.00

Spring Barrel Tasting and 5 Course Dinner – Eric Skokan – Black Cat Farm Bistro

5/2/14, 5/3/14 – $75.00

About Mitch Dinkins


Mitch prefers life at 10,000' but can often be found around Denver or Boulder enjoying the finer things his home state has to offer.