Mountain View Orchard and Winery: A true family affair | TheFencePost.com

Mountain View Orchard and Winery: A true family affair

Carolyn White
Olathe, Colo.

Michael and Wendy Young, owners of Mountain View Orchard and Winery, posing in front of their sign.

The first thing visitors notice after pulling up to the Mountain View Orchard and Winery, located at 5859 58.25 Road in Olathe, Colo., is how casual and comfortable-looking the whole set up is.

A whimsical, hand-painted sign which reads Tasting Room directs visitors past an outdoor seating area – complete with an archway, tiny lights, mix and match chairs, tables, and a swing – to a small wooden building. Inside, there’s a simple yet handsome, custom-made bar with four stools, several lamps, and a replica of a turn-of-the-century telephone. (The sign underneath it gives a number to call in case owners Michael and Wendy Young have stepped out to the cellar or vineyard.) Propped up against the walls, there are antique trunks, bookshelves, barrels, baskets, railroad lanterns and Mason jars along with an assortment of framed pictures or expressions such as, “We are all mortal until our first kiss or our second glass of wine.” There’s an old cider press in the middle of the room, and if you glance overhead you’ll find a surfboard, a sled, and even an ancient pair of skis attached to the ceiling. Once you’ve gotten settled, however, with the soft sounds of classical music in the background, it’s the menu selection that’ll really grab your attention.

The Young’s offer 19 wines, all made right on the property, which include such sweet types as Apple Raspberry and Black Diamond Rose’; a white (that tastes like pears) called Pinot Grigio 2009; and something that’s described as an “irresistible combination of two flavors, dark chocolate and cherries, that go together like roses and romance,” Cherry Decadence. While reading the short descriptions of each, you’ll notice that one of them, named Dare Devil Red, was the winner of the “Best Colorado Wine” award at the 2010 wine fest in Montrose, Colo. Pretty impressive for a side-business that just got its start 10 years ago after the family had pulled out a block of apples and decided to try grapes. “Michael’s grandparents bought the place in 1960,” Wendy told me. “The orchard is over 50-years-old, and people have always come to pick their own fruit or asparagus – whatever is in season. We have cherries ready by July followed by peaches and pears, and then apples clear up until it snows. ”

Michael, who has culinary school background (he attended Western Culinary in Portland, Colo., plus took wine chemistry at UC Davis), began to experiment with his own, unique grape and fruit blends based on what other growers recommended and what was selling well. Eighty percent of the grapes are grown on the property, and he currently cares for seven different varieties – Barbara, Merlot, Pino Grigio, Pino Noir, Chardonnay, and two German types, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. “Some of the wines are aged in oak,” he explained during my tour of a large, neighboring building which is kept at a steady, 59 degrees, “usually four to eight months.” After each has been bottled, they’re capped the old-fashioned way, one at a time.

“It’s been kind of an adventure,” Wendy smiles, “since Mike does everything from the ordering, accounting, bottling, labeling and advertising. Although we do hire seasonal workers for the vineyard, Michael’s father, Frank Young, runs the orchard part, and his grandmother, Agnes, worked and even sorted up until 2006 when she was 95-years-old.”

The pair also has three children – each of them home-schooled – to help out around the property. “We try not to use chemicals on the fruit, and nothing on the grapes. It’s conventional, not organic. We’ve always been natural. Miniature goats weed the orchard and provide the fertilizer, and we move them around in portable pens.”

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We were temporarily interrupted when three out-of-town customers pulled up, searching for wine and asparagus to have with dinner. Staying with relatives in Montrose, they’d been told that Mountain View was the best place to get them. Wendy poured samples of the Uncompahgre 2007, the regular Cherry, the Strawberry Rhubarb, and one of their most unusual, the Syrah (another type of grape) described as “earthy and dry with slight flavors of coffee, cocoa, and tobacco.” The visitors decided on two different types before heading out across the meadow to start picking.

Although the usual business hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The Youngs have started staying open later for such special, scheduled events as class reunion mixer nights, 4-H extension office gatherings, and the most recent, “School’s Out” party for faculty and teachers. They’ll do personalized wine labels, too, such as adding wedding photos to each bottle. As for Olathe’s Sweet Sweet Corn Festival, which will be held on August 6, this year, they’ll once again be sharing expenses with two other local wineries towards a free shuttle bus which will travel back and forth from the park. (There is no drinking allowed on park grounds.)

“We’re starting to get more and more locals and repeat clientele,” Wendy says. “Word of mouth is a really good way to get a name out. In the beginning, it was 90 percent tourists who had seen our signs up by the highway. People also read about us in the wine brochures that are found in hotels statewide, and they recognize us at the Farmer’s Markets in Montrose and Aspen (both held on Saturdays), Crested Butte (Sundays) and Mountain Village outside Telluride (Wednesdays).” It’s clear that the couple is especially busy this time of year when you toss in harvest season, but it’s taken in stride. Looking around her at the view of the orchards, she concludes, “It’s a peaceful place, a place of respite.” No wonder that customers enjoy stopping by again and again … and the wine is great, too.

The Mountain View Winery is open year around, with Sundays by appointment only. For more information, please visit http://www.MountainViewWinery.com.

The first thing visitors notice after pulling up to the Mountain View Orchard and Winery, located at 5859 58.25 Road in Olathe, Colo., is how casual and comfortable-looking the whole set up is.

A whimsical, hand-painted sign which reads Tasting Room directs visitors past an outdoor seating area – complete with an archway, tiny lights, mix and match chairs, tables, and a swing – to a small wooden building. Inside, there’s a simple yet handsome, custom-made bar with four stools, several lamps, and a replica of a turn-of-the-century telephone. (The sign underneath it gives a number to call in case owners Michael and Wendy Young have stepped out to the cellar or vineyard.) Propped up against the walls, there are antique trunks, bookshelves, barrels, baskets, railroad lanterns and Mason jars along with an assortment of framed pictures or expressions such as, “We are all mortal until our first kiss or our second glass of wine.” There’s an old cider press in the middle of the room, and if you glance overhead you’ll find a surfboard, a sled, and even an ancient pair of skis attached to the ceiling. Once you’ve gotten settled, however, with the soft sounds of classical music in the background, it’s the menu selection that’ll really grab your attention.

The Young’s offer 19 wines, all made right on the property, which include such sweet types as Apple Raspberry and Black Diamond Rose’; a white (that tastes like pears) called Pinot Grigio 2009; and something that’s described as an “irresistible combination of two flavors, dark chocolate and cherries, that go together like roses and romance,” Cherry Decadence. While reading the short descriptions of each, you’ll notice that one of them, named Dare Devil Red, was the winner of the “Best Colorado Wine” award at the 2010 wine fest in Montrose, Colo. Pretty impressive for a side-business that just got its start 10 years ago after the family had pulled out a block of apples and decided to try grapes. “Michael’s grandparents bought the place in 1960,” Wendy told me. “The orchard is over 50-years-old, and people have always come to pick their own fruit or asparagus – whatever is in season. We have cherries ready by July followed by peaches and pears, and then apples clear up until it snows. ”

Michael, who has culinary school background (he attended Western Culinary in Portland, Colo., plus took wine chemistry at UC Davis), began to experiment with his own, unique grape and fruit blends based on what other growers recommended and what was selling well. Eighty percent of the grapes are grown on the property, and he currently cares for seven different varieties – Barbara, Merlot, Pino Grigio, Pino Noir, Chardonnay, and two German types, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. “Some of the wines are aged in oak,” he explained during my tour of a large, neighboring building which is kept at a steady, 59 degrees, “usually four to eight months.” After each has been bottled, they’re capped the old-fashioned way, one at a time.

“It’s been kind of an adventure,” Wendy smiles, “since Mike does everything from the ordering, accounting, bottling, labeling and advertising. Although we do hire seasonal workers for the vineyard, Michael’s father, Frank Young, runs the orchard part, and his grandmother, Agnes, worked and even sorted up until 2006 when she was 95-years-old.”

The pair also has three children – each of them home-schooled – to help out around the property. “We try not to use chemicals on the fruit, and nothing on the grapes. It’s conventional, not organic. We’ve always been natural. Miniature goats weed the orchard and provide the fertilizer, and we move them around in portable pens.”

We were temporarily interrupted when three out-of-town customers pulled up, searching for wine and asparagus to have with dinner. Staying with relatives in Montrose, they’d been told that Mountain View was the best place to get them. Wendy poured samples of the Uncompahgre 2007, the regular Cherry, the Strawberry Rhubarb, and one of their most unusual, the Syrah (another type of grape) described as “earthy and dry with slight flavors of coffee, cocoa, and tobacco.” The visitors decided on two different types before heading out across the meadow to start picking.

Although the usual business hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The Youngs have started staying open later for such special, scheduled events as class reunion mixer nights, 4-H extension office gatherings, and the most recent, “School’s Out” party for faculty and teachers. They’ll do personalized wine labels, too, such as adding wedding photos to each bottle. As for Olathe’s Sweet Sweet Corn Festival, which will be held on August 6, this year, they’ll once again be sharing expenses with two other local wineries towards a free shuttle bus which will travel back and forth from the park. (There is no drinking allowed on park grounds.)

“We’re starting to get more and more locals and repeat clientele,” Wendy says. “Word of mouth is a really good way to get a name out. In the beginning, it was 90 percent tourists who had seen our signs up by the highway. People also read about us in the wine brochures that are found in hotels statewide, and they recognize us at the Farmer’s Markets in Montrose and Aspen (both held on Saturdays), Crested Butte (Sundays) and Mountain Village outside Telluride (Wednesdays).” It’s clear that the couple is especially busy this time of year when you toss in harvest season, but it’s taken in stride. Looking around her at the view of the orchards, she concludes, “It’s a peaceful place, a place of respite.” No wonder that customers enjoy stopping by again and again … and the wine is great, too.

The Mountain View Winery is open year around, with Sundays by appointment only. For more information, please visit http://www.MountainViewWinery.com.