Winery taking part in festival is couple’s labor of love

Third Bridge products will be poured for attendees at Elizabeth event

Posted 10/1/18

The annual Wine in the Pines event will celebrate the 128th anniversary of the founding of Elizabeth, and Elbert County’s Third Bridge Winery is among the local wineries featured at the event. This …

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Winery taking part in festival is couple’s labor of love

Third Bridge products will be poured for attendees at Elizabeth event

Posted

The annual Wine in the Pines event will celebrate the 128th anniversary of the founding of Elizabeth, and Elbert County’s Third Bridge Winery is among the local wineries featured at the event.

This is the fourth year for the event that will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 6 in the Gershin Lot at 165 S. Main St. in Elizabeth

The event includes wine tasting and entertainment. Ethyl and the Regulars will perform and be held 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Gesin Lot at 165 S. Main St. and the spirits are provided by a number of area wineries and distillers, including Elbert County’s Third Bridge Winery.

Tony Baker, winery owner, said he appreciates having the winery be part of this event that honors the history of a local town.

The Elbert County resident said he has always enjoyed wine and establishing a winery was always on his bucket list. He decided to make his long-held desire become a reality in 2013 when he met and learned about the process from wine makers at the Denver International Wine Festival.

“I decided to attend the festival and there I met a fellow wine maker who was willing to help me get started by agreeing to allow me to use his wine-making and bottling facilities,” he said. “We accepted his offer and my wife and partner Suzanne Yekel bottled our first wines in 2014.”

He said he purchases grapes from quality vineyards to produce the four wines he bottles.

“However, we have an area near Franktown where we are testing to see if we can grow climate-hearty grapes so we can use Colorado-grown grapes for our wines,” he said.

Baker said making beer can be done anytime during the year but making wine is a once-a-year process because wine can only be made when the grapes are ready.

He said the wine-making process begins about the end of September when the grapes are usually ready to be picked. The grapes are then pressed, the juice is allowed to ferment, and the juice is placed in barrels to age. Baker said aging usually takes nine to 14 months before the vintage is bottled.

He said that they make four dry European-style red or red-blend wines. They bottled 288 bottles in 2015 and increased their production to 1,300 bottles by 2016.

“Our market is small and the 1,300 bottles have been sufficient for our customers so far to date, so we haven’t had to produce another vintage,” he said. “But our supplies are being sold so we are looking at possibly producing our next wines next year.”

Baker said he would like to be a full-time wine maker that isn’t possible at this time, so he continue his career as the chief operations officer of a medical clinic in Denver.

Baker said he has tentative plans to establish a wine-making facility in or near Elizabeth. He said those plans are tentative and it is his hope he can establish the winery perhaps by 2020.

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