Fox Fire Farms Winery has been producing wine commercially since 2010. Every year since then, it has relied on the efforts of volunteer grape harvesters. The group comes from around the region to make sure Fox Fire gets the most out of its fruits. The group comes from around the region to help the winery end its season. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by Tafoya Barrett & Associates and Happy Pappy’s Pizza & Wings
For Ignacio's Fox Fire Farms, fall and winter marks a separation from the community it serves in the warmer months. But in an event that marks the turning of the season, it is the community that shows its appreciation for the winery one final time. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Tafoya Barrett and Associates and Happy Pappy's Pizza n Wings. I'm Connor Shreve. Fox Fire Farms is La Plata County's only commercial vineyard and winery. Producing 1,000 cases of wine per year, it is about as local as a winery gets. And in its final public event of the season, it calls on the support of its community to harvest grapes.
Well, we have about 12 different varieties here, and we've been harvesting grapes since a month ago, the middle of September. And every variety has a timeframe when it's ready. And the shorter season varieties, they have a short growing period, they start in September. The ones here today were a long season variety, and you can see from our grapevines that it froze a day ago. On Friday morning, it was 28 degrees here. First freeze of the year, and so, the two varieties that are left are long season varieties. And so, we're going out today and harvesting them. Because of the freeze, the season is over.
Fox Fire Farms owner, Richard Parry, is impressed with the turnout of volunteers who come to help harvest grapes. He says the volunteer pickers represent the local focus of the business.
But there's kind of a synergy here. You know, not only do we have a beautiful location in our, you know, very large farm, but the people here that have come to pick the grapes, a lot of them are customers and friends, people that have come to help us. We have concerts during the summertime, and that's supported by the local people, and we feature local bands.
Some of the pickers are repeat volunteers, others, first timers who enjoy their reward of a glass of wine on the tasting room patio in the solitude of the mini acres of rolling hills southeast of Ignacio. The vineyard has humble beginnings.
It's like, "Let's plant some grape vines." And so, we started trying to plant grape vines, and we planted a few Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling. And guess what, they don't grow here. So that's the reason no one grows grapes. But we were kind of stubborn, and so, over the next four or five years, we discovered the cold climate hybrids.
Varieties like Marquette, Petite Pearl, and Brianna among others have been Fox Fire's feature grapes since 2010. Harvest time might represent the end for some, but it's a time Parry celebrates as another part of the cycle of wine making.
It's harvest time, and it's a really good feeling to get the harvest in. And then the grapes go in the winery and we do the magic of making wine, and that goes on all winter. And for the dry reds, we age them, so making wine actually takes two years. And then, every spring, we release another, you know, the dry reds, you know, three or four of them.
Fox Fire Farms did recently win it's fourth straight Best of Durango and La Plata County Award, and its wines have won numerous medals. Parry does plan to put together another community concert calendar next year and invites you to visit the winery in person for a show, a glass of wine, or to harvest grapes next fall. For more information about this and other stories, visit durangolocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.