Purgatory Cellars (a delightful field trip)


“Come with me,” the winemaker said to his newfound friend and now business partner, Gary, “Let me show you something.”  The gentleman over the bar pouring my wine flight recalled his first meeting with Marko in Croatia. The beginnings of Purgatory Cellars.


“So, I followed him out to the middle of nowhere and there is this shed that looks like it is falling down and inside is all of this!”  Gary’s hand sweeps behind him showcasing the large steel vats holding wine.  Marko declared that he was a hobbyist.  Gary mentioned that hobbyists don’t have that kind of, and that much, equipment!

I swirled my glass of Sangiovese and tried to identity components.  I tasted my favorite varietal and noted that distinct flavor.  New Mexico.  The name of their winery is Purgatory because that was a town they were looking at for grapes or to set up shop but much of their source for grapes came from a winery in southern New Mexico before it went to auction.  The flavors of desert and soil with its plum and raisin essences so pleased me.  I went back to detect the wood it slept in.  It didn’t smell of French.  “Slovenian?”  I asked.  “Croatian.”  Didn’t learn about that kind of barrel in any sommelier class.  Fabulous.

The flights are very reasonable.  Five healthy pours of red or white or their ever amazing reserves range from $7-$10.  Glasses of wine and bottles are reasonable as well.  They are starting a wine club I look forward to.  And besides that, the atmosphere is lovely with all homemade wooden furniture, comfortable couches, and a gas fireplace and twinkly lights illuminating bottles and bottles of wine and wine making equipment.  And I love that they use all New Mexican and Colorado grapes.

My friend and I sat for nearly three hours chatting incessantly and tasting wines.  We were neither rushed or pressured.  It is a relaxing, delicious experience to partake in.  Tell them Farmgirl sent you.  Or, maybe I’ll see you there!

Purgatory Cellars, 18921 Plaza Drive, #100, Parker, Co 80134


The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey (a field trip)

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Sometimes one needs to run away, to have a change of scenery, and to put the day to day chaos away and perhaps have a glass of wine!  A change of place can create calm in thought and help bring on new ideas.  We haven’t had a field trip to a winery in some time, so Doug and I with our friends, Rodney and Pat, headed up to Canyon City to explore one in our own back yard.

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The Holy Cross Abbey is a beautiful gothic structure that used to house monks and a boarding school, but as it declined the grounds were left to a viticulturist and the abbey now rests while the winery does the work now.

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We enjoyed the VIP tasting (surprisingly affordable) which included eleven pours to taste most of the wines produced there, from a luscious Petit Sirah to a sweet Apple wine made from local apples.  As we walked outside to the place that the tasting would be held we immediately took in the quaint picnic table set for four with wine glasses.  The vineyard directly behind buzzing with life.  The perfect early autumn air and the smell of nearby mountains and flowers made the event seem as if it were written out of a magazine.

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Our delightful hostess, Elise, was a charming addition to the tasting as we compared stories of herbalism, homesteading, and future dreams.  Her aspirations include starting a community organization that brings like minded people together and turning her parents’ property into a lively homestead for them.  We took to her sweet spirit and enthusiasm immediately.

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It was a day of laughter, good weather, friends, and wine.  We sat in the sun, enjoyed a meal together afterwards, and sang karaoke into the night.  The perfect day.

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If you are in the area the Holy Cross Winery is a lovely place to stop. http://abbeywinery.com