Fenceline Cider is making moves in the wine business.
The cidery in Mancos has purchased all winemaking equipment from Guy Drew Vineyards, whose owner will be joining the Fenceline team as production manager.
Fenceline owners say the move will allow the cidery to harvest, press and ferment all its grapes in Mancos.
“Having full control of the product from start to finish will allow us to develop higher-end wines and cider more efficiently,” said Fenceline co-owner Sam Perry. “Also, Guy’s 20-plus years of large-volume winemaking experience will allow Fenceline to supply its growing number of wholesale accounts in the region.”
The conversation began earlier this year after Drew’s McElmo Canyon property was foreclosed. The business was operated by Guy and Ruth Drew for the past two decades. Drew said the move was primarily a business decision on his part.
“After purchasing and planting and investing a lot of money in growing grapes, it is not viable for most grapes,” he said. “It’s just too cold in the wintertime.”
He added that the mortgage on his 155-acre parcel in the canyons was too burdensome. According to the Montezuma County Assessor’s Office, the McElmo Canyon property along Road G was purchased June 26 by Reece and Leslie Ann Malles for $850,000.
Drew said that he will, however, continue to grow grapes at other locations in the county, where climate and elevation are more conducive to their growth.
“A number of ideas were tossed around, and ultimately, we decided that it was best for Fenceline to just buy out Guy Drew Vineyards,” Perry said.
Under state law, cider is classified in the wine category for liquor licensing purposes, Drew said. Fenceline also has begun its foray into the wine world, although it is known for its ciders.
Drew said the wine equipment Fenceline purchased totals about $300,000. The additional equipment will help Fenceline double its production capabilities and expand its wine offerings, according to a statement released by Drew and Perry. Guy Drew Wine sales will continue into late fall at its McElmo Canyon location.
In his new position as production manager, Drew will be responsible for all cider and wine production at Fenceline Cider and Wine. He said the move will allow him to continue to pursue what he loves to do, and allow him to expand his expertise into the cider realm.
Perry said the move will help keep Fenceline local. “This will be a huge boost to our wine program because it will allow us to source all our fruit, fresh, right here in Montezuma County,” he said.