Complementary combinations of people, grapes and terroir — work ethic, philosophy, attitude, soil, climate, elevation, slopes, bugs, livestock and more — are essential for superb wine. Sometimes the environment makes winegrowing relatively easy, as in Sonoma Valley, Tuscany and the Southern Rhone. Jack Rabbit Hill Farm, sitting at more than 6,000 feet of elevation in the arid high-mountain terrain of western Colorado, is not exactly the Médoc.
We thrill to the challenge. Our soils are tough, parsimonious and unforgiving, all of which are assets. They force roots to dig deep for water, through mineral-rich earth. They train roots for endurance and power.
The elevation and climate, on the other hand, test us every season. Winds rake our 18 acres of vines. Deep cold sinks down from Grand Mesa, to our north, and cloaks the land. Summer heat can sear, and water is sparse.
It takes hard work — "easy" does not figure largely into our vocabulary — to produce exquisite wines up here. And we succeed not despite the challenges, but in many ways due to them. The rugged soil gives the vines muscle and strong lungs, which is essential. But we believe our embrace of the transformative power of biodynamic agriculture has given our vines and grapes precisely what they need to thrive in our demanding terroir.
Long ago we decided on a style of farming and winemaking that would push our soil and vines to achieve a kind of harmony that would yield especially complex, terroir-reflective wines. We became Colorado’s first biodynamic estate winery in 2006 (and the first certified organic in 2000), and believe Jack Rabbit Hill Farm’s orchestra of soil, cattle, sheep, insects, fungi, plants, native yeasts, bacteria, plants and climate now are producing an especially beguiling resonance.
The players grow more comfortable with one another every season. And we, too, play a role, listening to the sounds in the fields and working hard to bottle them. We aren’t conductors, exactly; more like a recording studio. To that end, we permit only wild fermentation for our wines — those native yeasts are important for complex flavors! — and reject all additives other than a little S02 at bottling. We want our wines to naturally hit their own notes.
We draw inspiration from the Old World winegrowers who made wine this way for decades before the introduction of industrial agriculture and manufacturing after World War II.
Our story does not end with our estate wines. In addition to Jack Rabbit Hill Farm Wines, our Peak Spirits® farm distillery produces a broad range of craft spirits, including CapRock® Gin, Vodka and Brandies from certified organic and biodynamic, single-orchard fruit. Our CapRock® Bitter relies upon native Colorado bittering roots, and we work closely with a local and talented forager to find plants that best express our unique high-mountain environment. We turn certified organic and biodynamic fruit into single-orchard wild-fermented New Avalon cider and perry. And we even play negociant in our WineTapistry program, custom-blending wines in kegs and boxes for restaurants and caterers. And MEII® Vodka for progressive bars, restaurants and stores is our response to the booze industrial complex.
Jack Rabbit Hill Farm products are available in Colorado and other major markets. We welcome tours, tastings and good conversation year-round by appointment, and encourage you to sink deeper into our story produced by taste//MAKERS, airing and streaming on public television everywhere.