Qutori Winery’s “Best in Show” Win

Qutori Winery’s 2017 syrah takes home the Governor’s Cup in the new winery’s first competition.

Photo by Joni Schrantz

It was supposed to be a big secret that the experts had chosen Qutori Winery’s 2017 Syrah “Best in Show” among all entries and winners in the Colorado Wine Board competition.

But Qutori’s owners, Julie, Richard, and their winemaker-son Kyle, hardly blinked last fall at Colorado Uncorked when their names were called. “Everyone had been telling us, ‘This is the best wine I’ve tasted here,’ ” says Julie. “So I guess we didn’t seem surprised.”

The Bennetts are, however, thrilled at the recognition their two-year-old winery has been receiving, including three medals for their signature Pinot Noirs. They had operated a liquor store in Winter Park when Julie decided she’d like to live someplace warmer and found the former Sky Hawk Winery property in Paonia.

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“Paonia’s a special little place, with weather like Denver’s, and there was this 35-acre property with four acres of cherry orchard and four acres of Pinot Noir, at 5,800 feet (altitude). Then we bought an old liquor store just across from that, which we revamped into our Root and Vine Market, with wine tasting. The winery is behind that and we’re adding on so that we can have events.”

About that name: Julie and Kyle, 28, did some Googling that uncovered Qutori as meaning “leadership and creativity” in numerology. It follows that Kyle’s leading the way with medal-winning wines and Julie’s creating new labels with each vintage.

There wasn’t much of that Governor’s Cup winner ($30 a bottle) left when we went to press, but Kyle says this month’s 2018 bottling, made like the 2017 vintage with grapes from Whitewater Hill in Palisade, could prove a worthy successor.

In any case, Julie says, “We’re thrilled that our wine got recognized. We got a trophy! It’s awesome.”

Qutori Winery