News and EventsFarm Journal
News Events

Peaches Are Looking Great! Peaches Are Looking Great!
July 14, 2016 – We have a huge crop of delicious peaches this year. U-pick peaches will begin the end of July and run through the first part of September. Also if you would like to raise money for a service club or as an individual, we have peaches by the truckload. There is a minimum order of 50 boxes. They are 20lb boxes for $18 per box. Sell them for $28 for a profit of $10 per box. For more information, contact us on our website or call 970-527-6838.  click to enlarge

West Elks Wine Trail West Elks Wine Trail
July 10, 2016 – Mark your calendar for The West Elks Wine Trail August 5th, 6th, & 7th. For a complete calendar of events go  click to enlarge

Delta County Tourism Board Web Site Delta County Tourism Board Web Site
July 9, 2016 – The Delta County Tourism Board has a calendar full of fun events for all of Delta County. Click here to view.  click to enlarge

EZ Pickin' at Orchard Valley Farms EZ Pickin' at Orchard Valley Farms
June 20, 2016 – Our Rainier Sweet Cherries will be ready for picking June 25th and our Raspberries are ready. Come for a fun day of picking, then relax and cool off by the river with a glass of wine or a picnic lunch. Already picked Rainier and Red Sweet Cherries are also available.  click to enlarge

Cherry Days July 1-4 Cherry Days July 1-4
June 19, 2016 – Visit beautiful Paonia, Colorado for the 4th of July Cherry Days Celebration.
Go to for all the details. And make sure to visit us for even more fun.  click to enlarge

What's For Dinner What's For Dinner
May 14, 2016 – Happy to announce our dinner menu for The North Fork Uncorked, Saturday, June 18th at 6:30 p.m.

Braised Colorado Lamb Shank, Roasted Garlic Truffle Mashers, Vegetable Medley(Zucc, Yel. Squash, Crimini Mushroom, Onion, Pesto), Mixed Field Green Salad, Fresh Baked Rosemary Sourdough & Sundried Tomato Basil Focaccia, and for dessert Tiramisu. Our featured wines will be a selection from Black Bridge Winery and 5680’ Vineyards.

The dinner will be catered by the highly rated (by Trip Advisor) Flying Fork Cafe. Enjoy this delicious dinner and wonderful wines outside in a beautiful setting at Black Bridge Winery.

Cost per person is $55. The experience is priceless!
Seating is limited. Make your reservations by calling Kathy at 970-270-7733 or Orchard Valley Farms/Black Bridge Winery at 970-527-6838.

For more information visit the West Elks AVA website or the West Elks Facebook page at  click to enlarge

Open for the Season! Open for the Season!
May 6, 2016 – Orchard Valley Farms & Market and Black Bridge Winery open their 2016 season on May 27th. It’s an exciting time here in the valley. All the fruit is looking GREAT! U-pick cherries will be toward the end of June (Yay, cherries for Cherry Days!), and we have an early peach that should be ready for picking toward the middle of July. Check our website for harvest updates.

New this year to the market is local certified angus beef, choice plus. Pair your favorite cut of meat with your favorite Black Bridge Wine. My mouth is watering already just thinking about it!

Mark your calendar for The North Fork Uncorked, Father’s Day weekend, June 18 & 19. Surprise Dad with a visit to the West Elks Wineries in the beautiful North Fork Valley for a weekend of wine tasting, food, music, and more! As part of the celebration, our dinner by the river will be on Saturday, June 18, at 6:30p.m. This year our dinner will be catered by The Flying Fork Cafe which is rated the number 1 restaurant in Paonia and received the Award of Excellence by Trip Advisor. And of course wine, wine, and more wine featuring Black Bridge Winery and 5680’ Vineyards. What a perfect day for Dad or Grandpa, or Uncle Joe or anyone! For reservations call 970-527-6838, and for more information regarding The North Fork Uncorked visit for winery events.  click to enlarge

Pumpkin Patch & Hayrides Pumpkin Patch & Hayrides
October 6, 2015 – How about riding a hay wagon to our neighbors, Camelot Farms, to pet some fun critters. The hayrides will run each Saturday in October, and will depart Orchard Valley Farms every hour beginning at 11:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. The cost is $5/child which includes the hayride and the petting zoo. Children must be accompanied by an adult. When you return to Orchard Valley, hunt for just the right pumpkin in our popular Pumpkin Patch. You can also sample fresh pressed apple cider, shop the market, roast some chilies, taste some delicious Black Bridge Wines(sorry kids), and enjoy a picnic by the river. And if the kids need more activity for that peaceful ride home, you can walk the farm trail and the river trail.  click to enlarge

Celebrate! Celebrate!
October 5, 2015 – Join Black Bridge Winery along with Stone Cottage Cellars, Azura Cellars, Desert Weyr, and Terror Creek Winery on October 31st for a day of wine, food, art, and holiday savings. Morning Light Emporium will be our featured jewelry vendor. The end of the season sale will continue on Sunday, November 1st, at Orchard Valley Farms and Black Bridge Winery.  click to enlarge

Customer Appreciation Day Customer Appreciation Day
October 4, 2015 – Plan to spend your afternoon on Saturday, October 31st from 11-4 at Orchard Valley Farms & Black Bridge Winery. We will honor our customers with wood fired pizza and fresh pressed cider. Morning Light Emporium will be the featured jewelry vendor. Our year end sale will be on October 31st and November 1st.  click to enlarge

U-Pick peaches U-Pick peaches
September 21, 2015 – Hurry! This will be the last week for u-pick peaches. There are raspberries and blackberries for picking along with chili peppers. Our tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen.  click to enlarge

Mountain Harvest Festival Sept. 25-27 Mountain Harvest Festival Sept. 25-27
September 21, 2015 – Fun! A weekend of music, games, grape stomping, farm & winery tours. The events of the festival will take place at the Paonia Town Park. Come visit Orchard Valley Farms & Black Bridge Winery for a weekend of pumpkin picking, cider pressing, chile roasting, and wine tasting. Visit for more information.  click to enlarge

Peach Sunday Peach Sunday
August 22, 2015 – Everything is Peachy. Join us on August 23rd, for Peach Sunday. Enjoy free tastings of our new Peach Wine, made from 100% Orchard Valley Farms' Peaches, our Ripe Peach White Balsamic Vinegar, and enjoy a sweet peach sundae. To top off the fun, there will be a 10% discount for any item in our market that contains the word peach!  click to enlarge

We Did It! We Did It!
October 27, 2014 – We reached our goal of 4,000 dollars for the Flight of the Eagle Project. Thank you very much for your donations. For more information visit  click to enlarge

Conservationist of the Year! Conservationist of the Year!
October 26, 2014 – Congratulations to Lee Bradley, owner of Orchard Valley Farms and Black Bridge Winery, for being chosen as the Conservationist of the Year by the Delta Conservation District.  click to enlarge

Three Peat for the Paonia Eagles! Three Peat for the Paonia Eagles!
February 23, 2014 – For the third straight year, the Paonia Eagle Wrestling Team took state and not only that, they have five state champs. What a FEAT! Congratulations to all the athletes and coaches.  click to enlarge

State Champs! State Champs!
November 26, 2013 – Our Paonia Eagles took the Class 1A State Football Title at home on Sat., November 23rd. This hasn't happened since 1959! It was so exciting for all the players and the community. Some of the players from the 1959 team were there to see the game and be a part of the celebration. Our very own, Josh Kimball #56, (Rob's son) played tackle for the Eagles.  click to enlarge

State Champs! State Champs!
April 5, 2010 – The Paonia High School girls basketball team are the class 2A state champs. They defeated Holyoke, Sangre De Cristo, then Akron for the championship game. We are so proud or our girls.  click to enlarge

Colorado Fresh Markets Web Site Colorado Fresh Markets Web Site
May 19, 2009 – When are fruits and vegetables ready for harvest? Keep this calendar handy, but check our web site for updated information on harvest times. Click here to view.  click to enlarge

Riedel Seminar Riedel Seminar
April 14, 2009 – Lee's Black Bridge Pinot Noir was chosen for the Maximilian Riedel's seminar at the Colorado Mountain Winefest. It was quite an honor, and Lee enjoyed talking to the quests about his wine.  click to enlarge

Karmann Ghia Karmann Ghia
April 3, 2009 – You might wonder, "What does a fruit grower do in the winter months besides veg out on the couch?" (just kidding Honey) This winter, a gentleman who loves Volkswagens, has been restoring our Karmann Ghia, and Lee has been able to help with the project. The Ghia should be ready this summer to transport us on a Colorado get-a-way. We are very excited!!  click to enlarge

Field Trip Field Trip
October 27, 2008 – The 8th grade class at Paonia Junior Senior High School enjoyed a trailer ride through the orchards and making apple cider using our 100 year old press.  click to enlarge

Grape Stomp Grape Stomp
October 27, 2008 – What a hoot! The stomp was so much fun and a profitable benefit for our library. A huge thank you to all the sponsors and participants for making our first annual grape stomp a success.  click to enlarge

U-Pick Peaches U-Pick Peaches
October 27, 2008 – Visitors enjoyed picking peaches and vegetables using our new wagons.  click to enlarge

All Aboard! All Aboard!
October 27, 2008 – Being transported to our pumpkin patch by wagon, the Fenske twins, Jack and Andy, had a great time and a successful harvest.  click to enlarge

Wedding at the Farm Wedding at the Farm
September 21, 2008 – It was our honor to have Nick and Melody exchange their wedding vows at our farm this summer. It was a beautiful summer evening, and their wedding was so much fun.  click to enlarge

Cherry Days & U-Pick Cherry Days & U-Pick
July 11, 2008 – Many visitors participated in the events of the Paonia Cherry Days Festival over the 4th of July weekend. Families from around the state enjoyed the experience of picking sweet cherries on our farm.  click to enlarge

Fourth Annual Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival 2008 Fourth Annual Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival 2008
June 11, 2008 – This year the Festival will be held at Orchard Valley Farms on June 21st beginning at 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and will offer a variety of experiences such as: wine making demonstration, tasting room tips, wine sensory demonstration, food and wine pairing information by local chefs, musical entertainment, and food vendors. Tickets may be purchased for $50.00 p/person by calling Orchard Valley Farms at 970-527-6838 or e-mail All proceeds will go toward oncology services and healthcare scholarships at Delta County Memorial Hospital to help support patients in our community.  click to enlarge

Back Page of Delta County Independant Back Page of Delta County Independant
December 16, 2007 – In September of this year, the DCI did an article on the Bradleys and Orchard Valley Farms. You can cut and pasete this website address to view the article.  click to enlarge

Chuck wagon Chuck wagon
August 17, 2007 – Lee's brother Roy and his wife Sandra have entertained us this year with two authentic chuck wagon meals. OUTSTANDING!  click to enlarge

Article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Article in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
May 31, 2007 – Pinot noir grape: It’ll drive vintners to drink
by Dave Buchanan

Pinot noir is known for being a finicky, site-specific grape that’s hard to grow and even harder to make into a good wine.

Agreement may not be universal, but it’s close.

“The challenge is to make good wine out of it,” said Horst Caspari, viticulturist at the Colorado State University Orchard Mesa Research Center. “It’s just a fickle grape. You think you have something great and it changes on you.”

Winemaker Eames Petersen has a similar take.

“It’s not any more difficult to grow a pinot noir than it any other wine. The differences arise in the color and richness of the wine,” said Petersen, who makes a delightful pinot noir at Alfred Eames Cellars in Paonia. “If you go into the vineyard and taste a ripe pinot noir grape, it has more flavor and taste than any other grape you will imagine.

“That’s when it’s in a place it will grow well,” Petersen added with caution. “It’s hard to translate what you had in the vineyard to what you get in the wine bottle, for whatever reason.”

That’s where pinot noir drives winemakers crazy. You can grow pinot in many places. Some of the world’s best come from Oregon, California, France’s Loire Valley and New Zealand. But putting that fruit in the bottle separates the good from the best.

Growers are producing some of the state’s best pinot noir in the West Elk American Viticultural Area, roughly the North Fork Valley from Delta to Paonia. This summer, visit Black Bridge Winery at Orchard Valley Farms and you can taste three distinct pinot noirs side-by-side: Petersen’s, Lee Bradley’s (Black Bridge Winery) and Steve Rhodes’ (S. Rhodes Vineyards of Hotchkiss).

All are made predominately from grapes grown by Bradley at Orchard Valley Farms, yet all three offer individual takes of what pinot noir can offer.

All lovely, all quite approachable, yet all different.

“I’m not exactly sure, I wish I could tell you,” said Bradley when quizzed on the distinct wines. “But I agree, you can really taste the difference from all the wines, even the ones from the same vineyards.

“Sometimes I think I like their wine better and then I taste mine and think, ‘This isn’t so bad,’ ” he said with a laugh.

And yet a fourth version — the elegant, austere and very-European styling of Joan Mathewson (Terror Creek Winery) — is available just up the road.

“Same grapes, different wines,” mused Petersen, who recently issued his first pinot noir estate bottling. “Is it a vision thing? Yes and no. I don’t have any particular vision in mind. For me, the hope is that I will get as close as possible to what I had in the vineyard.

“The taste of the grape and whatever character the season gave it, is what I want to be expressed in the bottle.”

This year, though, it’s going to be difficult to get anything to put in the bottle. Last November’s freeze threatens some growers with near-total loss, and Bradley, likely the state’s largest producer of pinot noir grapes, is concerned about having any grapes to sell or make into wine.

“The vines should be pushing a whole lot more (fruit buds) than they are,” said Bradley with a wince audible over the phone. “I don’t believe there is going to be any crop at all off this one.”

A lost crop is a major setback for Colorado winemakers, who get one chance each fall at success. In some areas, such as New Zealand, winemakers can work two harvests a year.

The lost vintage hurts more than just wine sales, Caspari noted.

“There are some really good pinot noirs up there, but we are just barely touching (the potential) now,” said Caspari, who is testing nine different pinot noir clones at the Rogers Mesa research site.

“But if it’s the highest quality and doesn’t survive the winter, it doesn’t matter,” he added. “Burgundy never gets as cold as Hotchkiss.”

Dave Buchanan can be reached via e-mail at

Sponsored Links  click to enlarge

Wine and Cheese Lovers Wine and Cheese Lovers
August 5, 2006 – Dear Lovers of Cheese and Wine,

We are now in Peek Season and will be selling our Raw Goat Cheeses this Sunday at Orchard Valley Mkt / Black Bridge Winery in Paonia.

Day: August 6
Time: After 10:30 AM till Closing.

There will be plenty of sampling---and an opportunity to taste your favorite local wines and cheeses in one location.

Corinne and Joe

Corinne and Joseph Coniglio
Roubideau Farm-to-You
Roubideau Fresh Chevre Shares
3249 1600 Road
Delta, Colorado 81416-7815
(970) 874-3305 Home Office  click to enlarge

USA Today comes to Black Bridge Winery USA Today comes to Black Bridge Winery
July 24, 2006 – By Jerry Shriver, USA TODAY
GRAND JUNCTION — Winemaking may embrace artistic expression, but it is also a competitive business, says Bob Witham, who learned to mix it up in the military and health care arenas before moving here to launch Two Rivers Winery in 1999.
"So the question in the Grand Valley is, how are you going to compete with California? With Australia?"

Witham and his fellow vintners in Colorado's most popular wine-producing area address that question by focusing on familiar grape varieties that thrive in the high desert, presenting well-made, smartly priced wines in attractive tasting rooms near I-70, and letting the area's gorgeous scenery speak for itself.

Those approaches have led to an increase in the number of area producers to 18 (from 8 in 1998) and an estimated 100,000 annual winery visits. Many of those visitors combine winery visits with golf, river rafting, and mountain bike outings and driving tours of the Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa area.

Witham and his wife, Billie, raised the stakes considerably when they opened a 13,000-square-foot, $1 million chateau-style hospitality center on a 15-acre site in Grand Junction at the foot of the monument. The grand structure features 10 B&B rooms and a palatial reception area, and the grounds sport a barbecue pit and an open-air pavilion for weddings and musical concerts.

"The strategy from Day One was to get people to taste the wine in a pleasant environment where they could have a good time, and then get recognition for the wine," Witham says. They now host 60 weddings each year and stage public and corporate events, all of which expose their wines to a far-flung audience. "This idea is panning out," he says.

Although Two Rivers and Grande River Vineyards, the state's largest grape-growing operation, command the highest profiles in the Grand Valley area, at least a half-dozen other smaller wineries produce notable wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot dominate production and sales, but Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Syrah, Viognier and Cabernet Franc, from producers such as Garfield Estates, Canyon Wind, Carlson Vineyards and Plum Creek, show even more promise. And Graystone Winery has won awards for its ruby-style ports and Carlson Vineyards for its fruit wines.

"This industry reminds me of Oregon and Washington 25 years ago," says Bill Musgnung, who moved here from Oregon to work for the state as a consulting enologist (winemaking expert). "People are still learning what will grow here and what won't, but there has been a great improvement. The industry just needs consistency."

Though Grand Valley is the dominant force, impressive winemaking also occurs in the West Elks area, 35 miles to the southeast via a scenic route that goes over the Grand Mesa and past the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. There, a handful of small wineries are creating a successful niche with wines made from cool climate grapes such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Riesling. The vineyards there are some of the highest in the world, at about 6,300 feet above sea level (the Grand Valley area is about 1,000 feet lower), the temperatures are cooler and the growing season is relatively short, but those conditions result in wines that compete with those from the Grand Valley for quality. Among the wineries to look for: Terror Creek, Alfred Eames, S. Rhodes, Black Bridge and Stone Cottage.

Says Lance Hanson of Jack Rabbit Hill in Hotchkiss, who grows organic grapes and other fruits atop the desolate but beautiful Redlands Mesa and turns them into dry wines, eau de vie and grappas: "If you can crack the code on growing really special fruit that has characteristics that only come from here, that's the key."  click to enlarge

Recommendations from USA TODAY Recommendations from USA TODAY
July 24, 2006 – WHAT TO DRINK WHERE:

Wine Price Winery

2005 Slate Point Pinot Gris $12 Two Rivers Winery Grand Junction

2004 Cabernet Franc $15 Garfield Estates Palisade

2002 Port II $23 Graystone Winery Clifton

2005 Laughing Cat Gewürztraminer $12 Carlson Vineyards Palisade

2005 Lone Eagle Riesling $16 Jack Rabbit Hill Hotchkiss

Alfred Eames Cellars Sangre del Sol $18 Black Bridge Winery Paonia

2003 Pinot Noir $25 Terror Creek Winery Paonia  click to enlarge

Article in Denver Post Sunday Article in Denver Post Sunday
June 25, 2006 – Out there: Bing Cherries

Bing Cherries

Orchard Valley Farms & Market,
15836 Black Bridge Road, Paonia

One happy side effect of a year without a cold spring is that the Western Slope bing cherries are ready 10 days earlier than usual. We expect them to show up in Front Range farmers' markets any day now, but if you want to put your dibs on a 10-pound order, visit The organically grown cherries run $3.90 a pound, then figure around $12 in shipping, but the total is still deal at less than the $5.50 per pound natural grocers are charging for conventional Colorado cherries.  click to enlarge

Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival 2006 Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival 2006
May 1, 2006 – A great time was had by all!!!!! The foundation made over $15,000 to be used in the 2006 year.

Thanks to ever one  click to enlarge

State Champ State Champ
February 21, 2006 – DENVER — Chris Kennedy calmed the nerves by watching a little TV and talking about girls.

Then the Paonia High School senior heavyweight wrestler went out and pinned Merino’s Coby Amen in 2 minutes, 42 seconds to give the Eagles their first state team wrestling title in school history.

Kennedy pumped his fists and Paonia coach Andy Pipher, once a Paonia wrestler himself, nearly touched the roof of the Pepsi Center, then shared tears in an embrace with his brother and Hotchkiss coach Chuck Pipher.

Kennedy’s victory in the final match Saturday night gave the Eagles 154 points. Rocky Ford, which led by as many as 11 points, finished with 150.5.

“It’s really scary knowing it came down to me,” Kennedy said. “I broke down. I had to gather myself.

“I couldn’t contain myself. Pipher joked around with me. We were talking about girls.”

Pipher, who had baseball caps proclaiming their 2006 Class 2A state title ready as soon as the match ended, did more than that.

“After the Rocky Ford kid lost at 160, we were walking in the hallways,” Pipher said. “He realized we could win (the team title) if he won (his match). We were down on the floor and did (takedown moves) and got him calmed down.”

Neither Kennedy nor Amen managed to figure out a way to score on the other heavyweight until the second period, when Kennedy was able to use a traditional Paonia technique to take Amen down, then subsequently pinned him.

Kennedy was the Eagles’ only individual state champion, but Paonia placed eight of its 11 wrestlers who qualified for the tournament.

“Our team is really close,” Kennedy said. “We do everything together. The people through the back door led us to the victory.”  click to enlarge

Top of the Rockies BMW Rally Top of the Rockies BMW Rally
February 8, 2006 – Will be in Paonia on July 13,14,15,16 this year. Check here for more information.
A great rally in Colorado is the Top of the Rockies Rally. It is sponsored by the Colorado Beemers ( it is held in Paonia, CO. This will be held on July 13-16, 2006. I attended the event last year and I think I had the only CLC at the event. Good events, great food & adult beverages, and some of the best hospitality around.
Wine tasting???? Winery Tours at the Rally

After a hot day of riding, slip on the shorts and flip flops and jump in an antique car for a slow ride down a shady lane to the vineyards, just outside Paonia. Lounge about the relaxed yard and get an orientation to the wines produced in the area. Sound like fun? You may also enjoy tasting some of the wines and ordering some for shipment to your home. When ready, again board your vintage ride and return to the city park for music and camaraderie under the trees. We hope you will enjoy this extra feature of your 2006 Top of the Rockies Rally.  click to enlarge

Cowboy Bill Cowboy Bill
October 11, 2005 – There are 2 people in the North Fork who have survived bone marrow transplants, me and my friend Bill!!!! Bill is about 2 years out and I will be celebrating my 5th anniversary on October 19, 2005. Bill is still looking a little skinny, but when he comes to the market, we try to load him up with lots of good eats.
Look at the smile on his face and you can tell life is worth living.  click to enlarge

The front view of the wine celler The front view of the wine celler
September 1, 2005 – This is kind of a crude view of the new wine cellar, but I’m just as thrilled as ever to have it progressed as far as it did in the last year. The door is being custom built at this time by a woodworker in Paonia. The door opening is 5 feet wide and 8 feet high with two doors that will open in the middle so they can both be opened and oak wine barrels can be put into the cellar. We plan to cover the cinder block with native volcanic rock. I picture a small concrete pad in front of the door and lots of Virginia creeper growing up the rocks. We want it to be interesting to look at from the county road because it is the first thing you see when you come into the Bradley’s driveway.  click to enlarge

moose moose
August 23, 2005 – Coal Creek  click to enlarge

The summer to remember. The summer to remember.
July 30, 2005 – Our summer vacation in Idaho.  click to enlarge

Covering the wine cave with soil Covering the wine cave with soil
July 1, 2005 – Just about the time the cherries were getting ready to u-pick it was also time to start covering the wine cave. Art Beavers the contractor used a D-8 bulldozer to liberate the soil from its resting position, a Cat front end loader to carry the soil to the other side of the cave and a large track hoe to place the soil on top of the cave. The top of the facility is 13 feet and there is about 5 feet of soil on top. This was absolutely the most stressful few days I have had, as I was never sure that the facility would actually hold the weight of the soil on top. This was strictly a farmer engineered project. (well, I think that oughta work) and move on to the next project. It did not cave in and actually it is exceptionally strong and real cool in these hot summer days.  click to enlarge

Northwest Iowa Farmers Come to our Vineyard Northwest Iowa Farmers Come to our Vineyard
June 15, 2005 – On Wednesday June 15 a tour bus filled with Iowa farmers came to Orchard Valley Farms on their last stop of the day. The farm employees entertained the guests by treating them to a Texas style Bar-B-Q catered by Zacks in Hotchkiss, Colorado. After supper we celebrated a 48th wedding anniversary and an 89th birthday. The guests were treated to a vineyard tour and then returned to the farm market to browse and taste wine from the West Elks AVA. After a long day, the guests returned to Delta for a much needed evening of rest.
Thanks, NorthWest Iowa Transportation for bringing these wonderful people to the farm.  click to enlarge

Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival
May 17, 2005 – On Friday of this last week a camera crew from KJCT tv came to the North Fork to get shots for a commercial promoting the upcoming Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival to be held on June 25, 2005. This is Eames Peterson’s wine cellar where ages his premium wines. For ticket information, contact Lee at  click to enlarge

105 year old trees 105 year old trees
May 1, 2005 – There is one row of cherry trees on our farm that was planted in 1900. The trees are still very productive and seem to have a crop nearly every year. We will pick about 300 lbs. of cherries from each tree. If you look close at the base of the trees, you will see the graft union where a Bing cherry bud was grafted to Bitter Almond rootstock. Now days we have dwarfing rootstocks that produce much smaller trees and trees that produce much earlier in their lifetime. All these new innovations and still the same Bing cherry. Come and visit the old trees at Orchard Valley Farms this summer.  click to enlarge

Cherry buds waiting for the big event Cherry buds waiting for the big event
April 24, 2005 – This image shows cherry buds waiting for bloom and the background is the bark on the trunk of the cherry tree. At this stage of development the cherries are susceptible to frost, disease and insects. It is hard to imagine that in just 60 days these tiny buds will be 1/2 dollar size cherries ready for some lucky person to sink their teeth into! Watch out for the juice, because it is as dark red as the cherries.  click to enlarge

Almost finished with the tin!!! Almost finished with the tin!!!
April 17, 2005 – We finished pruning cherries and there is a little break in the schedule long enough to finish the wine cave. We started at the top and worked our way down each side. There are 55 sheets of BW decking that needs to be put on. This photo, we have 10 more to go. It took 3 guys to push the tin into place and 2 more to secure the tin with 2” self-tapping screws. If winemaking doesn’t work out, we can use this structure for Paonia’s first Bowling alley!!!  click to enlarge

Snow on the cherry blossoms Snow on the cherry blossoms
April 10, 2005 – Sunday April 10 we woke up to fresh snow on the cherry orchard. The thermometer showed 29.5 degrees and the snow was still coming down. Fortunately, the blossoms are still pretty tight in the cluster and little if any damage occurred. By about noon today, all the snow will be gone and the green grass will be showing once again.  click to enlarge

Two hours after the snow Two hours after the snow
April 10, 2005 – Yes, by 10 am all the snow was gone and the orchard looks normal again. No damage to the buds last night!!!  click to enlarge

2005 Fred Hutchenson Cancer research center patient reunion in Seattle,WA 2005 Fred Hutchenson Cancer research center patient reunion in Seattle,WA
March 29, 2005 – I am a 53 year old fruit grower/winemaker from Paonia, Colorado and had an unrelated bone marrow transplant on October 20, 2000. It was real tough at first, but now we hardly think of those times. My doner, a wonderful man from Washington State was such a good match, that I am not taking any anti-rejection drugs at this time and don't expect to in the future. I farm 80 acres of fruit in the North Fork of the Gunnison river valley including peaches, apples, pears, wine grapes and "soon to be world famous" Paonia Sweet Cherries. Since my transplant, I have started a very successful farm market and winery on the farm. Orchard Valley Farms and Market and Black Bridge Winery have become a favorite location for tourists from around the U.S. The winery will feature 2003 Pinot Noir, our premier vintage, available at our wine tasting room and online at
My beautiful wife and caregiver Kathy still loves me after all I put her through. And the Pete Grose "terror" Ryan is now a freshman and loves basketball, baseball and trapping varments by the river. Thanks FHCRC for allowing me to continue on with my life.  click to enlarge

The tin is going on! The tin is going on!
March 21, 2005 – On Saturday, we welded all the arches together with lengths of steel going down the middle of the structure. We stretched a string from one end to another to make sure they were straight and began welding. Once finished, we put up the first 6 sheets of BW decking and screwed them to the 3" perlines. It was slow getting the 3'x20' sheets into place and holding them while inserting the screws. 6 in place and only 49 more to go!  click to enlarge

Bottling the '03 Pinot Noir Bottling the '03 Pinot Noir
March 5, 2005 – One of the most exciting events in the history of a new winery is the 1st. vintage being bottled. 75 cases of this "Schaack block" 'o3 Pinot noir will be available starting in June 05. It will be available at our tasting room at Orchard Valley Farms, Homestead Market at 101 Grand Ave. in Paonia, Colorado and online at  click to enlarge

Perlines are in place Perlines are in place
March 5, 2005 – 200 of these 3"x10" are in place for the wine cave. All of these timbers have been laid into place without using even one nail, screw or other type of fastener. Each course has been especially cut to width to fit in the correct position. We will need to do some straightening of timbers and then we will tie the entire structure together with 6" channel iron on top of all the arches. Before we begin welding, we will pull from each end to tighten all the timbers into place.  click to enlarge

How Black Bridge Winery got its name How Black Bridge Winery got its name
February 26, 2005 – The "old black bridge" is a land mark in the east end of Delta County and crosses the North Fork of the Gunnison at the drive way of Orchard Valley Farms and Market. So when it came time to name the new winery, "Black Bridge Winery" seemed like an easy choice! This bridge has seen nearly 80 winters with snow like this, but each time I see this sight, I wonder how any of the previous years can be as beautiful as this!  click to enlarge

Organizational Meeting Organizational Meeting
February 20, 2005 – On Friday, February 18, a group of wine makers and grape growers from the West Elks AVA came together to see if there is any interest in starting a marketing association. The name West Elks Wine Country was suggested and seemed to be the best choice. The purpose of the organization is marketing wines, having a unified image for the West Elks AVA, and for the purpose of applying for grant money.

A WEAVA website with links to each wineries tasting room, attractive road signs welcoming tourists to the WEAVA, and possibly a barrel tasting at Thanksgiving are some of the activities suggested. The next meeting is March 3, 6:30pm at the Leroux Creek Inn. Email me for more information.  click to enlarge

More work on the wine cellar.... More work on the wine cellar....
February 15, 2005 – The wine cellar is one step closer to being reality. Saturday we put up 2 more rows of roof purlines (the horizontal 3" beams) It looks like both sides are coming up the same distance each row. These roof supports are extra strong, as they will need to support the earth that will be placed on the sides and on top of the structure.  click to enlarge

One more day's work on the wine cellar One more day's work on the wine cellar
February 4, 2005 – After going to Hotchkiss to the sawmill and getting a load of rough cut beatle kill pine, we got started cutting and placing the perlines inside the I-beams. The third, fourth and fifth rows were easy to put in because the width between the arches had been established by the first two rows. Notice how the vertical columns appear to be bent in the shape of the arch. Two more trips to the sawmill and 4 more rows and the structural part will be finished.  click to enlarge

Black Bridge wine cellar takes form Black Bridge wine cellar takes form
January 26, 2005 – Steel supports recycled from an old, abandoned mine portal now bend to a new purpose - to house the Black Bridge Winery. Mining, ranching and agriculture are our history here in Paonia.

When the building is finished, it will be covered with earth and keep temperatures and humidity at a constant level, like in a cave. Soon we'll be hosting barrel-tastings of our Pinot Noir wine, made from grapes grown in our own vineyards on the farm. These grapes were bursting with flavor at harvest!

We open Memorial Day, come visit our farm market and tasting room, and wander the farm, orchards, vineyards, and picnic by the river.  click to enlarge

2012 Pinot Noir
Another beautiful vintage of Paonia Pinot Noir,.» more