We had the good fortune of connecting with Aly & Richard McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aly & Richard, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Aly: I come from a family of farmers and entrepreneurs, so the idea of owning my own business has always been in me. When I discovered my passion for wine, and began my journey in winemaking and hospitality in Napa, California, where every day I tried to learn as much as I could, because ultimately I knew one day I wanted to start my own wine business.
Having grown up surrounded by family who owned vineyards in Australia and traveling the world making wine for the past 15 years, the dream of using the skills I had learned to create my own wine, where I have complete control, has been in my mind for a while. In the autumn of 2019 a number of opportunities lined up, and my wife and I decided to take the leap.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Aly & Richard: We set out to create wines that truly reflect where they are from. Telling the history and the stories of the land and people.
Our wines are not about us, as we are just the current caretakers. This can be seen as each of our wines has its own personality and story, reflective of where the grapes are grown.
We set out to recreate the Colorado wine experience. In our tasting room we showcase exceptional 100% Colorado wines which truly express where they are from, and style of their winemaker, all while soaking up the panoramic views of the Bookcliffs in Palisade, CO.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Palisade is the perfect getaway from Denver. Stay at the Spoke and Vine Motel.
From there you can go on a guided wine tour with either Mark and the Palisade Pedicab, or Dave and Pali-Tours.
They are many outdoor adventures, from floating the Colorado River, hiking the Colorado National Monument and Palisade Rim Trail, biking the Fruit and Wine byway and if you are into Mountain biking Palisade is the perfect hub for many trails in Fruita, and Grand Junction, along with the Palisade Plunge opening this summer.
For culinary majic, both Peche and Palisade Cafe and Wine bar both feature local produce. If a burger is more your style Palisade brewery is the place to be.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Aly: My shout is to Seth and Justine Witherspoon, founders of Sugarbeet in Longmont, CO and current owners of Spark Provisions in Buena Vista, CO. While working for them, they took us on a company trip to Napa wine country, which really kick started my dream. They also allowed me to take time off to work harvest in both California and New Zealand and have just continued their support throughout my journey.
Also a shout to my parents and family for their continuous support through the roller coaster ride of owning your own business.
My shout out is to winemaking mentors Jen Beloz, David Jelinek (from The Prisoner Wine Company and Faust) and Sara Fowler (Peju Winery), who all really honed my focus on looking at wine not from a series of little separate pieces, but as a whole system, where quality and attention to the smaller details along with you philosophy in what you are trying to achieve, all add up to the end product. Also a big shoutout to my parents and family, who have done nothing but support me out my winemaking journey.
CVC Three Wine Bottle Shot – Chris Lang All the rest – Colorado Vintner’s Collective