Our Story

My Winemaking Story

Steve Flynn, Winemaker

I started making wine in 1984. I was a sophomore at Tupper Lake High School in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Biology class taught me exactly how to produce my own wine, and soon I was fermenting Concord grape wine in my closet.

As the romance of drinking cloudy, bread-yeasty wine quickly faded, I took a break from winemaking for 18 years. I went to college for fine art, studying art history, photography, painting and sculpture.

I then made a living as a cook for some fun restaurants in New York, New Mexico, and Colorado. Eventually, I took a job in 2002 as a cellar hand/sales person at Mountain Spirit Winery in Salida, Colorado. I caught the “wine bug” during my first harvest of Colorado grapes, and, as they say, the rest is history.

I started fermenting everything in sight: dandelions, apricots, honey, chokecherries, grapes, even potatoes! In 2004, I formed a group of local “foot-stompers” to hand-pick and foot-stomp Colorado grapes each harvest as I made wine for the group. We all shared the duties of crushing, pressing, bottling, and labeling the wine as we potlucked our way through the vintages. It was so much fun and became so popular, that, through popular demand for our dry, food-friendly table wines, I founded Vino Salida Wine Cellars in 2009!

Vino Salida still welcomes the community to foot-stomp every autumn equinox to celebrate the harvest season! We also taste our wines with visitors every day in our tasting parlour among the barrels and tanks of aging wine. Our philosophy of making wine accessible through educational and fun tastings has made Vino Salida a great mountain winery destination for those seeking a unique Colorado wine experience. Welcome to the family! 

2009 in the 'old' Vino Salida on West HWY 50

2009 in the 'old' Vino Salida on West HWY 50

connecting to colorado agriculture

2016 was the first year Vino Salida was able to fill our annual production needs with 100% Colorado grapes. Years of visiting vineyards in Palisade and Paonia, communicating with growers year-round and continuing to purchase grapes have paid off. We directly support Bruce, Harry, and Charlie Talbott, Kaibab Sauvage, Dallas Black, Lee & Kathy Bradley, Brann Johnson, Brad & Brooke Webb, Neil & Dee Jacquet, Horst Caspari, Scott & Sherrie Hamilton, and Jamie Johnston. These people are as passionate about Colorado grapes and honey as we are about Vino Salida wine and mead! 

Alfalfa/Clover Honey from the Beekeeper's Honey Boutique

Alfalfa/Clover Honey from the Beekeeper's Honey Boutique

The meadery @ vino salida

At 7000 feet above sea level, grapes do not grow in Salida, so Vino Salida began sourcing grapes from Palisade and Paonia, Colorado. Winemaker, Steve Flynn's desire to craft a truly local product lead him to honey mead production. In 2010, he met Jamie Johnston, a fourth-generation local beekeeper, and started crafting traditional honey mead from her raw, alfalfa/clover honey.

Vino Salida focuses on three distinct styles of traditional mead: Semi-sweet, Sweet, and Oak barrel aged. As these styles have developed, Steve's creativity has led to experiments with other unique styles that are not represented heavily in the Colorado marketplace. These include Hopped Mead, Sparkling Mead, and Vermouth-style Mead (metheglin).

Vino Salida Wine Cellars offers tastes of their meads and wine to travelers and locals in their fun & funky tasting parlour. Surrounded by mead and wine barrels, the space lends itself to an education about our process of mead and wine production. In addition, Steve creates events that focus on tasting different styles of mead and wine including the annual Colorado MeadFest at Vino Salida on July 22, 2017.

Quality collaborations with fortified wines: three styles of Vermouth

Quality collaborations with fortified wines: three styles of Vermouth

Vino Vermouth di salida

Inspired by Italian Vermouth, our Vino Vermouth is crafted by blending: 

1)    Grape Wine

2)    Grape Spirit - Vino Salida wine distilled into clear brandy.

3)    Botanicals – herbs, spices, roots, and flowers.

We source the highest quality Colorado grapes from vineyards in Palisade, Colorado to craft the wine for Vino Vermouth di Salida. The Wood's High Mountain Distillery turned our wine into grape spirit for fortify the wine. With proprietary organic botanicals including Angelica Root, Chamomile, Lavender, Sage, Wormwood, Yarrow and more, the Vermouth makes an excellent cocktail mixer or slow sipper.