Starting a winery is not a small feat and starting a winery in the Northern mountains of Colorado seems like a heroic feat. Penney Adams had a vision and is building a unique brand very far from where the grapes she vinifies are grown. Some days I am sure that she questions her decision as one would wading through all the red tape that comes with starting a winery. Besides building regulations there are liquor laws to comply with and these can be very complicated. Penney is still building the actual winery but she has already produced many wines for her label. Her sons and husband are part of the team and the boys pitch in wherever they are needed.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

QWhat is your business and role?

AI am the owner and creator of Steamboat Winery, LLC. 

QWhat was your path in starting this business?

AMy passion has been wine most of my adult life. I graduated with a Masters Degree in Business and managed insurance claim offices before I bought a retail wine shop in the Carolinas (way more fun)!  When we moved to Steamboat, I thought about opening a retail store but felt like the retail wine market was well covered here. I began thinking about unique opportunities and creating a winery came to mind. I quickly learned our growing season is too short and the winters are too cold to grow grapes. I reached out to some contacts in California and hired a consultant to assist me in finding quality grapes for our wines. A year and a half later, we bottled our first vintage.

QHow does being a woman influence your business?

AHonestly, I don’t think much about being a woman. My father always told me I could do anything I wanted to and I always believed him.  I think ‘believing’ is the key to anything; it can’t happen otherwise. What strongly influences my business is my love of wine, marketing and Steamboat. For ‘branding purposes’ I probably should have labeled all bottles the same, but I love creating labels inspired by the beauty of our surroundings, so I made each label unique, despite the cost, and people tell me constantly, “I love your labels”! I also hear often, “I follow you on Instagram and love what you post”! I follow most of my followers because I really love this community and I want to connect. I am genuinely interested in what is happening in the lives of people around me. I am also passionate about wine – the growing, the making, and the tasting. To me, drinking wine is about enhancing your meal and connecting with others.

QWhat has been the most challenging aspect to getting your Winery started?

AThe most challenging aspect of starting the winery has been the ‘red tape’. The permitting from the federal government, the state, the city, the county, etc. is not an easy process to navigate, particularly with a government shut down. I am still struggling and find myself having to ‘back up’ and rethink the plan. I had hoped to have a tasting room on our property by now but it appears it will now be Spring due to the ‘red tape’. I know a great winery venue in Steamboat will be worth it in the end!

QHow are you overcoming the perception of wine being made out of traditional wine making areas?

AI think the concept of the “Urban Winery’ is becoming not just acceptable, but popular. I would love to have a vineyard, but it is also nice not to be tied to a particular piece of land. I have the flexibility to buy grapes or juice from the people and places I think do it best. I did have a moment when my wine was finally available for purchase and I thought to myself, “ok, I have over 1000 followers on Instagram, if everyone buys just one bottle…” and not one sale. I realized, wine is something that people want to taste before they purchase, particularly in an area of non-traditional wine making. That’s ok. It’s just taking me a little longer to build a loyal customer base.

QAre you using any fruit from CO or any unique varietals?

ASo far, I have only used grapes from California.  However, I have committed to buying some Colorado Merlot grapes this year to produce a ‘Rodeo Merlot’ in the future. As far as unique wines, the one thing non-mainstream we have produced is Barbera, an Italian varietal, which we sold out of.  Once people tried it, they scooped it up!

QWhat is your favorite drink?

AMy favorite drink? Wine (naturally), particularly Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, and Silver Patron with a spoonful of limeade. Cheers!

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