DD Ranch Cellars: Dry Finish

My husband Dene and I fall into the category of gourmet food aficionados. We started raising cattle after moving to our place 40 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado and got our first Galloway Cattle in January of 1999. We now raise registered cattle and have shown them at Denver’s National Western Stock Show and the Northern International Livestock Expo in Billings, Montana. Over the last ten years we have grown both our herd and a homegrown beef business.

We were raising a couple head of cattle each year for beef before moving onto our current farm. Much to our surprise, Galloway Beef is second to none. It has a flavor and tenderness all its own. We recently got the attention of a local restaurant and we are proud to have them serving our beef. If you are north of Denver, be sure to look up Jack’s Corner Café in Firestone, Colorado for a taste.

Thanks to our interest in fine foods, we started journeying into California wine country. Actually, anywhere we travel we look up local vintners (such as Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado and likely more). Somehere along the way we were bitten by the winemaking bug, so in February of 2007 we took the plunge.

Since our ranch already had a name (DD Ranch) and we are making wine in our basement, DD Ranch Cellars was a natural choice for a label. We are currently working with wine kits and trying to expand our winemaking education by volunteering our labor at some local wineries in the Denver area. At Boulder Creek Winery I got to help with a crush of Merlot and at Bonoquisti Winery we bottled, corked, labeled and foiled 56 cases of Chardonnay. Both times we got to work with professional and commercial equipment, which was a good experience.

We consider all of this to be homework for eventually opening our own commercial winery. While we can’t sell our wines, if you come by we will surely let you sample our work!

One challenge is that we find it hard to wait for the wine to age and want to taste it and see how it is coming along. We tend to like dryer wines, so Gewürztraminer is as sweet as we go, and it is allowed to ferment a very long time. We have also made New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel and a Cabernet Franc.

When we’re making wine, we try to do a good job of writing everything down like many articles in WineMaker magazine instruct. Some days we check the pH of different wines that we are just trying to enjoy — true “cork dorks” I guess. We are also repeating kits that we have been very happy with. Thus far, we enjoy it very much and our rule of thumb is, “if we have paid for worse, we are doing OK!”

My husband and I also work full time and try to keep up with our many interests. I am a dental hygienist by day and Dene is a manufacturer’s representative and salesman for dairy processing supplies. It is our long term goal to sell our current farm and move to New Mexico, “retire” and have a true cattle ranch and open a small winery. After all, what goes better with a good steak than a glass of great red wine!

In the meantime, if you are in the area, be sure to come and look us up, or you can visit us online at our Web site: www.theDDRanch.com. The site has a link to the restaurant that serves our beef, more information about our cattle and we are also working on including some information about our winemaking endeavors as a teaser for what is yet to come. We are not a commercial entity and do not sell our wines. But its always fun to dream! You can also e-mail us from there — we would love to hear from you!