HOTCHKISS, Colo. (KKCO) - It’s the first vineyard of its kind not only on the Western Slope, but in Colorado. And it’s not only wine.
"When we put the distillery in in 2005 we also decided that we wanted to make organic spirits," said Lance Hanson, owner and operator of Peak Spirits and Jack Rabbit Hill Biodynamic Farm.
The farm is located in the hills of Hotchkiss, Colorado. It has been certified organic by the USDA since inception, and is now certified biodynamic by Demeter USA.
As more people have been buying food that has been produced by organic methods, alcohol has followed.
"I'd say the demand's gone up probably 25, 30 percent this year alone versus last year," said Rick Rozelle, wine specialist at Fisher’s Liquor Barn.
Certified organic products are cultivated without the use of synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, or genetic engineering. Everything grown at Jack Rabbit Hill is not just organic. It’s biodynamic.
"Biodynamic farming is going to take it one step further. Cause the manure we are using is coming from cows that we grow on the farm. And some of the herbs that we are using are herbs we can harvest here on the farm as well," said Hanson.
Estate wines are produced at Jack Rabbit Hill, earning the designation biodynamic on restaurant wine lists. Which is where most of the wine ends up, stored in kegs as opposed to using resources involved with bottling. Distilled products are designated organic as fruit is used from nearby organic orchards for production. While beer is not brewed on the farm, hops are grown and sold to micro brewers.
"It's really all about flavor. And the flavor profile. The quality of the product. And we believe that because we're using organic ingredients we're getting a higher quality more expressive product," said Hanson.
Jack Rabbit Hill is located at 26567 North Road in Hotchkiss, www.jackrabbithill.com/. To learn more about organic and biodynamic certification, visit www.usda.gov and www.demeter-usa.org.