What do you think of when you think of Utah? Mormons? Bryce Canyon? Salt Lake? Or all of the above?
For years, I’d seen photographs taken in Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah. For years, I’d wanted to go there.
So I did. And it was spectacular. And while there, I visited Dead Horse Point where I saw an incredible sunset and, on another day, took a ‘sunset cruise’ on the Colorado River into Canyonlands National Park.
When we returned from the quite wonderful boat trip, my fellow passengers and I joined masses of tourists for a mass-produced (but quite edible) meal. Standing in line for my dinner, I noticed a sign on the wall behind the bar advertising “Polygamy Porter” – “One is never enough.”
Then, on my last evening in Moab, I dined in the Cowboy Grill at the Red Cliffs Lodge. The lodge encompasses Castle Creek Winery and the supplemental pages on the dinner menu recounted its story.
In the late 1970s, those working to develop the Four Corners area worked with the University of Arizona to see if wine grapes might grow in the region. It turned out that conditions were perfect, similar to those of the eastern Mediterranean, and in the early 80s, several small farmers planted some vines. Their first crop was harvested in 1986 but had to be sold in Grand Junction, Colorado.
It turned out that vineyards were illegal in Utah.
Fervent (not fermented) efforts made wineries legal in the state in 1988 and the Moab winery was established in 1989.
The merlot was not bad at all (although someone said the white wines were better).
I’ll drink to that. And to Utah – in all its aspects.
Friday, June 28, 2013
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