Three years ago, Timothy Biolchini brought 4,000 pounds of certified-organic California grapes into his Black Forest home. It was the debut of Sette Dolori Winery, which means “seven sorrows.”
He started out just selling at the Colorado Farm and Art Market location at the Margarita at Pine Creek. Select liquor stores followed, like Vintages Wine & Spirits downtown or The Wine Seller in Monument, and this year the boutique winery crushed 7,000 pounds of grapes, translating to roughly 2,700 bottles. Its 2014 Merlot also scored 89 points and a silver medal at the 2015 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition.
“We do a very natural approach; that’s why we’re using certified-organic grapes,” Biolchini says in an interview with the Report. “We don’t use any sulfites in the process — no chemicals. And when we say it’s a Cabernet, it’s 100 percent Cabernet grapes, nothing added. We’re not chemists over here, trying to make it taste perfect year after year: It’s going to have variations.”
“Well, the sulfites, in my opinion, aren’t needed,” he says. “They use them for consistency, year-to-year, and to get it bottled faster. People think it’s [a] preservative and the wine won’t last if you don’t have sulfites, but that’s not true: They only started using sulfites 50, 60 years ago. And the oak is what actually preserves the wine. And if you use a real clean procedure, like I’m doing, then there’s no need for the sulfites.”
With all that in mind, and with this year’s batch currently fermenting in the basement, Biolchini is throwing wide the doors for an After the Crush Open House (9750 Millard Way) from noon to 3 p.m. on Halloween Saturday.
The Margarita has “been really supportive of us — they love our wine,” he says, and will provide appetizers and a dessert to pair with a glass of Sette Dolori for $25. Tastings of freshly pressed wine will also be poured, offering flavors at one-, two-, three-weeks old and the like.
Thirty tickets are available, with roughly a third sold already. “It’s on Halloween, so people aren’t doing much right in the afternoon,” Biolchini says. “So we thought it’d be a perfect day to do that.”
You can also experience the grapes from 2 to 6 p.m. at weekly Saturday tastings. $10 gets you four pours and can be put towards the cost of a bottle — one with some unique drink in it.
“There’s some other wineries [ in Colorado Springs],” he says, “but I may be the only one in Colorado doing organic with no sulfites.”
[Image: Courtesy Sette Dolori Winery]