It may surprise you to know that Utah hosts the Sundance Film Festival and that it has 5 national parks, excellent hiking trails and ski slopes and ancient ruins and artefacts. Relatively new to the wine industry, winemakers in Utah are making wine from grapes grown in the region using popular wine industry techniques such as native and non-native yeast fermentation, oak barrel ageing and carbonic maceration. In total there are 11 Utah wineries, and they all offer something special.
Utah vintners are producing varietals such as Tempranillo, Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec and Carignan, all of which are well suited for the region’s terroir. Merlot grown in Washington County has recently been rated higher than some Napa California producers.
In the area of white wine production, winemakers are successfully producing Chardonnay, Malvasia, Verdejo, Semillion and Muscat. The significant diurnal of the vineyards results in high alcohol white wines giving these varietals a fruity flavour and crispness. Well-known Utah wines are Seyval Blanc, Syrah, Riesling, Merlot, and Gewurztraminer.
IG Winery & Tasting Room
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If you have just visited Zion National Park and you need a place to take a load off and chill, IG Winery and Tasting Room is a wonderful place to stop and enjoy a glass of red or white wine. The grapes used in IG’s wines are sourced from top grape-growing regions such as the Napa Valley and the Sierra Foothills.
IG Winery is located in downtown Cedar City and is just a stone’s throw away from fine restaurants, the Shakespeare Festival, the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), two national parks and a ski resort. IG winemaker, Doug McCombs, who is passionate about his craft, creates smooth and elegant wines. Tasting flights are offered in the winery’s cosy tasting room – a warm and tranquil atmosphere with an inviting fireplace and soothing music. Visitors are also welcome to participate in the winery’s daily tour of its production facility.
While IG Winery is most well-known for its award-winning wines, you can also sample their delectable cocktails made with the finest liquor. A variety of local beers and spirits ensures that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Red wines include:
- Seduction Red Blend: Cherry, Liquorice, Blackberry & Smoke
- Cabernet Sauvignon: Black Cherry, Blackberry & Oak
- Bourbon Seduction: Dark Ripe Fruits, Caramel & Spice
White wines include:
- Riesling: Peach, Citrus & Green Apple
- Allure Chardonnay: Pineapple, Melon & Vanilla
- Whisper Rosé: Strawberry, Blackberry & Watermelon
Opening hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12pm-9pm and Sunday 2pm-8pm.
Spanish Valley Vineyard & Winery
This family-owned vineyard is surrounded by the magnificent beauty of Utah’s red rock canyon and they are particularly proud of their estate wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Spanish Valley Vineyard and Winery specialise in single-vineyard, estate-bottled wines which means that from the growth of the grapes to the fermentation and bottling, everything is carried out on site.
Delicious non-estate and fruity wines are also produced at Spanish Valley. Wine tastings are offered in their intimate tasting room, they host special events and run winery tours. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 12pm-6pm and they are closed on Sunday.
You can stay over at the Spanish Valley Vineyard vacation home which has a lovely patio, an outdoor shower, a hot tub and a pizza oven. The kitchen is well-equipped, spacious and modern so you will enjoy preparing home-cooked meals. The patio has Adirondack chairs, placed around the fire pit and you can sip your wine outdoors while taking in the sublime mountain views.
The Hive Winery and Brandy Company
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The Hive Winery and Brandy Company is a unique artisan winery that specialises in fruit and honey wines. These Utah wines are made with locally sourced ingredients and made in ‘micro batches’ in order to produce many different varieties of wine each year. All of the company’s products can be bought from their store and tasting flights are available for a small fee.
Dry wines include:
- Pioneer Red: Dry finish, black currant wine, aged on oak
- Desert Sunset: Dry Finish, peach wine, aged on oak
- Vintners Select Black Currant Wine: Dry finish, heavily oaked, black currant wine
Fruit wines include:
- Liquid Sunshine: Peach Wine: Semi-sweet wine made with Utah peaches
- Zion Curtain Raspberry Wine: Semi-sweet wine with rich raspberry flavours
- Pioneer Red Black Currant Wine: Dry wine, aged on oak. Robust black currant and rich oak flavours
Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 11.30am-6.30pm, Sundays closed.
Old Town Cellars
With the intention of bringing delightful and affordable Utah wines to the historic Park City, Old Town Cellars offers rosé, red and white wine sourced from the best wine-producing regions in the country. The wine is blended and bottled on-site, and tastings are offered at the bar and lounge on Main Street. You can purchase wine by the glass or bottle and they also offer craft beers and cocktails. Locally made meat and chocolates can be enjoyed with your drinks.
The winery’s intimate and stylish bar and lounge provides a relaxing ambience and they offer a range of snacks such as cheese and charcuterie boards. One of their top-notch wines is Mountain Town Red which has notes of violet, plum and wild berry.
Being passionate outdoor enthusiasts, environmental concerns are a priority for the Old Town Cellars team and practising sustainable farming drives their efforts to bring delicious wine to the inhabitants as well as those who visit the winery. Opening hours are from Sunday-Thursday: 3pm-10pm and
Friday – Saturday: 3pm-11pm.
The Diversity and Variety of Utah
Anybody visiting Utah will be amazed at the diversity of natural landscapes. From the towering red rock formations to lofty canyons which glisten with clear icy water, Utah offers world-class hiking in the summer and skiing, bobsledding or snowshoeing in the winter. In a humorous play on words, Utah’s tourist board refers to it as ‘The Greatest Snow on Earth’ – in the winter months, the snow is soft and powdery and is perfect for skiing.
Referred to as the ‘Mighty Five’, Utah has no less than 5 national parks and each one is unique. You can visit Bryce Canyon to see bright red hoodoos, or Zion to see an amazing assortment of biodiversity. For an experience of Utah wine tasting with a difference, you can enrol in the Fox School of Wine where you will be offered short, fact-filled classes with 5 tastes of wine. This enjoyable experience is headed by Kirsten Henry Fox who is a Certified Executive Sommelier.
While Utah may not be home to an abundance of vineyards, the handful of wineries are certainly worth visiting and with the breathtaking surrounding landscape, you can relax, soak up the ambience and enjoy a crisp white or a full-bodied red.