When it comes to Western states with excellent wineries, Utah doesn’t usually come to mind. This is because California, Oregon, and Washington garner most of the attention.
However, Utah is home to some excellent wineries with beautiful landscapes. From Moab to Salt Lake City to Layton, Utah boasts some outstanding wineries that produce award-winning wines with locally grown grapes and other fruits.
The following are two of the best wineries to check out when visiting the Beehive State.
Castle Creek Winery
Located 14 miles from Moab on the Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge, Castle Creek Winery features beautiful views of red rock cliffs and white-water rapids on the Colorado River below. Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge first planted its Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah vines in 2006. The area is ideal for growing grapes, with warm temperatures during the day but cooler nights thanks to the elevation of more than 4,000 feet.
In addition to using the grapes grown on-site, Castle Creek Winery sources grapes from local growers. The winery offers a number of award-winning red and white wines. Its Cabernet Sauvignon won the Bronze Medal at both the 2015 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition and the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
Castle Creek Winery’s other reds include its Outlaw Red, Monument Red, and Merlot. The latter took home the Gold Medal at the 2015 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition and the Silver Medal at the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
White wine enthusiasts can try the Petroglyph White, winner of the Bronze Medal at the 2015 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition. The winery’s other white wines include the Chardonnay, the Lily Rose White, and the Chenin Blanc, the latter of which won the Best of Utah award.
Castle Creek Winery bottles and foils it’s wines on-site, with the team bottling up to 2,000 gallons of wine per day. Visitors can sign up for a tour of the facility and even observe the bottling process from the viewing room.
The winery offers daily tastings from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the top floor of the winery, which opens to a large deck with views of the Colorado River. The facility also features a large room consisting of more than 4,000 square feet. Guests can rent the room for special events or private tastings.
The Hive Winery
Located in Layton, The Hive Winery produces excellent non-grape wines. This boutique winery makes fruit wines (meads) and honey wines (melomels). It sources its produce from local farmers in Utah. The result is a diverse selection of natural wines with no artificial colors or flavorings.
The winery’s meads include both sweet and dry wines, with several being dryer than the meads offered by other producers. The Hive Winery’s meads include the Pioneer Red, a black currant wine that is aged in American oak barrels. The winery has also created a dry peach wine at the request of its clientele, and the result is a smooth, light wine with hints of butter and fruit.
The Hive Winery’s sweet wines include the Zion Curtain, a raspberry wine that won the Bronze Medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in both 2012 and 2013. This wine is made from raspberries grown exclusively in Utah and features a ruby red color and an intense, sweet flavor. Those looking for something that combines the flavors of the above wines should try the Raspberry Peach Wine, which won the Bronze Medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
The Hive Winery even makes a Peach Cobbler Wine, which ages with cinnamon sticks for six months. This one-of-a-kind wine won both the Silver Medal Winner at the 2013 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition and the Bronze Medal at the 2014 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition.
The Hive Winery also makes a number of hard ciders, including the Mint Stinger Hard Cider. Infused with mint, this cider won the Silver Medal at the 2017 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Other unique ciders include the 2017 Raspberry Jalapeño Stinger Hard Cider, which is infused with locally grown jalapeños when they are in season.
Further, in 2014, the Hive Winery started a spin-off company, The Hive Brandy Company. The company creates a number of fine spirits in its 25-gallon still. Customers can find a number of excellent small-batch products. These include brandy, eau-da-vie brandy, and liqueurs and other spirits.
Castle Creek Winery and The Hive Winery offer a great introduction to Utah’s unique wine country. Before visiting these wineries, be sure to check out their websites for updates on recent vintages and the latest products. Also, look up the other wineries in the Layton and Moab areas to get the most of your foray into Utah’s beautiful wine country.