The owners of Bigsby’s Folly sold their dream home in Denver last year to use the cash to turn a 131-year-old warehouse in the tip of RiNo into an urban winery.
Chad and Marla Yetka are renovating the former home of the manufacturing company J. Geo. Leyner Engineering Works at 3563 Wazee St. for their winery. The Yetkas are hoping to open Bigsby’s in June ahead of the nearby four-story Zeppelin Station office expected to open in the fall.
“This is going to be the wine equivalent of a brewery,” Chad Yetka said. “It’s going to be a full production facility. We want to immerse people in the authenticity, but also have them be able to participate in the entire winemaking process.”
For a fee, the Yetkas plans to work with customers to make their own wines from the crushing, mashing and blending to the bottling and labeling. There will also be an option at the roughly 7,000-square-foot winery to just sit back inside or on one of the two patios, nibble on small plates from the kitchen and try one of Bigsby’s 12 taps — including seven for in-house wines.
Instead of having people go to Napa, Sonoma and Willamette valleys on the West Coast, the Yetkas want to work with growers and vintners there and bring the grapes and bottles to Colorado. The couple also plans work growers on the Western Slope to have wines that are fully Colorado.
Bigsby’s is only about a 20-minute walk — likely shorter should the 38th and Blake streets pedestrian bridge in the area ever open — from the nearby Infinite Monkey Theorem. The Denver-based winery opened in 2008 with the goal of taking the pretension out of winemaking. IMT also gets grapes from the Western Slope but is unique in distributing its wine in cans. Today the company has three locations: its headquarters in RiNo, a spot at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora and a taproom in Austin, Texas.
“We’re actually encouraged by the fact they’re not too far away because we think together we can really appeal to the wine drinking segment that’s growing in Denver,” Chad Yetka said.
Marla Yetka added, “We share with them that casual approach that wine should be for everybody. It shouldn’t be intimidating.”
“Our wine maker’s favorite quote is, ‘Nobody is afraid of beer, I don’t want them to be afraid of wine.'”