From cowboys to ex-military, from snowboarding instructors to world travelers, Sutcliffe Vineyards is comprised of brilliant individuals with unique talents and unbridled passion for wine.
When meeting someone who has lived a number of lives, it is tempting to assume that it must have been constantly exciting. But a litany of adventures is more often evidence of a restless soul, afraid of permanence, less driven by the promise of the next adventure than a tiredness with the current one. That is how John describes himself. He is settled now and to us his remorseless optimism makes all of this possible. Soldier, cowboy, restaurateur, polo player and now vineyard owner, lives that others might dream of, but just think of him as great company at this beautiful vineyard.
Joe is the man in charge of everything Wine Making, and we are so glad he chose Colorado over his old stomping ground California…… the wine scene here is far cooler since he’s been around. One of his remarkable skills, we think of it as superpower, is to envision how the wine will be at every stage of its’ development; six months, a year, 5 years…. 20 if people will hold the wines that long. His palate was schooled from an early age in his father’s cellar, replete with legendary wines from Europe and California. He has been the force behind Sutcliffe Vineyards since 2008 and his talent has garnered three 90 point ratings from Wine Enthusiast.
farm and vineyard manager
Jesús has run at Battlerock Ranch for almost 20 years, years before the Vines were planted. He and John ran cattle then and cut hay before planting the first 2 acres of Vines in 1995. Born in Chihuahua he began working in the Wyoming oil fields before his 16th birthday. In 1990 he gained his US citizenship and settled with his family here in McElmo Canyon. He is involved in every part of the wine-making process and has his own vineyard of Merlot and Chardonnay, directly to the east of his home. It produces the best grapes we harvest. The way a mine has a canary, our vineyard has Jesus with his uncanny nose for any incipient flaws….. his palette is extraordinary and his opinions are never ignored. Mechanic, plumber, electrician, gardener, farmer, cowboy and wine maker, might be a concise way of describing Jesus’ irreplaceable role in the Vineyard.
Lulu is the social heart of the Tasting Room and Wine Society. Her legendary ability with people and endless connections, not only in her long time home of Telluride, but across the breadth of the Nation make her the Vineyard’s great ambassador and marketing whizz. She joined the Vineyard in 2013, after providing similar energy and support in the political world, In her own words “I fell in love with the idyllic Vineyard and people, and admired the authenticity of this working farm and vineyard in McElmo Canyon. I experience great joy in being able to help gather people together to enjoy, savor and experience this vibrant, abundant place called Sutcliffe Vineyards.”
Shawna is the nerve-center-backbone of Sutcliffe Vineyards and its firmest disciplinarian. We couldn’t do much without her. If you want to have your pants charmed off, go see John, but if you want to know exactly what’s up, ask Shawna. She’s been with us since 2015. We can’t really remember life before that. You’ll find her in the tasting room, and the helm of your Wine Society shipment, and generally making sure things run smoothly. As a local of the Southwest, she also has the best recommendations for sights to see, restaurants to visit, back roads you can take. She’s the youngest of 13, competitive weight-lifter, and a forever student. Regarding wine, she says: “I didn’t like wine before working at Sutcliffe. So I’m biased and tend to compare all wine to us. I’ve found that I love red blends, Down Canyon is my fave, my go-to wine is Chardonnay.”
wine society coordinator
Brandy is the newest addition to the team but we already can’t live without her. Her mix of elegant reserve and natural charm ensures that she really takes care of the Tasting Room’s visitors and she is fastidious about the orders and shipping for the Wine Society. She is an Air Force Veteran, an athlete, and before wine, she was in the nursing field. She says: “My curiosity of wine first turned into a fondness of wine, after I first visited Sutcliffe Vineyards. I had never in my life experienced so many different flavors on my palate all at once!” She is also a font of knowledge about her people and their history which so deeply enriches our beautiful corner of the world.
It is little wonder that someone with a genuine infatuation with French Culture would become a definitive Wine Geek. The exquisite French Language; the intense and brilliant film making of the Nouveau Vague: “Au Revoir les enfants”, “Jules et Jim”, a passion for cooking and a love affair with redolent cheeses led Drea to a degree in French and quite naturally an infatuation with wines. She began her recent wine education at Eno in Durango and she was soon recognized for her fascination with wines and her very adventurous palate. At the vineyard her she is embedded in every element of the business from the vineyard, the harvest, the crush, the finishing and blending of the wine to the sales and marketing. She is celebrated around the farm for her ridiculously obscure and creative tasting notes. They are, however, adopted by everyone, which indicates how brilliant and accurate they are.