Utah has some beautiful, breathtaking natural settings. And it has some complex wine laws.
I won’t try explaining it in full, because frankly, I still haven’t ciphered it all out.
Just know, if you’re thinking of visiting Utah for its sublime skiing or hiking, and wine is an active part of your life,
it may be worth while to first have a game plan on just how you’ll find quality wine.
For example, you can buy beer (within certain alcohol levels) at a grocery store.
But grocery stores can’t sell wine.
I was able to order a glass of wine in Utah while dining outdoors.
But if you want to purchase bottles of wine, plan to go to a state run liquor store.
There, you’ll find the usual suspects; entry level wines, mainstream California brands, along with a lite selection of New and Old World wines. Frankly, hard alcohol is cheaper, servings-to-dollar wise. Combine that with the selection of seltzers, mixers, and blended drinks, and it’s not difficult to see that unique, regional California wine is not the front runner in Utah. Yet.
My encounter with visiting a state run liquor store in Salt Lake City, Utah felt something akin to being naughty.
The store was in the back of a funky parking lot, facing an auto body shop and empty lot.
Worse, the store name was conveniently hidden from the main road.
Tired, lifeless employees managed to get through the crowds of customers mainly purchasing
hard booze and sweet, mixed alcoholic drinks.
It felt as, “If you really must buy alcohol (especially non-beer) we are going to make this as ugly an experience as necessary.” What a contrast to my wine upbringing in California, where wine can be a warm, joyful, and beautiful
addition to gatherings and conversations.
But hope was stirred for Utah.
When passing through Cedar City, I was surprised to discover Iron Gate Winery (Link.)
There is a wine culture in that state--home to breathtaking Zion National Park--with its own wine trail.
Iron Gate Winery sources their grapes from Utah as well as California, Oregon, and Washington.
Guests can enjoy wine by the glass or flight. They also serve small plates, other beverages, and sell wines by the bottle.
Their Tasting Room offers:
A “White” wine selection including: Riesling, Chardonnay, and Rose’.
“I/G Reds” include: Alicante’, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and red blends.
The “I/G Reserve Collection” offers: a Utah Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.
For our tasting, we chose to sit outdoors.
The sunny skies combined with snow on the ground were a unique setting for the wine. It chilled quickly in my glass,
so contrary to tasting habits, I held the glass between both hands to warm it and bring out the flavors
...and savor wine in Utah.
Cheers to your next sunny tasting!
For another beautiful setting, the Monterey Wine Trade Tasting is just steps from Carmel Beach....
Join me at California Wine