As a geologist who grew up on a farm, Bennett Price always felt a closeness to soils and growing crops. His interest in wine began in the early 1970s with business friends who enjoyed home winemaking. His interest naturally expanded to growing grapes.
In 1982 Bennett and his wife Davelyn (Davy) purchased a vineyard in the Palisade area, east of Grand Junction. The vineyard was initially planted by a fruit grower who participated in the Four Corners Project. The project was started in 1974, an effort by the four states Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado (hence the “Four Corners”) to determine whether there were areas in the region which could be successfully planted to alternative crops, such as grapes. The vineyard they purchased had prospered. The Prices doubled the size of the plantings, expanded the Chardonnay block, in-planted the Cabernet Sauvignon acreage and planted the first large block of Merlot vines in the state.
Bennett’s pioneering spirit and innovation didn’t stop there. He installed one of the first commercial micro-jet irrigation systems in western Colorado, and developed a vertical trellis system with multiple wires to train the vines. The vineyard trebled its prior production. Others noticed, and asked Bennett to design and plant vineyards for them.
From the mid-’80s through the mid-’90s he designed and installed or was instrumental in planting many vineyards in western Colorado. He attended viticulture courses at UC Davis in California and over those years made enjoyable friendships with many winemakers in California, Oregon and Washington. He continues to provide consulting services to Western Slope growers and Colorado Wineries and has become a resource to persons exploring the wine, beer and spirit industry.
The Prices licensed and bonded DeBeque Canyon Winery in 1997. Slowly building the volume of wine production, they have gained a reputation for producing full-flavored red and white wines. Many of these wines have won national and regional awards.