Winery in the heart of Castle Pines Village
The life experience and passion of two friends has come together to create world-class, award-winning red wines – right here in our own backyard. Ruby Trust Celalrs is a Castle Pines Village-based company making wine locally with the help of family and friends.
By Amy Shanahan with photos courtesy of JimmysPhoto.com
Hidden in the obscure rear side of the shops of the Village at Castle Pines, is a full-fledged winery that is producing award-winning red wines in the state of Colorado. Ruby Trust Cellars, named for a mine near Ouray, Colorado, was founded in 2009 by friends Ray Bruening and Braden Dodds.
Bruening, a former trader on the New York Stock Exchange, met Dodds shortly after moving to Colorado and settling in Castle Pines Village with his family. Dodds, a Colorado native, studied wine and viticulture in San Luis Obispo, California. He has lived around the world, working in wineries and producing wines under his own private labels before returning to Colorado.
Business partners Ray Bruening (left) and Braden Dodds (right) stand proud in the production hub of Ruby Trust Cellars
Bruening and Dodds’ common interest in wine led them to create Ruby Trust Cellars. “We first talked about making one barrel of wine for friends and family,” remarked Bruening. “But the more we looked into it, the more potential we saw.”
Ruby Trust Cellars is truly a family run operation. Bruening and Dodds utilize the aid of their families and friends during several key steps of the wine making process. The “crush” and the bottling are done in the small space in the Village shops, where wine barrels line the walls and are stacked from floor to ceiling. The bottling, corking, labeling and packaging are all completed at the hands of family members and friends.
The winery sources all of its grapes locally from Cortez and Palisade, Colorado, to create a series of bold red blends. Dodds, the winemaker, works closely with each grape grower to ensure top quality fruit, and his knowledge and expertise throughout the process of creating the wines is invaluable.
Each year, following the “crush” which normally occurs in September or October, the wines age independently for a year in new and used French, American, and Hungarian oak barrels. At that point, Dodds creates a number of blending trials. Numerous taste tests and re-blends eventually lead to the final blends, which age for yet another year in barrel. The blends will yield one to five wines after the full two years of aging.
Bruening and Dodds have created fanciful, Colorado themed names for each of their wines, which correlate with the lead grape in the blend. The Syrah based blend is termed “Gunslinger”, the Cabernet Franc is “Smuggler”, the Petit Verdot is “Fortune Seeker”, and the Rose is called “Detonation Rose”. Dodds thoroughly enjoys the experimental process of creating these wines. “The Colorado wine industry is so new compared to the other renowned wine regions of the world,” he remarked. “To be a part of discovering what works best in Colorado from the grape variety to the fermentation style to the barrel program is a very unique and intriguing experience.”
This past May, Ruby Trust Cellars participated in the Drink Local Wine conference in Denver. Their 2009 “Smuggler” was voted “Best Red Wine” by a group of 200 media and consumers. “We’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the response our wines have received. The goal from the beginning has been to make high quality wines, to always put the wine first,” stated Bruening.
Due to the small size of the winery, Ruby Trust Cellars produces only a limited number of cases of each wine per year. Bruening and Dodds hold a Release Party each year where they sell their wine to the public. The remainder of the wine is then sold to distribution and may be found at local wine shops like Village Wines, and high-end restaurants throughout Colorado.
Our readers are invited to attend the upcoming Release Party on Saturday September 29th from noon until 5 p.m. to obtain bottles of the 2010 “Smuggler” and “Gunslinger”. Ruby Trust Cellars is located off of Happy Canyon Road in the Village Shops of Castle Pines. To locate the winery, walk around to the back of the easternmost building, across the walkway from the Grill in the Pines. For more information or to join the winery’s mailing list, go to www.RubyTrustCellars.com.