MONUMENT — Catherine and Woody Woodworth have reinvented themselves on several occasions. Their passions, however, remain unchanged.
The proprietors of Catriona Cellars, a new winery and café opening this weekend in downtown Monument, are bringing their love for carefully crafted wine and small plates of good food to an area that could one day be a destination for wine lovers across the country, Woody Woodworth said.
“We’d like to see three or four wineries in the area where people can enjoy places other than just ours,” he said. “They can go from one to another to another, similar to a small Sonoma. We already have breweries dotted all over the place. Why can’t we do that with wineries?”
The Woodworths purchased a small business in Monument called High Country Feed and Tack in 1996. Woody said he and his wife enjoyed gardening and changed the name of the business and its model to reflect that. High Country Feed and Garden saw much success for nearly two decades, but Woodworth’s admitted love has always been wine.
“My passion for wine has been very strong for a couple decades,” he said.
In 2000, he began selling winemaking kits and teaching area residents how to craft their own libations.
“We’ve been bringing in grapes by the ton for many years,” he said.
Woodworth said it’s been within the past three years that he and his wife have seriously discussed opening the winery. The establishment at 243 Washington St. in Monument occupies two buildings — the winery separated from the restaurant and kitchen by a pergola-topped patio.
The café portion will seat 36 patrons inside with patio seating for up to 56.
The kitchen is new, as is the chef hired to run it. Patricia McClelland’s résumé includes co-owning Bella Panini in Palmer Lake, as well as culinary experience at Cheyenne Mountain Resort and working as chef for television personality Charo at her restaurant in Kauai, Hawaii.
McClelland’s food philosophy is fresh, farm-to-table ingredients utilizing local providers whenever possible. Offerings include Colorado cheeses and charcuterie, onion soup Provençale, seared tuna salad Niçoise, lamb sliders with tzatziki sauce and sweets baked in-house, including her flight of butter cookies and tiramisu.
McClelland is also beginning an on-site garden.
According to Karen Stuth, Catriona Cellars’ marketing director, wine is one of the fastest growing industries in the state, and the winery in Monument will be original to northern El Paso County.
“The kind of marketing we have planned is intended to use this winery as a destination to bring people from all over who want to visit our region,” Stuth said. “We’re looking much bigger than Denver, Castle Rock and Pueblo,” she said.
Woodworth said that means producing a product that can’t be found anywhere else.
“The whole idea here is to be a blending house,” he said. “We take many varietals and mix them together to form some well-crafted wines. The blending process is fun and exciting and it’s very scientific and very strategic.”
Woodworth said he and his wife have developed relationships with California wine-growers, and his current batches are blends of 2012 Lodi grapes with 2011 grapes from the Sierra Foothills. The wines, therefore, are California grown, but he plans on utilizing Colorado grapes from the Western Slope in the near future.
His wines have won silver and bronze medals at the International Amateur Winemakers Competition.
Woodworth said while Monument has long struggled to find an identity for its downtown, things are improving.
“I’m not sure eateries will follow what we’re trying to do, but from a building [aesthetics] aspect, buildings will look a little sharper,” he said. “It takes money to develop sidewalks, streetlights and pedestrian walkways; the sorts of things that make a downtown attractive. The arts follow along with that and the arts are strong in this community.”
Woodworth, an active member of the Historic Monument Merchants Association, said the Town of Monument is making major improvements to the downtown district, including the main corridors of Front, Washington, Jefferson, Second and Third streets.
Sidewalk improvements, signage and streetlights are in the works over the next several years, he said.
Woodworth said Catriona Cellars will be very involved with Monument’s arts scene, including displaying local artists’ works for sale, as well as providing a stopping point during the town’s monthly art hop every third Thursday, May through September.
He said the establishment is able to operate up to five tasting rooms around the state, which will act as satellites for the winery, allowing the business to spread the availability of its craft beyond Monument’s borders. The intent during the café and winery’s infancy, however, is offering an inviting place for patrons from near and far from the beginning.
“What we’re trying to provide here is a very relaxing social environment,” he said. “We have a beautiful setting, we have great products, great food and we’re going to crank it out that way.
“It will be exciting once the doors open.”