One family has sought to bring the down the barrier to wine by making it as accessible (and delicious) as possible. To meet this objective, the Coady’s (Bob and Cordy) and the Ashley’s (the Coady’s daughter, Kristi, and her husband Eddie) opened up the Wine Barrel, a charming and cozy winery off of 20 Mile Road in Parker.
“One of our goals was to make wine more fun,” Cordy says through her smiley face mask. “People are intimidated by wine, and they shouldn’t be. You have enough of those wine snobs out there who ruin it for people who just want to come in and try something new.”
The Wine Barrel is family friendly. Toys are stowed away in the corner and movies frequently play to entertain kids. The interior door where the wine is made is splattered with coloring pages full of scribbled crayon markings.
“Usually, you have to plan a date night and schedule a babysitter to drink a glass of wine,” Kristi says. “It’s not like that with breweries— you can take however many dogs and kids you have to drink a beer. Why does wine have to be this fancy event?”
The Wine Barrel makes all of their wine on-site. Any guest is welcome to take a guided tour of the backroom to see where the magic happens. Small batches allow The Wine Barrel to completely customize their selection based on what their customers' preferences, and it makes it easier to maintain high-quality control. They sell by the glass or the bottle and do tastings every day of the week (when COVID allows).
The family likes to joke that winemaking was a hobby that got out of control. It began to take up so much of Cordy and Kristi’s time that their husbands bought them winemaking equipment for Christmas— and, shortly after, the men were along for the ride, too. The hobby was taking up all of their weekends, and they were loving it.
“They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life… so, we jumped in,” Kristi says.
Though their goal is to diminish the arrogant stigma wineries often convey, it doesn’t mean that they sacrifice the art of wine. To them, wine is an art form because of all the creative ways you can manipulate a grape to get a myriad of different results. They’ve played around with the elements and can now identify exactly what a batch is missing or what a particular customer would enjoy based on just a few bits of information.
Cordy does all of the bottling, which is another art form in and of itself. Picking out what color foils and designs match the essence of the wine is her specialty. Bottles are stashed throughout the winery, arranged in a rainbow of color-coordinated sections. The most unique things about the packaging, though, are the names. Each wine is named after a different street name in Parker. One story in particular exemplifies The Wine Barrel's commitment to their local community.
One night, a fun group of ladies came in who lived in the Clarke Farms neighborhood. After drinking several bottles of Fortitude, a red blend, they noticed all that street names on the packaging and demanded to know why there wasn’t a Clarke Farms.
“They were not going to accept this,” Kristi says. “They asked us for a permanent marker and wrote “Clarke Farms” above Fortitude on every bottle they purchased. They told us that if we made more of this blend, we would have to rename it. So, we did.”
These women became members of The Wine Barrel’s booming VIP Club, which includes two custom glasses with etched nicknames, 1/2 price glasses of wine, two special reserve bottles per quarter, and more. VIP wine glasses hang from the ceiling at the bar so that they're easily accessible when members come through the door. Though the Wine Barrel is a smaller winery, they have space for every type of person.
“When we moved to Parker, my husband and I looked for a place we could call ours,” Cordy says. “after several failed attempts, we ended up becoming that place ourselves.”