Bigsby's Folly Introduces Denver to the Wine Cottle

Three drinks or drinks for three
by Carrie Dow on Oct 29, 2019 in Wine for Bigsby's Folly

Chad and Marla Yetka founded Bigsby’s Folly Urban Winery in 2015 because they wanted to create and serve world-class wines in a casual setting to their friends and family in Denver. Named for the couple’s beloved golden retriever, Bigsby’s uses only the best grapes from California and Colorado to make distintive reds, whites, and rosés to serve and sell in their comfortable RiNo tasting room located inside the historic J. George Leyner Engineering Works plant built in 1886. Chad makes custom in-house wines while 24-year winemaking vet Brian Graham produces the other varieties in California. Marla runs the tasting room. Together they and several other urban wineries have created a wine boom in Denver and we get to taste the delicious results.

Chad sums up their philosophy of wine this way, “It’s New World grapes with Old World appeal. Nice structure, balance, complexity, nothing out of whack. That’s what we strive for in our wines.”

However, Chad and Marla have taken Colorado’s wine drinking to a higher level of portability with their latest project, the cottle.

What the heck is a cottle? It is an aluminum can shaped like a wine bottle based loosely on the same can with a screw-top lid that you may have seen used by a nationally popular beer chain (cough, Bud Light Platinum, cough). Marla saw the big blue containers in a store and thought they would make a wonderful vessel to hold wine. She notes it even looks like mini-wine bottle. However, turning that idea into what we drink from today wasn’t easy.

“We didn’t know getting into this that it would be this difficult,” she laughs. “There’s so much technically going on. With beverages it’s all about the lining (inside the can) so they can make anything, but it’s the lining that protects the product inside. The additional challenge was getting the wine right and the branding right because it has to pop out on the shelf.”

Then there was the additional challenge of convincing a California wine bottling facility to accept their cottles on their bottling line.

“Napa is very traditional. They’ve been doing the same things in Napa that they’ve been doing for fifty years,” says Marla. “Trying to find a bottling line that would agree to take on the product, they’d never seen anything like this!”

Marla says took almost a year from idea to finished product and Bigsby’s now has three different wines available on site and in stores all in their unique cottle.

While canned wines have been around for a while, especially in Colorado, the cottle is something a little different. It holds 500mL of wine, enough for three glasses. The idea behind that says Chad is by having more than one glass inside the container, you can share it with friends or, if at an event or venue, avoid standing in the beverage line for every single pour. Don’t want all three glasses at once, just put the lid back on and save for later.

Bigby’s currently has three wines in the cottle, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rosé of Grenache. The Granache and the Blanc retail for $14.99 and the Cab retails for $16.99 and all are available at the winery or at Argonaut liquor store. You will also find Bigsby’s Folly’s cottles at various music venues around town. Cheers to that!

Photo by Marla Yetka/Bigsby’s Folly


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