Moving from one phase of your life to another is never really easy, and this week, Dixie Burmeister spoke with a man who's just about to do that.
So, how does one go from a career as a top-notch mechanic, to one running cattle, to one becoming a well-known, award-winning winemaker with his own winery?
"I got my a&p license and went to Louisiana and went to work in the... Gulf of Mexico for 10 years, fixing aircraft and helicopters," explained Doug Vogel, winemaker and owner of Reeder Mesa Winery.
After a few years, he was drawn back to the Valley he loved.
"... I wanted to get back to Grand Junction," he explained. "So I came back here and looked at this property and ended up buying it in 1979."
Working and cattle kept him busy for many years.
"... Started out raising cattle and working as a mechanic, fixing cars in my own business," Vogel said.
Then came a "grape" idea, and it was goodbye cattle.
"It seemed at that time that the grape growers were looking. Their wineries were starting to pop up and they were making more wine. So I decided to sell the cows and buy some vines. So that's what I did, I planted Riesling grapes up here in 1994."
An amateur wine-making contest and the rest is... history.
"My first competition that I entered, I got a silver medal," Vogel proudly explained.
As a professional winemaker, the awards kept coming.
"Last year, 2011, they gave out six gold medals in the red category, and I took home five, plus the best of show," he said with a smile.
Doug's life includes growing grapes, making fine wines, and serving visitors and customers from all over.
"I've met people here that were from Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, and they all were so nice. They invited me to come and visit whenever I was there, and a lot of them keep coming back," he said.
Wine tasting with Doug is interesting, tasteful, and educational.
"I've found that the French oak is much better. It smooths the tannins out, makes the wine just more drinkable earlier, so you don't have to have so much aging on the wine," he explained.
But for everything there is a season, and then comes a time to step down.
"It's time to retire," Doug stated. "Sixty-five is a good number to think about it. I'll probably still be making a little wine... but not full-time like I am."
His future after the winery?
"My brother lives in Alaska," said Vogel. "I'm going to be going up there and doing a little fishing and hunting. I have a cabin up at Blue Mesa and a boat, and I haven't been up there in three years because I'm too busy. So, that's what I want to do."
So after all his years of hard work, Doug is about to taste the pleasures of retirement. here's to Doug.
For more information about Doug and his winery, visit www.reedermesawines.com, or call 242-7468.