It was 1913 when Dan Williams' grandfather James H. Williams and his wife Bertha bought 40 acres in Cedaredge, already planted in apples. Their son Orval was running packing sheds by the time he had graduated from high school.
More acreage was purchased and was planted.
Today, the Williams families' — Dan and Connie and Ty and Sadie — farm has close to 150 acres of apples, peaches, cherries and now, grapes. This accounts for 100 years of continuous fruit growing by the Williams family in this area.
The Apple Shed Arts Complex and Gallery was primarily Connie's vision. This has been an ongoing, ever-changing project. The latest change includes using part of the space for a tasting room and sale of their latest interests, the first three of their very own wines and a hard cider under the label Williams Cellars.
The deli has been remodeled — with the name changed to match their wine label Willams Cellars — with a small bar area serving their own new hard cider, wines, and other local wines, along with a variety of other drinks.
Connie explains, "About three years ago Lee Bradley of Black Bridge Winery in Paonnia got Dan started on his first Pinot Noir. Dan 'played' with it the first year and decided he'd like to be in the winery business. It took 27 months to get our license.
"In July of this year, we became Williams Cellars Winery. Since then we added Happy Dog Merlot, then Hibiscus Kiss, a Gewürztraminer. It turned out to be very high in an acid flavor, so we tried infusing it with hibiscus. That turned out very well."
Ty has been busy squeezing apples into juice to make hard apple cider and named it Live HappleY. It's been one of those fun things that Ty and Dan got excited about and are having fun with.
"We don't have many of our own vines right now," Connie said. "15,000 grape vines are ordered. We've used grape juice from Black Bridges. Everything produced is grown in Colorado."
Connie has the perfect place at the Apple Shed to showcase the new products. There is a room for wine tasting and purchasing. There is a room in the back where people can watch some of the wine making process.
Inspiration, innovation, new technology and hard work keep the Williamses leading in their field by improving their orchards and productivity.
By next year the Williams family would like to have it so people can sign up to come and squash their own grapes.
"We'll keep it in separate barrels, age it, bottle and ship it so they can have their own wine," Connie said.
"We want to try some apple wine and peach wine or hard peach cider. We don't know yet. We're kind of throwing ideas at the wall and see what sticks. We want to always keep trying new things."