Founder Tom Lane:
In the 1950's Julia Child moved to France with her diplomat husband. Early on they had lunch at a small Parisian restaurant. She ordered Sole Meunier, expecting little. Wrong. Epiphany. The profound but simple dish overwhelmed her. She was smitten. It led directly to a fascination with French food culture and that passion led to her unique career.
I went into exile in 1968, deeply affected by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. I landed in Paris as well and had my own restaurant epiphany at Aux Lyonnais, the Temple of Classic Burgundian Cuisine, where I was shocked by the Boeuf Bourguignon. I was based in Paris for near two years. In that preinflation epoch, one could dine daily without harming one's bank account. I became an enthusiast for well-priced regional wines.
One could say Canon de Colorado had its birth with my first trip to the Cote d'Or, tasting everyone's Bourgogne Rouges. I wasn't thinking of the business of wine but the seeds of food and wine had been planted. After several years back in Colorado, I left academia and entered the Colorado wine distributor network. In 1977 I joined Best Brands as their only wine salesperson. Within a year they had created a moutain territory of Aspen, Vail, and Steamboat Springs for me and I focused on French wines from Dreyfus-Ashby, Bercut-Vandervoort and Schenly.
After two and a half years, I returned to Denver and became the Wine Manager at Best Brands, which then was bought by National Republic. I worked as National's wine manager for almost 10 years. That job was followed by 2 years at the North American Wine Co. I concluded my distributor career, after 4.5 years as co-Sales Manager of Pinnacle Dist.
During those two decades I met many national figures in the wine importation business. It wasn't a question of whether I could find good sources or not. It more was which good suppliers fit Colorado and me best. I chose Bedford for Italian wine. For French wines, I chose Barriere for Bordeaux (a smashing success it turned out to be). Secondly, I chose Cavalier Selections, in order to sell Faiveley (Henry Cavalier had to close his business after 3 years together). Thirdly, I chose Pivotal, based in LA and in Champagne. Pivotal most fit my criteria for where I wanted to take Canon: that is, hand-picked domaines with rational ownerships and rational pricing. I love those value based wines. The base of Canon de Colorado in the early years were Pivotal properties. Pivotal ran into financial problems and went out of business. We had always brought in estates separate from Pivotal, but with its demise, a number of estates moved directly to Canon.
Ryan Locke bought Canon de Colorado from me on May 31, 2018. He continues to work with many of the properties that Canon was built on and is always looking for high-quality wines from regions that best represent wine from France and Italy.