How Colorado Became Nationally Recognized For Its Wine

Photo credit: Marc Hoberman, Winelands of Colorado

Wine culture in Colorado has created quite the buzz among the beverage enthusiasts & top media companies. Colorado has been growing grapes and producing wine since 1890, and is now home to more than 150 wineries. The unique “personalities” of the wine, the rise of the number of vineyards and wineries, and the 360-degree views of the breath-taking scenery have all been mentioned by The Today Show, The Wine Enthusiast, Forbes, USA Today, Vogue, The New York Times, and more. Here is how Colorado gained national recognition for its wine.

Colorado’s Climate 

Photo credit: Marc Hoberman, Winelands of Colorado

With over 300 days of sunshine, the high elevation, low humidity, and cool mountain air, Colorado is the perfect environment to grow award-winning grapes. With altitudes ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 feet, Colorado’s vineyards are some of the highest in the Northern Hemisphere. Colorado’s alkaline soils allow for the wine to taste unique and unlike any other region, and create taste bud magic for reds, whites, and everything in between. Vintners in Colorado have a well deserved reputation for producing premium wine that has been recognized both nationally and internationally. With over 150 licensed wineries throughout the state, you are sure to find some that are to your liking!

Colorado Hosts the Top Wine Festival in the Nation

Photo credit: Nathan Billow

If you’re ready to experience the variety of wine from vendors from across the state, Colorado Mountain Winefest is the opportunity you won’t want to miss. Presented by Alpine Bank, Colorado Mountain Winefest was voted the best wine festival in the nation by USA Today and continually gains national and international recognition. Every year the event sells out early with thousands of people attending from 45 states and countries like Germany, China, Canada, Australia, and more. This year’s festival includes over 60 participating Colorado wineries that will be offering dozens of unique flavors. Don’t miss this or other opportunities to try the flavorful wines Colorado has to offer.

One Big Family

Photo credit: Marc Hoberman, Winelands of Colorado

Numerous organizations throughout Colorado such as CAVE (the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology), the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB) and WCHS (the Western Colorado Horticulture Society), work together to help promote and support the state’s winemakers and fruit-based agriculture. These organizations not only provide continued education and networking opportunities, but also allow for crucial crossover between these industries. VinCO, an annual grape growing and winemaking conference hosted by CAVE, brings together top experts in viticulture, enology, and business, and continues to support Colorado’s growing wine industry. Opportunities such as VinCO allow for winemakers and fruit growers to come together and learn from one another, continually innovate, and make improvements.

Palisade, the Small Town That Started It All

Photo credit: Nathan Billow

Winemaking began in Western Colorado over a century ago, and has since grown into a thriving multi-million dollar industry. Of the 13 winning wines from the 2018 Governor’s Cup competition, 8 of them came from wineries in Palisade, CO. This small town located in the Grand Valley AVA offers three conditions that make its wine tasting experiences some of the best you can find in Colorado and in the nation.

First, its scenery. From the Grand Mesa overlooking the valley to the foothills of Mount Garfield gracing the small town with its unique veins, to being surrounded by the Colorado National Monument. Palisade has incredible 360-degree views that wine tasters and growers can’t get enough of.

Second, as mentioned earlier, Colorado’s weather plays a big role in growing superb grapes. The weather in Palisade offers slightly different, better conditions than some of the other vineyards in Colorado. Palisade typically has drier climates which helps to keep pests and diseases to a minimum. The combination of the radiated sun from the Bookcliffs and the nice breeze from the Colorado River create the perfect conditions for different wine flavors. Finally, Palisade ranges from 4,000 to 4,500 feet above sea level, which is slightly lower than other places in Colorado, providing the perfect conditions for wines like Syrah, Viognier, Rhone, and Cabernet Franc. The previously mentioned Grand Valley AVA is also responsible for producing 80% of the grapes cultivated statewide.

Third, the fruit, and especially the peaches! Palisade is not only abundant with grapes, but also juicy peaches and other fruit. These award-winning, and nationally-recognized Palisade peaches are often used to make unique peach wine that tastes oh so good! The fruit doesn’t end with peaches. Palisade and much of Colorado’s Western Slope produces many different types of fruits such as huckleberries, cherries, nectarines, and apricots that allow for numerous fruity wine options.

Cheers to Seeing You in Colorado

The Colorado wine industry is guaranteed to continue to gain popularity with the unique flavors generated from our rich soils, high altitudes, and weather conditions. So what are you waiting for? Come taste for yourself!