By Tia Bogeljic | Contributing Writer


Colorado’s wine industry is making its mark and the 2015 Governor’s Cup Wine Competition recognized some of the outstanding wines coming from our own soil. On Wednesday, June 17, the winners and their superior wines came together to showcase their talent in the 2015 Governor’s Cup Case, an event orchestrated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and endorsed by Governor John Hickenlooper. The event revealed the 16 top scoring wines, chosen from 241 entries from 37 local wineries.

“I think the wines this year show great balance and wonderful winemaking skills,” said judge and notable winemaker, Warren Winiarski.

This could explain why this year’s judges couldn’t choose just one Best in Show winner. The two winning Syrah varietals are Turquoise Mesa Winery‘s 2013 Syrah and Canyon Wind Cellars‘ 2013 Anemoi “Lips” Syrah. Syrah is a red grape variety from the Rhone region of France.

“Syrah often excels in Colorado as a varietal wine and also makes a wonderful component in blended wines,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, a branch of the Colorado Department of Agriculture.


When you think of Colorado, the word “beer” comes to mind, but Colorado’s burgeoning wine industry is becoming more and more noteworthy. Colorado has around 120 grape growers, mostly nestled on the Western Slope. Despite our shorter grow periods, Colorado’s dry air and warm valleys are ideal for growing grapes.

The majority of the winning wineries incorporated at least 75-percent Colorado fruit in their products; most of them chose to use 100-percent Colorado produce.

The top 12 scoring grape wines include: Bonacquisti Wine Company’s (Denver) 2013 American Malbec, Bookcliff Vineyards’ (Boulder) 2014 Viognier, Bookcliff Vineyards’ 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve, Boulder Creek Winery’s (Boulder) 2012 Syrah, Canyon Wind Cellars’ (Palisade) 2013 Petit Verdot, Creekside Cellars’ (Evergreen) 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Creekside Cellars’ 2012 Petit Verdot, Guy Drew Vineyards’ (Cortez) 2012 Sweet Riesling, Turquoise Mesa Winery’s (Broomfield) 2013 Syrah, Whitewater Hill Vineyards’ (Grand Junction) 2014 Sweetheart Red, and the two Best in Show wines, Turquoise Mesa Winery’s 2013 Syrah and Canyon Wind Cellars’ 2013 Anemoi “Lips” Syrah.

A poster on a table with food and wine

This year’s Governor’s Cup introduced a new “Niche” category for cider, mead, and all “other than standard” agricultural wines. The winners in this category include: Colorado Cider Company’s (Denver) “Grasshop-ah” hopped cider, Redstone Meadery’s (Boulder) “Nectar of the Hops” hopped mead, Carlson Vineyards and Winery’s (Palisade) Peach wine, and Aspen Peak Cellars’ (Bailey) “Mocha Zinsation” wine.

Want to try these wines yourself? Visit the History Colorado Center {1200 Broadway Street in Denver} at 7:30pm on August 1 for a public tasting of the Governor’s Cup winning wines. Sip the winning wines paired with small bites from six celebrated Denver chefs. General admission tickets are $75 and will go on sale on July 1. Learn more at

Although the past few years have been less than fruitful for Colorado wineries due to recent harsh winters, 2015 is looking promising. We can’t wait to see how this exciting local industry continues to grow.