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Discover Colorado Wine

The majestic valleys of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are blessed with warm days, cool nights and low humidity — perfect conditions for the cultivation of wine grapes with the complex character and chemistry required to produce award-winning wines.

Winemaking began on Colorado’s Western Slope more than a century ago. With the advent of Prohibition, however, the early vineyards were uprooted and replaced with orchards. Modern vineyards featuring the world’s classic wine-grape varieties have been reestablished in the area’s fertile climes, and once again the art of winemaking is flourishing in Colorado. Building on the tradition of these pioneer winemakers, thriving wineries are now found in all parts of the state.

Today, Colorado’s vintners enjoy a well-earned reputation for producing a wide variety of premium wines. From redolent Riesling and captivating Cabernet Franc, to wines made from cherries, peaches, plums and honey, Colorado wines consistently win top national and international awards for their quality.

Terroir can be very loosely translated to mean “a sense of place.” Wine embodies the characteristic qualities from where it comes – the sum of the effects that the local environment – and when it was made.

Wine people like to argue endlessly, more heatedly after the second and third glass, as to what exactly is and should be the influence of Nature (the terroir) as opposed to the influence of people, specifically the grape grower and the winemaker. While the experts argue about how and why the sun, soil and climate make a Colorado wine taste just as different than a wine from California or Europe as the Rocky Mountains are different than the Sierras, the Pyrenees or the Alps, you can simply enjoy your wine.

What makes Colorado wines unique?

Vineyards in Colorado are mostly nestled in the temperate, high elevation river valleys and mesas of Mesa and Delta counties, with some acreage in Montezuma county. Colorado’s grape growing regions range in elevation from 4,000 to 7,000 feet and are thus among the highest vineyards in the world, resulting in hot days accompanied by cool nights.

The ‘continental climate’ in these regions create day to night temperature variations topically ranging from 25 to 30 degrees during the grape maturation months of August and September. The long warm daylight hours of intense high-altitude sunlight mature the fruit completely and build the natural sugars. The cool evenings cause the grapes to retain the acids so vital to premium winemaking. However, the high altitude can also present a challenge to grape growers, in that the average frost free growing season ranges from 150 to 182 days.

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Grape growing has persisted on Colorado’s Western Slope because it offers fruit growers a greater diversity of crops and a broader hedge against frost damage. With an early spring frost, growers might lose cherries and apricots, but grapes will still be viable. As the commercial viability of apples has dropped precipitously in the last decade, grapes have increasingly filled that late season harvest slot.

The Colorado wine industry is on the verge of significant expansion and improvement.

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