The winery industry of Colorado is certainly not ancient, nor is it particularly famous within the greater context of the wine. It is, however, a producer of wines that are absolutely excellent by any international standard. The best wineries in Colorado are particularly unique in that they grow and maintain the highest altitude vineyards in the nation.
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Why Colorado Is A Great Spot For Winemaking
The arid western slopes of this exquisite region experience low humidity, abundant sunshine, and a gentle breeze. This supports the growth of flourishing vineyards which, in turn, bless us with truly magnificent wine. Colorado has only been producing wine for roughly a century which, while it may sound like a long time, is a relatively brief moment when one considers the greater timeline of winemaking.
The rate at which the best wineries in Colorado have seemed to master the art is a testimony to their passion and inspiring creativity. Should you ever find yourself in or around this area, do yourself a favour and visit a winery in Colorado. We have compiled a list of what we personally consider to be the best wineries in Colorado.
What Wines Come from Colorado?
Despite the high altitude, Colorado slopes seem to provide an environment that sustains vineyards in a generous manner. This allows the best winery in Colorado to produce a wide variety of wines for your enjoyment. Merlot is the most popularly planted grape varietal in the region while Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling come in tie for a close second.
Chardonnay seems to be the third most popular variety, Syrah the fourth, Pinot Noir the fifth and Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, and Viognier – while being produced to a lesser degree – are also present in and amongst the mix.
What is the Oldest Winery in Colorado?
The oldest winery in Colorado is also considered by some to be the best winery in Colorado. Established in 1978, the Colorado Cellars Winery is the oldest winery in Colorado. It boasts an exquisite view as it is built on a hillside that overlooks the Grand Junction area. This winery has a truly special touch as it is family-owned and they personally deliver to nearby customers. Furthermore, they keep their own bees to produce a delicious and unique honey wine.
Is Colorado Known for Wine?
Colorado may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of excellent wine in the global context of the wine industry. It is, however, well-known for its own special reason. The slopes of Colorado are home to the highest altitude vineyards in the USA and the second highest in the world.
The Best Wineries in Colorado
Carlson Vineyards, Palisade
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We consider this to be the best winery in Colorado on the sustainability front because it is solar-powered. Environmentally-friendly attraction aside, this well-established winery has been operating since 1988 above the Colorado River on the East Orchard Mesa. Carlson is amongst the oldest of the Colorado vineyards and it boasts an impressive production volume of 10 000 cases per year – a third of which are interesting fruit wines that are made using locally sourced fruits.
While their fruit wines are extremely popular, they are best known for their award-winning Riesling which won the 28th ‘World Riesling Cup’ as well 2008 the ‘Best of the West’ competition. If you have the pleasure of visiting their tasting room which is open from 10:00 to 17:30 on every day of the week, be sure to sample their Gewurztraminer, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Merlot too.
Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, Grand Junction
This boutique winery situated on the Western slopes of Colorado’s Redlands area will transport you to the magical valleys of Southern France. The primary objective of this winery, considered far and wide to be one of the best wineries in Colorado is to produce a small number of truly excellent wines. Hence, they only grow three varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay.
If you find yourself in Colorado, be sure to pay a visit to the intimate and beautiful tasting room of this 60-time award-winning establishment. They are open from 10:30 to 17:00 every day except for Sunday when they are open from 12:00 to 17:00.
Snowy Peaks Winery, Estes Park
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Situated just outside the famous Rocky Mountains National Park, many consider this to be the best winery in Colorado due to the fact that they exclusively use hand-picked grapes to produce their wines. Their two most popular wines both won medals in Colorado’s 2015 Governor’s Cup competition. These are the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2011 blend of Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Syrah.
You can choose between outdoor and indoor seating when you visit the Snowy Peaks tasting room and, if you play your cards right, you might just experience one of their occasional live music gigs. They are open every day of the week from 12:00 to 18:30.
Monkshood Cellars, Mintrum
Monkshood Cellars sets itself apart from the rest of the best wineries in Colorado for a number of reasons. Firstly, its entire philosophy is that it celebrates the subtle distinctions in aromas for every growing season. They only use naturally occurring yeast strains and furthermore, there are no filtration or fining processes.
Just in case you need one last reason to be impressed, they use the bare minimum sulphur quantities when it comes to bottling. They offer tastings by appointment only so be sure to visit the Monkshood website to make this worthwhile booking.
Maison la Belle Vie Winery, Palisade
The name of this widely renowned winery is “house of a beautiful life”. It was founded by a Frenchman who inherited a wealth of wine-making knowledge from his family. The architectural splendour as well as the beauty of the 4.5-acre vineyard truly breathtaking.
We would highly recommend visiting Maison la Belle Vie for a romantic wine tasting with a loved one should you ever find yourselves in Colorado. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday it is open from 11:00 to 17:00. On Sundays, it is open from 11:00 until 16:00 and it is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The best wineries in Colorado really do offer something for everyone. Plan a trip to any one on this list and you won’t be disappointed.