6 Things You Didn't Know About Colorado Wine
Submitted by alison on Wed, 05/07/2014 - 12:23pmWhen people think about Colorado, they typically think about outdoor adventures in the Rocky Mountains like skiing and whitewater rafting. Even longtime visitors who have explored beyond the standard attractions tend to associate Colorado with its outstanding microbrew scene, but there’s a lot more than just beer, and Colorado has become one of the top wine destinations in the country.
Surprised? Here are six more things that you probably didn’t know about Colorado’s wine:
1. Colorado’s has perfect conditions for wine growingColorado’s varying elevations and topographies make for a lot of different environments, and it turns out the far western side of the Rocky Mountains, typically referred to as the “Western Slope” has the perfect growing conditions for producing Colorado wine. Long, warm, sunny days and dry, cool nights allow the grapes to develop the perfect amount of complexity and acidity.
2. But you can still find plenty of wine across the stateNot sure you can make it to that side of the state during your Colorado vacation? As Colorado’s wines have become increasingly sought out by enthusiasts, many vineyards have opened sampling rooms in the Denver area. You can also pick up a locally vinted bottle at liquor stores throughout the state – just look for the “Colorado Grown” label, which ensures that only grapes from in-state were used. Dining out? Be sure to ask your server or sommelier what they recommend from the Colorado wines on their menu.
3. The wine season is both long and short.If you’re looking to celebrate (and sample!) wine on your next Colorado vacation, you’re in luck. The season for winery and vineyard tours runs from March to October, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see what the fuss is about. Festivals dedicated to wine typically kick off in mid-May and run through late September, although the Denver International Wine Festival For growers, however, the season can be painfully short, with the time between frosts running as few as 150 days.
4. Colorado has the highest vineyards in the USLocated at 4,000 to 7,000 feet, Colorado’s vineyards are the highest elevation vineyards in the United States and among the highest in the country. The towns of Palisade and Grand Junction, which together produce around 90% of Colorado’s grapes, are located between 4,500 and 4,800 feet of elevation. Much of this terrain is desert, with the crops usually located close in the lusher and more temperate river valleys.
5. The number of wineries is continuing to growIf you’re thinking that this is a whole lot of fuss about a handful of vineyards, think again. Since the first barrels were produced in 1899, and commercial production began in the 1970’s, Colorado’s wine scene has expanded to over 80 wineries. Most of that growth has taken place in the last 25 years. In addition, the increased demand for Colorado wines has made it easier than ever to find tasting rooms, tours, and a variety of vintages.
6. Colorado wines aren’t limited to grapesWhile most of Colorado’s wine scene deals in traditional, grapes like merlot, chardonnay, pinot noir or syrah, you’ll find several wineries that use cherries, peaches, berries, and even honey. Almost any fruit crop that grows well in Colorado can be found in Colorado’s wines.
4 Colorado Wine Events to Catch:
Colorado Wine Week – May 31-June 7
North Fork Uncorked – June 14-15
Colorado Mountain Winefest – Sept 18-21
Denver International Wine Festival – Nov 20-22
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