Caution, High Altitude Ahead
With elevations ranging from 4000 to 7000 feet above sea level, Colorado’s vineyards are among the highest in the world. The continental climate (warm days + cool nights + low humidity) creates ideal conditions for the cultivation of grapes required to produce premium wines. Home to 2 designated American Viticultural Areas, Grand Valley and West Elks, Colorado has a thriving wine industry with more than 60 wineries throughout the state.
The Grand Valley AVA, the largest and oldest AVA in Colorado, is the birthplace of Colorado’s resurgent wine industry and home to more than a dozen wineries. Located just west of Grand Junction, the AVA includes some of the highest vineyards in North America, averaging 4700 square feet. Grapes receive almost 300 days of intense sun, combined with warm, dry days and cool nights, resulting in intense flavors and balanced wines.
The highest altitude vineyards in the northern hemisphere exist in the West Elks AVA. Created in 2001, the AVA includes 10 wineries stretched across a 75-acre area just east of Paonia to the west of Hotchkiss. Similar to the Alsace region in France, the West Elks AVA is producing quality Gewürztraminer and Rieslings, followed by Pinot Noir.
This week I will highlight some of Colorado’s best wineries including Canyon Wind Cellars, Garfield Estates Vineyard and Winery, and Allis Ranch Winery. I invite you along to see why the wine industry is becoming serious business in Colorado. Cheers!
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