Colorado Wine Country
Colorado is a state that welcomes adventurous souls in search of great hiking and skiing, but what you may not know is that is in fact becoming a place where wine lovers head in search of some great new flavors. While grape growing and wine production in the state of Colorado dates back to the 1880’s, it is only in the last 20 years that Colorado wine country has become known to people outside of the state. As it stands now, there are over 80 different wineries at work in Colorado, and that number is expected to grow as more and more people discover this hidden gem.
The beauty of visiting Colorado wine country is that it is still small enough to make for a perfect day or overnight trip. What that means is that even if you had planned on visiting the state for something else completely, you can still experience wine country without deviating too far from your initial plans. Makin things easier still is that the state has been split into a pair of American Viticultural Areas (AVA), with 4 distinct wine trails to choose from. They are all conveniently located to popular areas in the state, making easy to reach and traverse.
The Grand Valley AVA runs along the Colorado River, while the West Elks AVA essentially surrounds Paonia and Hotchkiss along the Gunnison River. When you travel the highways that run through these regions, be on the lookout for blue road signs that bear the “Colorado Wine Trails” logo, as these will let you know that you are on the right road. There is also plenty of information available to wine lovers at information centers throughout the state. Wine country is very much growing here, and the state is well aware that the tourist trade now extends well beyond people looking for a great place to ski.
The first of the 4 major trails in Colorado wine country is the Front Range Wine Trail, which consists of about two dozen wineries that are all located along the I-25 corridor. When heading along I-70, you will run into a pair of loops that will take you into the Heart of Colorado Wine Country Trail, where you will not only find great wines, but also some of the most spectacular scenery the state has to offer. If you are looking for a little bit of history with your wine, take a trip through the Four Corners region, or you can check out some wonderful little towns as you travel through the Pikes Peak and Arkansas Valley region.
The beauty of Colorado wine country is that is still remains largely undiscovered by wine lovers across the country. The state is still the playground of the outdoorsy types, which is why wineries and tasting rooms are never really as busy as you might expect. That means you have plenty of time to sample the delicious wines of the region, whilst also being able to talk to the winemakers about the history of grape growing, and the bright future of wine production in Colorado.