The Grand Valley is getting national recognition as a wine region for you to visit. The 23 wineries in the Grand Valley are being compared to California’s wine country. The Mother Nature Network, an environmental news website, has just named the Western Slope as one of the seven lesser known wine regions to visit.
The variety of wines offered in the Grand Valley are starting to be known on a national level. The region's known for growing grapes that can survive in a cold climate and high elevation. A recent winner is the Double Gold Riesling from the Carlson Vineyard Winery.
Garrett Portra has worked at the winery for two years and even though it's fairly new, he considers the wine out of this region to be some of the best, "The wine region has only been around for about 30 years, which in the wine world make us a very new region."
This sets the valley apart from the dominate hot spot for wine-o's for decades, Northern California. During the prohibition period, California was one of the only locations to stay open because they were selling wine to churches. This left the Grand Valley wine-less for years.
Portra says the Carlson Vineyard Winery has really improved throughout the years, "We only own just a little over 3 acres with a little under that in grape, but we take in 30 acres of grapes from other growers throughout the valley."
The storage at the winery used to be the first cellar built in 1988. It was able to expand twice in the past 25 years to what it is today. Portra says, "We can be just as good as any of the big producers. As our industry grows we are learning more and more about the wines and which wines we produce well here."
Portra says the sweet wines and dry reds are proving to serve the area well, "Our number one seller is a sweet baby red. Which is a semi-sweet red wine blend."
Wineries are open year round for tastings, and most of the tastings are free. Thousands of people come to the area in September for the annual Winefest. It showcases some of Colorado’s most popular wines.