A confluence of beauty, taste, and adventure...
While Colorado is known for our mountains, our fertile valleys and vineyards are equally enticing. Colorado’s abundant sunshine, warm days, cool nights and low humidity provide the perfect conditions for wine grapes that feature the complex character and chemistry required to craft award-winning wines. Colorado’s more than 80 wineries, all small family-owned estates, have earned a well-deserved reputation for creating a wide variety of premium wines. From deep Merlots and expressive Chardonnays, luscious fruit and honey wines as well as deep ports, to elegant Rieslings and Cabernets, Colorado wines consistently win top national and international awards. The federal government has designated two regions in Colorado as American Viticultural Areas (AVA), which identify unique geographic and climactic features that distinguish the qualities of a region’s grape-growing. The Grand Valley AVA, including Grand Junction and Palisade, resides along the Colorado River. The West Elks AVA surrounds Paonia and Hotchkiss along the North Fork of the Gunnison River. Most of Colorado’s wine grapes come from these two areas, as well as vineyards in Delta, Montrose, Fremont, Larimer and Montezuma counties.
Follow our Colorado Wine Trails like modern day pioneers in search of flavor and adventure...
Life is too short for more of the same. Pack your bags and corkscrew and head out here for our peak Colorado experiences where the adventure takes root in more than a thousand acres of vineyards. Combine your wine tasting adventures with your favorite activities and destinations. Hiking trails or organic orchards. Whitewater rapids or country inns. Mountain bike trails or local bistros. Or all of it in one tasty escape. You won’t find attitude here. Just gorgeous vineyards hugging the mountains and good times.
Follow the blue information signs with the “Colorado Wine Trails” logo along Colorado highways to drink in the brilliant sunlight, the fresh mountain air and magnificent scenery that combine to make Colorado wines so special.
Front Range Wine Trail
The Front Range Wine Trail, shooting out on short side trips from the I-25 corridor, contains two dozen wineries and tasting rooms from Cañon City, by the Royal Gorge, to Estes Park, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Heading west on I-70, the wine traveler discovers wineries in enchanting Rocky Mountain towns such as Georgetown, Dillon, and Winter Park. Wineries at this altitude may not be able to grow grapes or fruit, but they serve their samples beside other diversions such as worldclass skiing and snowboarding, whitewater rafting and crystal clear mountain air.
Heart of Colorado Wine Country Trail
Between Glenwood Springs’ famous hot springs pool and some of the world’s greatest mountain biking trails in Fruita, the I-70 corridor enters two loops that circumscribe the Heart of Colorado Wine Country, encompassing two federally designated American Viticultural Areas (AVA) and some of the grandest scenery in North America. First, the Grand Valley AVA follows I-70 running along the Colorado River from Palisade to the foot of the spectacular Colorado National Monument just west of Grand Junction. Heading south on US Highway (Hwy) 50 from there, the wine explorer can continue a dozen miles past Delta to visit the wineries near Olathe, sweet corn capital of the world. The Heart of Colorado Wine Country Trail turns east at Delta onto CO Hwy 92 following the Gunnison River. The inner loop veers north on CO Hwy 65 where you pass the wineries along Surface Creek, on the south slope of Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the world. The scenic byway across the top of Grand Mesa (with more than 300 lakes on top stocked with very hungry fish) is one of the most beautiful drives imaginable. The inner loop takes you right to I-70.
If you take the outer loop, follow the Gunnison River along CO Hwy 92 east out of Delta, until you reach Hotchkiss, and then parallel the North Fork of the Gunnison along CO Hwy 13 to Paonia. You pass through the West Elks AVA named for the surrounding mountains. From Hotchkiss, you can visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park by following CO Hwy 92; take CO Hwy 13 through Paonia and over McClure Pass into Redstone and Carbondale completing the outer loop back to Glenwood Springs (a right turn at Carbondale puts you in Aspen); or you could turn around and go back over Grand Mesa. Whichever way you choose, you complete the Heart of Colorado Wine Country Trail.
Four Corners Region
For a full dose of Colorado history and scenery, start at Durango, home to the famous narrow gauge steam railway, then head west to Cortez and the Four Corners region near Mesa Verde National Park. Here ancient pottery shards and arrowheads are mixed in with the vineyard soils.
Pikes Peak and The Arkansas Valley region
Returning to the Front Range over Wolf Creek Pass then north to US Hwy 50 through the storied San Luis Valley, you will pass through Salida and Cañon City, where you can enjoy your liquid either in a wine glass or on the whitewater rapids of the Arkansas River. Continue north and find yourself in the shadow of Pikes Peak, near the charming town of Manitou Springs and the magical Garden of the Gods.
Veer back onto I-25 and you are in position to embark on the Front Range Wine Trail all over again.
Travel Information Sources
* Colorado Wine Info: For most current info: www.coloradowine.com
* Colorado Official Tourism Information: P: 800.COLORADO
* CDOT Official Scenic & Historic Byways: www.coloradobyways.org
COLORADO WEL COME CENTERS
* Alamosa: 601 State Ave; P: 719.589.4840
* Burlington: 4 8265 I-70 Burlington (between exits 437 and 438);
* Cortez: 928 E Main St; P: 970.565.4048
* Dinosaur: 1 01 Stegosaurus Freeway P: 970.374.2205
* Fort Collins: I-25 at Exit 268; P: 970.491.3583
* Fruita: I-70 at Exit 19; P: 970.858.9335
* Julesburg: 2 0934 CR 28; P: 970.474.2054
* Lamar: 1 09 E Beech St; P: 719.336.3483
* Red Rocks: 1 7900 Trading Post Rd; Morrison P: 303.697.2048
* Trinidad: 3 09 Nevada Ave; P: 719.846.9512
For information about lodging and attractions in each of these areas, contact the information centers here.
|Electronic, pdf versions of our brochure and maps:|
|Colorado Wine Trails|
|Colorado State Map|
|Map of the 4 Corners Wineries|
|Map of Delta County/West Elks Wineries|
|Map of Front Range Wineries|
|Map of Grand Valley Wineries|
|Map of Pikes Peak/Arkansas Valley Wineries|
|Map of Rocky Mountain Wineries|