Colorado Wine Travel Guide

Colorful Colorado is known for its majestic mountains, world-class ski resorts and tons of breweries. But for all the wine connoisseurs out there, Colorado is also home to two designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs, wine growing regions) and more than 80 wineries, many of which produce award-winning wines.

This Colorado wine travel guide is designed to help you explore Colorado’s wine scene. Be it downtown Denver’s urban wineries, to the wine country in the Grand Valley, which Trip Advisor’s listed as of the Best Wine Destinations, alongside Napa, Sonoma and Willamette Valley. And, to everywhere in-between.

Short History of Colorado Wine

In 1881 George A. Crawford, who later became the Colorado Governor founded Grand Junction. He was the first one to see the Grand Valley’s potential for grape production and planted 60 acres of vines on Rapid Creek above Palisade, along the Colorado River. In 1890, wine production in Colorado was born. Like all states within the U.S. production came to a screeching halt in 1920 when Prohibition took effect. It wasn’t until 1977 the Colorado General Assembly enacted the Colorado Limited Winery Act to permit small “farm wineries.” Wine production on Colorado had been reborn.
Today Colorado is home to two designated AVA’s that produce 90 percent of the state’s wine grapes.
  • The Grand Valley along the Colorado River between Palisade and Grand Junction.
  • The West Elks along the North Fork of the Gunnison River between Paonia and Hotchkiss.

Colorado Wineries Canyon Wind Cellars

Colorado Wineries and Wine Trails

In the last five years, wine production in Colorado has increased by 70 percent, and for good reason. The growing conditions are excellent! Colorado grapes grow in regions that range from 4,000-7,000 feet, making these vineyards some of the highest in the world – only below Argentina. With 300 days of sunshine blended with Colorado’s high altitude, the climate consists of warm days and cool nights, perfect conditions for growing grapes.


Colorado Wine Trails

Colorado is home to two designated AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), one is located the Grand Valley near Grand Junction, and the other in West Elks near Paonia and Hotchkiss. Tasting rooms, however are setup state-wide. From the downtown urban wine trail to Boulder, Colorado Springs, Breckenridge and up to Grand Junction and over to West Elks. The state of Colorado boasts 80 wineries across the state and 120 licensed grape growers.

To explore all the wineries see the following map, or visit Colorado Wine Industry Development Board.



Where to Sip

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Where to Stay

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Colorado Wine Festivals and Events

Looking for wine festivals and events in Colorado? The most update, annual events can be found here and here. Top annual events not to miss include:


Meet the Makers—Colorado Winemakers

Interviews with winemakers who are shaping the Colorado wine region.

Interview with a Winemaker: Michelle Cleveland, Creekside Cellars
Interview with a Winemaker: Michelle Cleveland, Creekside Cellars

Colorado Wine Resources

Full List of Colorado Wineries

There are two official organizations that support the Colorado wine industry, but many other “unofficial” groups. For historical information, updated wineries and other industry updates visit the following.

Beyond the Vines: Things to see and do besides sipping wine…