It’s difficult to sum up Colorado viticulture in just a few paragraphs. The growing regions of Colorado are as diverse as the people who live here. In Palisade, warm daytime temperatures and cool nights result in lush grapes filled with with the complex sugars. Despite a short growing season (relative to many established regions), the overall warmth of the area allows for Bordeaux- and Rhone-style grapes to thrive. There’s also an array of experimenting with everything from French/American hybrids, to German grapes such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
While more than 80 percent of the grapes grown come from the Grand Valley and Palisade area, there are several markedly different regions in Colorado. The West Elks area is high altitude, which means Pinot, Riesling and Gewürztraminer thrive — as with hybrid production. Delta, Montrose and Montezuma counties are all exploring the lands around them for continued growth among the grapes that do well in each respective region.
All told, there are about 1,000 acres of grapes growing throughout Colorado. The state employs Dr. Horst Capari as the state enologist at the Colorado State University East Orchard Mesa site to study grape growing in Colorado.