Colorado might not be the first location that comes to mind when you think about wine tasting, but Colorado’s wine region offers settings and wine-tasting experiences like no other wine region in the world. From peach or viognier to a raspberry-honey blend or cabernet franc, Colorado has countless interesting wines that are beginning to draw recognition throughout the nation as not only being legitimate, but in some cases, actually world renowned.
While there are tasting rooms throughout the state, the prime spot to raise a glass in Colorado is in the heart of wine country along the Western Slope just a few hours from the Front Range. Home to dozens of wineries, the toughest part of a visit to Grand Junction and Palisade might just be picking which one is your favorite. Luckily, there are several interesting tasting tours and unforgettable wine excursions to choose from on the Western Slope, and here we’ve rounded up our top five favorites:
Two Rivers Winery and Chateau
The wines from Two Rivers Winery have won 60 awards in international competitions since its founding in 1999. The winery produces six wines, including a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Syrah, Port, and a signature Merlot.
Maison La Belle Vie Winery
This winery is known for its elegant tasting room that makes you feel as if you’re spending an afternoon in French wine country. Known for its Vin de Peche made from Muscat grapes and peaches, all of the wine recipes here have been passed down through the family since the late 1800s. Make sure to check out the winery’s signature charcuterie board while you’re there, which includes a selection of meats, cheese, olives, hummus, fruit and chocolate.
St. Kathryn Cellars
Located in Palisade, this winery specializes in unusual blends and flavors. From the Strawberry Rhubarb Blend to the Sweet Scarlet Blend, made from Merlot and blackberry wine, these combinations are truly one of a kind. The most famous of their wines, however, is the Lavender Wine, a Colorado Riesling infused with organic lavender.
Whitewater Hill Vineyards and Winery
If you’re looking for a more traditional vineyard, Whitewater Hill is the place to be. Their Ethereal Blend is a mix of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. They take the best barrels from each vintage year, and many have said it rivals the best wines in Napa Valley. If you decide to raise your glass al fresco, you can enjoy a picturesque view of the vineyard, highlighted by an old-fashioned windmill.
Carlson Vineyards has been family-owned since 1981 and quickly became a prominent player in Colorado’s wine scene. Customers are treated as part of the family, too, as the winery’s philosophy is that wine is for everyone, and wine tasting should be a fun affair for all. The winery has a diverse selection of reds, whites and dessert wines to sample, as well as other wine-inspired recipes like the Tyrannosaurus Red Spaghetti Sauce.
Whether you’re a novice to the wine world or have a seasoned palate, a weekend trip to the Western Slope’s wine country will provide the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway, as well as a chance to support Colorado-grown wineries. Make sure you leave extra room in your suitcase to bring home a bottle or two!