Sip Sophistication at the Best Wineries in Colorado

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Woman drinking glass of wine in Colorado winery vineyards

Colorado is home to some of the best wineries in the country. Regardless of your taste, you’re sure to find a wine perfect for you among the numerous wineries in Colorado.

From big production wineries to small, family-owned businesses, there’s something for everyone when it comes to Colorado wine. So if you’re looking for a sophisticated sip, check out one of these amazing wineries and experience what Colorado has to offer!

Does Colorado Have a Wine Country? 

Colorado is home to more than 150 licensed wineries. With such an abundance, it should be no surprise that there are wineries located across the state.

Much of Colorado is considered a high mountain desert perfect for growing wine grapes. The daytimes are frequently sunny, dry, and hot, with cool nighttime temperatures keeping pests and diseases at bay.

There are a few hot spots, but the heart of Colorado’s wine country is in the Grand Valley of the state’s Western Slope in the desert mountains near Grand Junction and Palisade. The Grand Valley is one of two Colorado areas designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA).

An AVA is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States that’s distinguished by its geography.

Are Colorado Wineries Good? 

Colorado has unique geographical attributes that define its wines. With growing regions between 4,000 feet and 7,000 feet in elevation, much of Colorado’s wine grape growing is the highest in the world. That’s second only to Argentina.

This geography allows Colorado wineries to produce unique, quality wines dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. There are also other Bordeaux varieties, such as Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon.

Exterior of a Colorado winery in Colorado

Sip Sophistication at the Best Wineries in Colorado

Though there are fantastic wineries all over Colorado, most vineyards (which grow the grapes) come from Colorado’s two AVAs in the Grand Valley and West Elks. The wineries (which don’t grow their own grapes) source their grapes from Colorado vineyards and growers. That all adds up to a list of “don’t miss” Colorado wineries.

Colterris Winery

Address: 3907 N River Rd, Palisade, CO 81526

About: Located in Palisade in the Grand Valley, Colterris Winery leans heavily into its Colorado roots. In fact, the name of the winery comes from a combination of a three-letter abbreviation for Colorado, “Col,” and the Latin word “terris,” which means “from the land.” All Colterris wines are grapes on the winery’s estate in the Grand Valley AVA. 

Colterris has a tasting room and courtyard where you can sip its Bordeaux-style wines. The winery features amazing views of the valley and offers tours of the winery and its wine cave.

Varaison Vineyards and Winery

Address: 405 W 1st St, Palisade, CO 81526

About: Varaison Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery housed in a Victorian-style home built in 1904. The estate, located in Palisade, includes the Victorian home, a gorgeous rose garden, and a pavilion/tasting space amid the picturesque Book Cliffs surrounding the vineyard.

Varaison Vineyards focuses on a vast array of Old World wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera, and Pinot Noir. Internationally, many recognize its wines for their distinctive style and quality craftsmanship.

Friends enjoying wine tasting together while visiting a Colorado winery

Balistreri Vineyards

Address: 1946 E 66th Ave, Denver, CO 80229

About: Located in Denver, most of Balistreri Vineyards‘ grapes are grown in Colorado, although they also source some of its grapes from friends and family in California.

Balistreri is a family-owned and operated vineyard offering a wide variety of wines ranging from Muscat to Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Port.

No matter the style, Balistreri’s focus remains on “natural wine.” This means its grapes are hand-picked. Fermentation occurs with natural yeast, with no chemical additives, sulfites, fining, or filtering. Its wines are vegan-friendly.

Whitewater Hill Vineyards

Address: 220 32 Rd, Grand Junction, CO 81503

About: Whitewater Hill Vineyards is just outside of Grand Junction. It is another Colorado vineyard in the Grand Valley AVA. Here they grow a wide varieties of grapes, mostly of European heritage with several cold hardy types.

Another family-owned winery, Whitewater, fashions a diverse line-up of wines. That includes Rosé and Tempranillo to Riesling, St. Vincent, and Merlot. 

Restoration Vineyards

Address: 3594 E 1/2 Rd, Palisade, CO 81526

About: As the name implies, Restoration Vineyards came out of a dilapidated vineyard and farmhouse and turned into a thriving, family-owned winery. It’s nestled into 10 acres on a mesa above the Colorado River.

Its wines are made exclusively from grapes grown in its vineyard with six varieties: Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon. These grapes lend to exquisite, singular wines, as well as a variety of blends.

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Hand splashing glass of wine over vines

Mesa Park Vineyards

Address: 3321 C Rd, Palisade, CO 81526

About: Like most other Colorado vineyards, Mesa Park Vineyard is family owned. It’s also another quality vineyard located in the thriving Palisade area. The laid-back tasting room is in Mesa Park’s big red barn.

It produces a variety of award-winning wines made from estate-grown grapes. Its reds include Family Reserve Red, Barn Owl Red, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Mesa Park also produces other Colorado varietals, such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Rosé, and Finz Dessert Wine.

Purgatory Cellars

Address: 18921 Plaza Dr #100, Parker, CO 80134

About: Located in Parker, Colo., just south of Denver, Purgatory Cellars’ winemakers hail from Croatia. Though Purgatory uses 90% of Colorado grapes, it presents its wines with a European ambiance. 

Purgatory is one of only a handful of wineries in the United States using Georgian Amphora clay pot containers to store and ferment its wine. It is a tradition in winemaking dating back to 6th century B.C.

This method expresses itself with complexity and soft tannins on the palate. Its batch process provides for a frequently changing menu that includes Whites, Reds, Dessert Wines, Amphora Style, Sparkling, and Rosé.

Woman with a glass of wine in Colorado vineyards

Snowy Peaks Winery

Address: 292 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

About: Another of the rare wineries on our list located outside of the Grand Valley AVA, you’ll find Snowy Peaks Winery in the heart of beautiful Estes Park. Its tasting room features its award-winning, hand-crafted wines and several from other Colorado boutique wineries.

Snowy Peaks Winery offers a taste of Colorado, using grapes from the state’s two AVAs and a vineyard on the Eastern Plains. Its varieties include Merlot, Syrah, Viognier, and Riesling.

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Are the Best Wineries in Colorado Worth Visiting? 

Yes, the best wineries in Colorado are definitely worth visiting! The combination of high altitude, sunny days, and cool nights means the state has a great climate for growing grapes. As a result, it produces some excellent wines.

If you’re a fan of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, you’ll find plenty of good options from Colorado wineries. And if you’re looking to try something new, there are also many producers making interesting blends and types of wine that you might not be able to find elsewhere.

So whether you’re a casual wine drinker or a serious connoisseur, be sure to add some Colorado wineries to your list of places to visit.

Which winery do you want to visit first?

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