Grand Valley is one of Colorado’s two AVA regions. It encompasses roughly 3,200 acres in Mesa County, stretching from the city of Fruita to Palisde. The region is known for its natural mountain breeze (which helps prevent frost shock), high elevation of 4,500+ feet above sea level, and natural irrigation from nearby Colorado River canals running through the Grand Valley.Colorado Governor George A. Crawford planted the first vineyard in the Grand Valley region back in the late 1890s. The Governor’s initial vineyard was roughly 60 acres in size, laying the foundation for a solid wine industry. While vineyards and wineries began to pop up throughout the state, most of them remain focused to the Grand Valley AVA region. Its unique terroir and microclimate produced brilliant and delicious wine grapes.
If you’ve spent any time browsing around Grand Valley AVA’s two dozen or so wineries, you’ll notice they produce a wide variety of wines. Unlike most other AVA regions that focus on a single type of wine, Grand Valley produces white, red, dessert, and sparkling wine. They are even one of the country’s few producers of a wine that’s made with frozen grapes (known as icewine). Icewine is incredibly tough to produce due to the fact that frost can ruin or even rot the grapes. Wineries must use caution to ensure the grapes have just the right amount of frost before crushing and fermenting them.
Choice Picks of Grand Valley AVA Wineries
- Plum Creek Winery – With their first grape vine planted in 1980, Plum Creek Winery touts itself as Colorado’s oldest winery. They’ve won numerous awards, including the 2006 New World International Wine Competition, 2005 Denver International Wine Competition, 2005 American Wine Society, Tasters Guild International 2005, and many more.
- Graystone Winery – Located on the border of Clifton, Graystone is a small and oftentimes overlooked Colorado winery. It was established in 2002 and offers wine tasting seven days a week. Locals recognize Graystone Winery as producing some of the state’s best port wine.
- Canyon Wind Cellars – This family-owned winery is named after the cool year-round breeze that blows over from the nearby mountains. After bring in business for just over 20 years, Canyon Wind Cellars has cemented a name for itself as one of Colorado’s leading producers of fine wine. In fact, they’ve responsible for producing Colorado’s first bottle of $100 wine, which is a handcrafted Bordeux blend known as IV.