Colorado's Western Slope Wineries
In true pioneer spirit, Colorado's independent vineyards work together with growers to produce one-of-a-kind wines that could only come from the Western Slope
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Colorado’s two wine areas, the Grand Valley and the West Elks near Paonia, offer a wealth of winery experiences ranging from simple fruit sheds to striking European-inspired chateaus. Put the Western Slope wineries on your Colorado must-see list.
Parker Carlson’s Top 5 Favorite Wineries to visit this year
1. CARLSON VINEYARDS – A welcoming Colorado-style winery in Palisade making classic european wines and exotic Western slope fruit wines. Carlsonvineyards.com | (970) 4645554.
2. PLUM CREEK WINERY – originally started by Doug and Sue Phillips on 11 acres near Paonia, Plum Creek Winery now includes vineyards in both Palisade and Paonia with more than 65 acres in grape production.
They make classic Bordeaux and Burgundy varieties under the talented watch of winemaker Jenne Baldwin. PlumCreekWinery.com | (970) 464-7586.
3. CANYON WIND CELLARS – Founded in 1996, Canyon Wind Cellars is the only second-generation winery in Colorado. The winery sits in a stunning canyon setting near Palisade. Under the mentorship of Napa, Calif., winemaker Bob Pepi, Canyon Winds produces 13 varieties of wine.
Canyon Winds built the first underground cellar in Colorado and has implemented many sustainability practices to make the winery easier on the earth. CanyonWindCellars.com | (970) 464-0888.
4. TWO RIVERS WINERY AND CHATEAU – in 1999, Western slope natives Bob and Billie Witham built this French-style winery and chateau in grand Junction, on the outskirts of the Colorado National Monument. With winemaker Tyrel Lawson, they produce six wines.
Two Rivers offers an incredible tasting room and upscale wine country lodging in a stunning setting. TwoRiversWinery. com | (970) 255-1471.
5. TERROR CREEK WINERY – At a mountain elevation of 6,417 feet above sea level in the West Elks near Paonia, Colorado’s other American Viticultural Area, the Terror Creek Winery is the highest altitude winery and vineyard in the northern hemisphere. Joan Mathewson, the founder and owner, studied wine making in Switzerland and makes Alsatian-style wines.
The winery is located in a beautiful mountain setting, completely different from the grand valley, and is a great introduction to the eight wineries currently operating in the West Elks. Call first, as visiting times are limited. TerrorCreekWinery.com | (970) 527-3484
(This story originally appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of Colorado Life Magazine)