The road to Palisade is the road to Colorado’s wine country.
“I could almost say the valley is it. We produce anywhere between 85 to 95% of the state’s grape production. That’s because this valley has a particular climate that’s just better than most other places in Colorado.” said Dr. Horst Caspari, a state viticulturist.
One of the few places in the state that’s able to grow the vine, and to Colorado’s earliest wine maker, it’s still a remarkable challenge.
“Your problem here is cold in the winter. They should come out to see how the grower’s in this part of the world have accommodated the needs in an effort to make beautiful fruit.” said Warren Winiarski, the Wine Guru.
Though the climate didn’t scare Winiarski away; he tried to bring grapes to the valley years ago.
“He actually came out with F Scott Fitzgerald and they tried to talk Coors into the Palisade area in particular to grow grapes.” said Caspari.
Today, it’s known as Colorado’s wine country, a title that’s no accident
“Wine is the VCB’s overarching brand. We have a lot to offer here in Grand Junction. We have outdoor recreation, we have arts and culture and so does the rest of the state of Colorado. So what’s the lure that’s going to bring other people here to visit and to spend their tourism dollars here, and that’s wine.” said Mistalynn Meyeraan, with the Visitor Convention Bureau.
The turn of the millennia is when wine country was declared and in the expert’s eye, it has exceeded expectations.
“I’m amazed at how rapidly you have achieved excellence in your wine and that starts in the Vineyard. You can’t make anything more than in is the fruit.” said Winiarski, “I’m struck by the beauty of the place and I’m glad the grapes are reflecting that kind of beauty.”
This is the 40th anniversary of what’s known as the Paris Judgment in 1976, when Winiarski’s Cabernet Sauvignon won the competition.