Sip and Savor Colorado’s Wine Country


 A Love Your Parks Tour Story by Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J. Reid  


Northwest Colorado’s Grand Valley region is part of the dramatic and rugged Colorado Plateau and is home to Colorado National Monument, Mount Garfield and the Book Cliff series of desert cliffs and mountains, and the Grand Mesa which is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world. The Colorado River runs through the valley, providing water for the local fruit orchards and vineyards, and connecting the communities of Fruita, Loma, Grand Junction, and Palisade. This spectacular area is a recreational paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, a destination for oenophiles, and a creative haven for those of artistic spirit.

Winemaking is a craft unto its own, and most of the 25+ wineries in this area are award-winning, small-lot and family operated. The extraordinary wines produced in this Grand Valley are the result of the area’s fertile soil and diverse micro-climates, as well as the talent, hard work, and attention to detail given by the growers and vintners. 

The best way to experience the local wines is by following the Palisade Fruit & Wine Byway, which also happens to be part of the Barn Quilt Trail. You can drive the route yourself, but to truly enjoy the wine tasting adventure, we recommend renting or bringing your bicycle, or opt for a local transportation service such as Absolute Prestige Limo or Pali-Tours.  

Most of the wineries have beautiful picnic areas where you can sip and savor your tasting experience. And if you want to get outdoors and soak up the spectacular riverside and rugged cliff and mountain views, there are plenty of local parks and trails to take your new favorite Colorado wine for a picnic or a hike. Boasting amazing scenery and rock formations, Colorado National Monument is a spectacular park that’s known for its hiking and cycling, bird and wildlife watching, and geology. The most popular way to experience the park is on Rim Rock Drive…and you can do it by limo while enjoying your wine! 

Offering a peaceful escape from the city, lodging choices range from charming Bed & Breakfast Inns like Dancing Moon, Vistas and Vineyards, and Castle Creek Manor, to vineyard AirBnB stays at Mesa Park Vineyards, and RV and tent camping at Palisade Basecamp. 

Six Wineries to Visit on the Palisade Fruit & Wine Byway
We visited Colorado’s Wine Country region last spring and were blown away by the quality of the wine, the striking scenery, charming towns, and the warm and friendly welcome from all the great folks we met. To help plan your Colorado wine tasting adventure, enjoy the following Big Blend Radio podcast playlist of interviews featuring the six outstanding wineries we had the pleasure of visiting.

Maison La Belle Vie Winery
Owned and operated by acclaimed regional winemaker John Barbier, Maison la Belle Vie is a 4.5-acre dry-farmed vineyard that was planted in 2002. Visit the tasting room to try a number of their wines including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Rosé, and Muscat. Small batches of Reserve wines such as Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot as well as the popular Vin de Peche are also available. A new addition to their wine list is a handcrafted walnut wine fortified and aged for six years. Along with the winery tasting room, there’s also a restaurant where you can order a Charcuterie board, plus, an event venue.

Peachfork Orchards & Vineyard 

Owners Phil and Sue Patton specialize in raising high-quality fresh fruit and estate wines. Their Peachfork Plateau series invites you to discover the diversity of wines sourced from the soil remnants of geologic deposits millions of years old. Red Plateau wines include Chambourcin, Noiret, a Dry and a Sweet Red Blend. White Plateau wines include Riesling and Semi-sweet Traminette. Plus, there’s a crisp Apple and Chambourcin Rose’ blended wine made from their orchard apples. Peach harvest time and u-pick orchard are usually in August.

Restoration Vineyards
Owned and operated by Gary, Linda, and Stephanie Brauns, this family-owned vineyard and winery are located at East Orchard Mesa, above the Colorado River. The 10-acre property is surrounded by peach and cherry orchards with breathtaking views of the Grand Mesa and Bookcliff mountains. Their wines are made exclusively from grapes grown in their vineyard. They have 6 varieties planted – Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon. The name restoration was inspired by their passion for restoration projects – from homes to cars (vintage Mercedes Benz) to vineyards. 

Mesa Park Vineyards
Owned by Brandon and Laura Black, Mesa Park Vineyards is known for producing award-winning estate-grown reds including Family Reserve Red, Barn Owl Red, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Chardonnay, Riesling, Rosé and Finz Dessert Wine.  All of their reds are estate grown, crushed, aged, and bottled. Surrounded by vineyards and breathtaking views of the Grand Mesa and Bookcliff range, the winery offers a beautiful and relaxed tasting experience. Ask about their on-site private AirBnB guest suite.

Vines 79 Wine Barn
Co-owned and operated by Juliann Adams, this award-winning winery’s tasting room is located within a 100-year-old peach packing barn. The original peach orchard was recorded as “Section 79 of the Vinelands.” Hence the perfect name for their winery, Wine from Vines of Section 79 of the Vinelands – Vines 79 Wine Barn. Signature “wild west” wines include their KSW Viognier grape blend, Cowboy Cab, Franc N Bull, Silver Star Syrah, and Outlaw Red blend of Cab, Syrah, and Tempranillo. 

Graystone Winery
Owned and operated by the Goebel family, Graystone is a small boutique winery that specializes in ruby red and white Ports. Founded in 2001 and producing quality, double-gold award-winning dessert Ports, Graystone is the only Porthouse in Colorado. Visit their Tuscan-style tasting room which is also a stop on the Barn Quilt Trail, to try their exceptionally smooth, quality port. 

If you enjoy nature and the outdoors, exceptional food and wine, along with art and culture, this is the destination for you. For more about the region including lodging, parks, the arts, and more, check out our Big Blend Radio Colorado Wine Country playlist of interview podcasts on YouTube or SoundCloud

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