Southwest Colorado is filled with hard working entrepreneurs.
People using creativity and imagination to stay in this area they love. A few of those creative groups are wine makers, cheese makers and chocolatiers. 5 years ago I opened a Bed and Breakfast in Ouray and started the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival. In both of these endeavors I got to know a lot of the great people in these fields.
There are so many great wineries it is hard to choose which ones to include in this blog. So I guess I will just tell you my favorites. West Elks Wine Country is the biggest wine country area near Ouray. You can check out a complete list of wineries in the area on their website http://www.westelksava.com/events.html as well as see events and locations for all the wineries.
Stoney Mesa Winery is in Cedaredge in a beautiful setting of rolling hills and streams. They sit atop a mesa where their grapes grow in abundance surrounding their tasting room. They have won many awards for their fantastic wine. Bret is the wine maker and a brilliant one at that. He also has a winery in Grand Junction, Ptarmigan Vineyards.
Mountain View Winery and Garrett Estate Cellars are both in Olathe. Both wineries have some great wines and a huge selection. Olathe is famous for its sweet corn and a great sweet corn festival in Aug. Mountain View Winery also has orchards and great fruit that they use in making some of their sweeter wines.
Leroux Creek Inn and Vineyards is a complete experience of cooking, wine tasting and Bed and Breakfast. Yvonne and Joanna are wonderful hosts. Leroux Creek is a biodynamic farm making great and unique wines.
Jackrabbit Hill is an organic winery and distillery. They are up on Redlands Mesa and are a really fun experience. They have the most beautiful still. They are one of the first wineries in this area to start using kegs for their wine. Anna is a fabulous hostess. Also while driving across Redlands Mesa you will find a buffalo and elk farm, High Wire Ranch. The best time to experience this farm is the Mother's Day Wine Trail. They really make some great meat.
Liliputian Winery is another great! They are right on Hwy 92 on the way to Hotchkiss. Lisa and her husband Scott make great wine. They have one really unique ginger wine which is perfect with Lisa's awesome sushi. They also have a local market and health food store on the property. Their parking markers are huge petrified logs! Very cool!
Once you get to Paonia there are too many to do in 1 day so you should just plan a wine vacation. I am happy to be a tour guide for anyone interested in really experiencing the area for the low price of a bottle or 2 of wine.:)
S Rhodes Vineyards is a must see. He is on a hill above Paonia and his tasting room is really special, a cool shed with great atmosphere including an old Indian Motorcycle. He also makes great wines, mostly reds and in the old school way without machines and technology. A really great experience. He also doesn't have a website or e-mail address, and doesn't accept credit cards, but he will take your check from anywhere. It is nice to have people who still trust others.
Azura Cellars has a beautiful setting overlooking the valley. They have a great courtyard and tasting room with an art gallery. Their counter is a timeline of their around the world trip in a sail boat. Their wines are delicious, including their Chocolate Merlot Sauce, which is great on anything.
Stone Cottage Cellars is a great spot with their tasting room made from rocks off their property. They have a fantastic Gewurztraminer, one of the more popular grapes that grow in this area. They are a family operation as most of the wineries in the area are which is really cool.
Terror Creek Winery is the highest elevation commercial vineyard in the world. They specialize in drier crisper wines. They have a fantastic view of the valley.
Black Bridge Winery and Delicious Orchards are great places to go to taste a variety of local wines. Black Bridge Winery is a great place on the river in a little hallow. They also sell olive oils and lots of great locally made sauces, jams and food stuffs. Delicious Orchards makes their own hard cider which is really delicious. They also have a little cafe on the property and camping and picnicking areas. They also sell local produce, honey and cheeses, which leads into my next blog about local cheese makers. So stay tuned.
About the Author: Faith Parry was born on a hippie commune in Southwest Colorado. After graduating with a degree in music, Faith has traveled extensively around the world, always finding her way home. She loves hiking, taking nature photos, baking, and throwing great parties. Faith founded the Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival in Ouray 5 years ago; a fantastic party featuring all products from Colorado, which has quickly become an event not to be missed each winter. Faith recently joined our team at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs. Come on up and meet her!