5280 Magazine features the West Slopes wine industry and its year-to-year challenges

Patricia Kaowthumrong is the editor of 5280 magazine and in the latest issue of the magazine she features Colorado wines.

Colorado is one of the toughest places in the world to grow grapes due to our high elevation, hot, dry summers, and short growing season. In fact, over the past 15 to 20 years, the weather has become more and more difficult. The area has experienced damaging unexpected freezes; in October 2020, a frost damaged 75% of the state’s most common vine species.

To adapt, many grape growers and grape growers on the western slopes of America’s Grand Valley wine region are turning to varietals that aren’t as commonly grown in Colorado, vines that can tolerate the cold. These grapes are also producing new styles – natural sparklings (aka pét-nats, natural sparkling wines), sparkling blends, Teroldego, Viognier – instead of the typical merlots and cabs, which don’t grow well here.

From these changes, they diversify and strengthen Colorado’s wine industry despite the challenges.

For more on “Changing Vines,” check out the September issue of 5280 magazine.

Amanda P. Whitten