With the travel restrictions this year, we decided to go on vacation in our own state. Having visited wine country in other states, it is kind of funny that we never ventured to our own wine country here in Colorado! So, off we went on the five hour journey west, over the mountains (and yes, through the woods) to friends and wineries on the western slope. Grand Junction is a small city with a college and lots of shops and suburbs like any other. What sets it apart is its lush fields of vegetables, orchards, and vineyards. An oasis amidst the dry desert of much of the state.
We went at the beginning of October, which is a fine time to travel with the leaves changing and the tourist season slowing. We stayed with friends, our granddaughter’s other grandparents, and had a wonderful time. Sight seeing is always fun with others. These are the highlights of our trip, our favorite places we visited.
Colterris was our first winery stop. It was the most like California wine country in set up. The meandering rows of peach trees and acres of vines made a lovely place to wander with a glass of wine. The overlook peered down across Palisade, irrigation ditches filled with water, as the mesa stood out overhead and across the valley.
Our next stop was a winery I had wanted to visit after seeing their bottles many years ago. Carlson Vineyard has been a Colorado staple for decades and are well known for their cats in the vineyard and on their labels. New owners have taken over and now have only two kitties in the vineyard, but it was wonderful to sit in their courtyard and sample wine. Where Colterris feels very modern and upscale, Carlson feels very homey and welcoming. Different, but both fantastic.
With a blog named Creating La Belle Vie, we just had to visit a winery and lunch spot called Maison La Belle Vie! It was absolutely delicious and the setting was just beautiful. We shared a large charcuterie board and a wine flight. Good company, good wine, good food- is there anything better?
We visited many nice wineries and farms. One other winery stood out to us. Stone Cottage Cellars is a winery in Paonia on top of a winding, mountain road with the most scenic vineyard and a gorgeous, hand built stone house and cellar. The Chardonnay there was amazingly smooth and creamy, aged on French oak then finished in a steel barrel to smooth the tannins.
The many farms, vineyards, shops and restaurants in Grand Junction will certainly keep a traveler busy, but one must take half a day to hike the Mica Mine trail. Crushed, sparkling mica fills pathways as the sun peeks over high cliffs and silence prevails along the peaceful and stunning walk.
There is a lot to see and do in Grand Junction, Colorado and the wine country here is a must-see. Wonders await close to home.