Front Range


September 2012

Wine production in the Centennial State has grown nearly 30 percent in the past five years and has increased more than tenfold since 1991. Here, we look at the numbers behind the expanding industry and September grape harvest season on the Western Slope.*


1881: The year that Grand Junction founder George A. Crawford planted some of the first grapevines in Colorado. 


1 million: Approximate liters of wine Colorado wineries produced in 2011, which is up from about 380,000 liters in 2001. 

1,000: Approximate acres of vineyards in Colorado. By way of comparison, Oregon has 17,500 acres.


90: Approximate percentage of Colorado grapes that are grown in the western part of the state. 

6,417: Elevation of the Terror Creek Winery, which produces grapes such as Riesling and Pinot Noir. The vineyard is among the highest in the world, many of which are located in Argentina.


2.5: Tons of grapes that one acre of vineyard typically yields each season in Colorado, which is about the same weight as an SUV.

60: Average number of cases of wine yielded by one ton of grapes—equal to about 2,880 glasses.

6: Number of grape varieties that make up 63 percent of the vines in Colorado (Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Riesling). 

4,133: The value, in dollars, that an acre of Cabernet Franc vines in Colorado yields—the highest return of any grapevine in the state.

150: Approximate days in the average Colorado grape-growing season.

*** Exclusive: More numbers behind Colorado's expanding wine industry

100: Approximate number of licensed wineries in Colorado—Oregon has more than five times this number. 

120: Estimated number of grape growers in Colorado operating on at least four acres of land. 

2: Number of federally designated American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) in Colorado: The Grand Valley near Grand Junction and West Elks near Paonia. The industry uses AVAs to denote a certain pedigree of wine; Oregon has 16 AVAs.

Case Study: Black Bridge Winery, Paonia; 2011 harvest numbers

44,000: Pounds of Pinot Noir grapes produced on nine acres of land.

28,000: Pounds of Chardonnay grapes produced on three acres of land.

12,000: Pounds of Riesling grapes proudced on 2.5 acres of land.

1,800: Pounds of Merlot grapes produced on 0.3 acres of land. 

945: Gallons of red wine produced by the winery.

900: Gallons of white wine produced by the winery.