You’re starting to see them. A bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon here. A Riesling there. A nice little Merlot on the menu at that place down the street. All of them sporting labels that read “Colorado” somewhere near the all-important phrase “14 percent alcohol by volume.” Yes, Colorado wines are steadily creeping their way into our liquor stores, our favorite bistros, and our wine racks.

It’s not an overnight phenomenon, of course. The heart of Colorado’s wine country, a swath of land stretching between the North Fork Valley and Grand Junction, has been struggling through its nascence since the mid-1980s. Learning to deal with untimely frosts, strange airflows, and high altitude, winemakers spent years cultivating their vines before the first vintages (some good, many bad) were released.