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Photo courtesy of Restoration Vineyards

5 Weekend Trips Through Colorado’s Wine-Making Regions

We created five itineraries to help you savor the final dregs of harvest season in the Centennial State.

Visitors pour into Colorado’s various wine-making regions each September for grape stomping and other harvest festivities—so we suggest waiting until October, when dwindling crowd sizes give vino makers more time to spill their stories (and an extra splash in your glass). Use our weekend itineraries to savor the dregs of the season.

Grand Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA)

Nearly 85 percent of Colorado’s grapes come from this growing region near Grand Junction known for its hot, dry climate.

Friday

4 p.m. Hospitality interns from Colorado Mesa University hone their be-our-guest energy at Grand Junction’s Hotel Maverick. thehotelmaverick.com 6 p.m. Sneak over to Moody’s for wagyu steak in a speakeasy-style lounge. moodyslounge.com

Saturday

12 p.m. Savor the Barbera and Sémillon wines at Restoration Vineyards, named for the owner’s Mercedes-Benz refurbishing hobby (spot 14 on the property). restorationvineyards.com
3:30 p.m. At Plum Creek Cellars, a nine-foot-tall metal sculpture lovingly dubbed “Chardonnay Chicken” gets a giggle out of visitors even before they start sipping the off-dry Palisade Festival white blend. plumcreekwinery.com

Sunday

9:30 a.m. Rent a board from GJ SUP for a float at the new Riverfront at Las Colonias Park, which hosts a dog park, a concert venue, trails, and more. gjsup.com
12 p.m. Devil’s Kitchen, on Hotel Maverick’s patio, serves beet salad with hops-infused vinaigrette and a side of Colorado National Monument vistas. devilskitchenrestaurant.com

West Elks AVA and the North Fork Valley

Delta County’s cool climate produces dainty white grapes for dry Rieslings and Gewürztraminers.

Friday

5 p.m. The chefs at Flying Fork celebrate the bounty of their agricultural surrounds by blanketing handmade pasta with local produce. flyingforkcafe.com
7:30 p.m. Rocking chairs on the front porch of the 115-year-old Bross Hotel Bed & Breakfast might just be the comfiest spots to relax after a day of wine tasting—though the on-site hot tub offers stiff competition. paonia-inn.com

Saturday

1 p.m. Owner Dave Aschwanden explains his Old World fermentation techniques during prearranged personal tastings at Chill Switch Wines in Cedaredge. chillswitchwine.wordpress.com
3:30 p.m. Stone Cottage Cellars’ sweet Alpine Dessert Wine pairs divinely with the raspberry pistachio cheesecake the winery sources from Paonia’s Coquelicot Pastries. stonecottagecellars.com

Sunday

11:30 a.m. Sample lemon-chive chèvre and a goat cheese Manchego at Western Culture Farmstead. Don’t leave without giving the goats a thank-you pat. westernculturefarmstead.com

Rocky Mountain Region

Artisans, spread over several counties west of Rocky Mountain National Park, harness high elevation to turn imported grapes into complex blends.

Friday

3 p.m. Salida’s Manhattan Hotel’s self-service model expedites check-in so you can get to watching kayakers on the Arkansas River from your balcony. manhattanhotelsalida.com
5 p.m. We dig the cheesy jokes on Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub’s menu (“Make Mom happy, add some veggies”) as much as the scratch-made dough that cradles the toppings. moonlightpizza.biz

Saturday

10 a.m. Hike among rock spires in the newest member of Colorado’s club of national monuments, Browns Canyon. blm.gov
5 p.m. At Vino Salida Wine Cellars, order mead made with local honey and settle in for live blues or rock. vinosalida.com

Sunday

9 a.m. Zip through Four Mile Recreation Area’s hilly deserts and lush woods on a side-by-side from Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals. rmar1.com
3 p.m. The thin air at Continental Divide Winery’s Fairplay production facility (elevation: 10,361 feet) slows fermentation, highlighting each grape variety’s floral notes. breckwinery.com

North Front Range

Conveniently located within 90 minutes of Denver, these easy-access wineries serve up the bounty of the Western Slope (most vintners get grapes from the Centennial State’s AVA regions) but make their reds, whites, and rosés much closer to home.

Friday

5:15 p.m. Sit on the balcony of Nederland’s rustic Boulder Creek Lodge and look for moose in the hotel’s namesake waterway. thebouldercreeklodge.com
6 p.m. At Busey Brews Smokehouse and Brewery, even the tofu gets some time on the smoker—though carnivores usually opt for the fall-off-the-bone chicken wings. buseybrews.com

Saturday

10 a.m. Rent an e-bike from Estes Park Mountain Shop and try to pick out Hallet Peak and Lumpy Ridge as you cruise around the 3.75-mile paved loop encircling Lake Estes. estesparkmountainshop.com
12 p.m. Appreciate the award-winning Mourvedre—a light, fruity red—from Snowy Peaks Winery while sitting on the patio and listening for bull elk bugling in Rocky Mountain National Park next door. snowypeakswinery.com
3:30 p.m. Boulder County’s first wine producer, Augustina’s Winery, may be a one-woman show, but owner Gussie Walter takes the time to answer even the most basic questions about the wine-making process. augustinaswinery.com

Sunday

10 a.m. Shop Boulder’s iconic Pearl Street—an outdoor apparel mecca—where Black Diamond, Backcountry, and Stio stores recently joined old favorites like Patagonia and Prana. boulderdowntown.com

Four Corners Region

Celebrate the rich culture of Colorado’s southwest corner by tasting your way through its jammy Petite Pearls, dry Rieslings, and sweet fruit wines.

Friday

4 p.m. Each room in the Rochester Hotel includes a copy of Hollywood of the Rockies, a book about the many Westerns shot in Durango, that you can flip through while waiting for your partner to shower up before dinner. rochesterhotel.com
6 p.m. We didn’t think improving upon the already-delectable corn dog was possible—until we tasted Eolus’ version with lobster. eolusdurango.com

Saturday

10:45 a.m. Luxuriate in one of the 28 natural mineral water experiences at the newly renovated Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa, including a Japanese-inspired cedar soaking tub. durangohotspringsresortandspa.com
1:30 p.m. Wander the Fox Fire Farm’s vineyard’s remaining rows of cold-resistant grape varieties and gaze out over the 910-acre livestock operation while sipping a full-bodied, triple-gold-medal-earning Marquette. foxfirefarms.com
5 p.m. Meet with a vintner from Four Leaves Winery to sample a few wines, determine your personal taste preferences, and create a custom batch that will be sent to you after a few months of fermentation. fourleaveswinery.com

Sunday

10 a.m. Stash a freshly made scone from the hotel in your suitcase before checking out—you’ll thank us on the drive home.
10:30 a.m. Peruse traditional Navajo rugs, Pueblo pottery, and other pieces of art made by creatives from the Hopi, Zuni, and other Indigenous Southwestern tribes at Toh-Atin Gallery. toh-atin.com

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