Grand Mesa and its southern slope in Delta County has much to offer wine seekers and vacation adventurers
Dramatic canyons, rivers, lakes, mountain views and vineyard landscapes surround half a dozen hospitable little towns below the south face of Grand Mesa. This part of Delta County offers opportunities to experience a bit of western history as well as visit thirteen family wineries and explore local art studios, galleries and museums.
This relatively tourist-free area also is known for hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and rafting. The food is usually authentically local and tasty. Overnight accommodations include a variety of first-class bed and breakfast inns and lodges
Grand Mesa, ranging from 10,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level, is the highest flat top mountain in the world – a world of lush meadows, hundreds of lakes and dense forests teeming with wildlife. Between Interstate 70 on the north and the town of Cedaredge on the south, the scenic route over the mountain winds for 63 miles.
This sportsman’s paradise is open to the public the year around. There’s even a ski resort and three lodges on Grand Mesa. For details, see Powderhorn Resort, Alexander Lake lodge, Grand Mesa Lodge, Mesa Lakes Resort.
After exploring Grand Mesa, Black Canyon and the Gunnison River, Escalante Canyon, Dominguez Canyon, then checking out Fort Uncompahgre and Pioneer Town, you can always go wine tasting. Delta County boasts about twenty percent of the vineyards in Colorado (including the highest altitude vineyard in the Northern Hemisphere) and has thirteen wineries with tasting rooms.
Information about each of these wineries is covered under each of the six towns in which they are located se below).
For the wine hunter, the little towns in wine country provide other interesting things to see and do, places to eat and places to stay. It’s all part of the fun. Every town has its own charm and character.
Delta , at the confluence of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre Rivers may be where you want to stay when you visit the wineries in nearby Olathe.
Cedaredge and Eckert are “arty” little towns along Surface Creek with interesting wineries and bed and breakfast inns.
Hotchkiss is the gateway to vineyards and wineries on the southern slope of Grand Mesa and a micro-climate area locally known as “the banana Belt.”
Paonia is farther upstream on the North Branch of the Gunnison River, at the eastern end of “the banana belt.” The highest vineyard in the Northern Hemisphere (6,400 feet) is just east of town on the West Elk Scenic Byway.
Crawford grows cattle instead of fruit, but it’s worth a visit, especially if you fish or hunt and appreciate the wide open spaces.