South Palisade Wineries, Colorado

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Wineries on the south side of the Colorado River near Palisade produce wines from the “noble” grape varieties, while avoiding the sameness of their varietal labels.

All Grand Valley wines are made western style – rambunctious and individual. You will find some great wines at all of these wineries.

Colorado Cellars Winery is Colorado’s oldest winery, established in 1978. It is also one the most recognized, having won more than 150 medals in local, state, national and international wine tasting competitions. It makes eleven varietal grape products, champagne, port, six fruit wines and honey wine. Dozens of wine-based food items and hundreds of appetizers are available in the tasting room.. The winery also produces the Rocky Mountain Vineyards brand. Summer hours are Monday thru Friday 9 to 5, Saturday 10 to 5; winter: Monday thru Friday 9 to 4, Saturday 11 to 4.

Carlson Vineyards bottled its first wine in 1988. The vineyard was planted in 1981 in an old apricot orchard. The Carlsons specialize in light and fruity, easy-to-drink wines. Half of their output is in flavorful semi-sweet Cherry, Plum and Peach drinks. Medal winning varietal wines include Merlot/Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Lemberger, Gewurztraminer and Riesling. The tasting room is a 1940s packing shed; hours daily 10 to 6.

De Beque Canyon Winery was founded in 1997 by grape grower Bennet Price and his wife, Davy, after years of establishing vineyards for other Colorado wineries. Price’s varietals are Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Riesling. There’s also a Port and a “flagship” Claret. The tasting room and patio is open daily (except winter Holidays) 10 to 6.

Amber Ridge Vineyards has been in operation since 1998. It is located in the Vinelands, the original grape growing area in Palisade. The wines are hand-crafted, barrel fermented and aged by owners Gene and Lorinda Corley. Varietals selections include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Winery and tasting room is open Thursday 9 to 5. Call to confirm.

Hermosa Vineyards was founded in 2001 by grape growers Ken and Stacy Dunn to produce premium estate-bottled wines. Varietals normally available are Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Muscat and Chenin Blanc. Other varietals such as Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon and Rkatsiteli are available on a custom-made basis. Winery visits by appointment only.

Whitewater Hill Vineyards, three and a half miles south of Clinton, is perched on top of fruit-growing Orchard Mesa. The hill that abuts the vineyard divides the Grand Valley and the Delta/Whitewater Valley of the Gunnison. The grapes grown here include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Muscat Blanc. Summer winery and tasting room hours are daily 10 to 6; winter Saturday and Sunday 12 to 6 (Closed January). Ask to see the winery’s remarkable photographic collection.

Reeder Mesa Winery, in Whitewater, is eight miles southwest of Palisade off highway 50 in the foothills of Grand Mesa, with extraordinary views of Grand Mesa and the Gunnison Valley. Doug and Kris Vogel are the vine tenders and winemakers. The wines made here are Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. The winery is open daily from 10 to 5; the tasting room is open Friday, Saturday from 10 to 6, Sunday 10 to 5.