Patricia Kaowthumrong is the Food Editor at 5280 Magazine and in the latest issue of the magazine they feature Colorado wines.

Colorado is one of the most challenging places to grow grapes in the world because of our high elevation, hot, dry summer and short growing season. In fact, over the past 15 to 20 years, the weather has become more and more challenging. The area had damaging unexpected freezes; in October of 2020 a freeze damaged 75% of the state’s most common grape vine species.

To adapt, many wine makers and grape growers on the Western Slope in the Grand Valley American Viticultural Area are turning to grape varieties that aren’t as commonly grown in Colorado—vines that can tolerate the cold. These grapes are also producing new styles—pétillant naturels (aka pét-nats, natural sparkling wines), sparkling blends, Teroldego, Viognier—instead of the typical merlots and cabs, which don’t grow well here.

From these changes, they are diversifying and strengthening Colorado’s wine industry despite the challenges.

To read more on the “Changing Vines”, check out the September issue of 5280 Magazine.