Colorado wine continues to ripen as an industry. According to the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, the number of wineries in the state has increased from two in 1977 to over 150 today. With nine grape-growing and wine-producing regions in the state from the Eastern Plains to the Four Corners, Colorado has become home to an array of high-quality vintners.
Littleton / Denver / Breckenridge
When the restaurateurs who founded Carboy planned to expand wine production along the Front Range, they meant it.
Carboy says it's gone from harvesting 15 tons of Colorado grapes in 2017 to 130 tons in 2019. When grapes from other states like California are added in, the company says it's processed over 150,000 gallons during that same amount of time. "We have surpassed every benchmark we've internally set," the company notes.
In addition to its Littleton processing facility and sales outlet, Carboy has retail locations in Denver and Breckenridge.
Bringing his experience in Sonoma County, California, to the table, Joe Buckel has produced top-rated wines throughout his career.
The company says on its website, "We produce Old-World styled wines with minimal intervention; allowing the terroir and grapes of Colorado to express themselves." The winery uses only Colorado-grown grapes, and -- speaking to its relationship with the growers -- it cites each vineyard on the back of its bottles.
Besides the family's tasting room in Gunnison, Buckel's wines are sold wholesale and retail across Colorado, as well as being shipped out of state. Want an older vintage? They've run out.
That's likely to continue happening into the future. "The overall sales were up 91 percent for 2019," says the company.
Since making its first wines available for sale in 2019, The Storm Cellar has shot out of the gate in top racing form. Esteemed restaurants in Colorado serve its wine, which has also been poured at the James Beard House in Manhattan, and the winery has brought home gold medals from prestigious events.
All the while, its goal has been to raise perceptions -- globally -- about Colorado's ability to produce world-class wine.
Investing heavily in quality control, the business says, "We utilize the highest level of winemaking technology, which allows us to make wines that truly express our unique growing conditions here on the Western Slope."
The winery knows those growing conditions intimately, since it operates in Hotchkiss at the Redstone Vineyard. It also secures grapes from other select Colorado growers.