Colorado Wines: What We're Making

A closer look at what types of grapes are growing around Colorado.

According to the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, 85 percent of Colorado's vineyard acreage is planted in premium vitis vinifera (a common grape vine, native to Europe and Asia) varietals, with merlot accounting for nearly one-fifth of that amount.

What We're Planting

Merlot, 19.3%

Cabernet Sauvignon, 18.6%

Syrah, 15.4%

Chardonnay, 11.3%

Riesling, 8.5% 

Cabernet Franc, 7.1%

Viognier, 2.9%

Gewurtztraminer, 2.4%

Sauvignon Blanc, 2.4%

Pinot Noir, 2.3%

Other, 10%

Wine Descriptions

Merlot grapes are native to the Bordeaux region of France. They are the second most favored red grape in the US, produce a medium tannin level wine that is recommended for new wine enthusiasts and pairs well with a variety of foods. Taste this wine at Colorado Cellars, Colterris Winery, DeBeque Canyon Winery, Grand River Vineyards, Gubbini Winery, Maison la Belle Vie, Talon Winery, Plum Creek Cellars, Stoney Mesa Vineyards, Red Fox Cellars, Two Rivers Winery & Chateau and Whitewater Hill Vineyards

Cabernet Sauvignon is a durable red grape traditionally associated with the Bordeaux region of France, although it is currently grown throughout the world. The most popular red in the US, it is considered tannin-dense, acidic and full-bodied. Taste this wine at Colorado CellarsColterris WineryGubbini WineryMaison la Belle VieTalon WineryPlum Creek CellarsRed Fox CellarsTwo Rivers Winery & Chateau and Whitewater Hill Vineyards

Syrah (aka Shiraz by Australian winemakers) originates from southeastern France and is one of the darkest, tannin-rich, acidic wines on the market. It is best with meat, but pairs well with many foods. Taste this wine at Colorado Cellars, Garfield Estates Vineyard & WineryGrand River VineyardsGubbini WineryMaison la Belle ViePlum Creek CellarsTwo Rivers Winery & Chateau and Whitewater Hill Vineyards

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine grape in the world and hails from the Burgundy region of France, where it is known as White Burgurdy. A component of many sparkling wines, it is lean, fresh and crisp. Taste this wine at Carlson VineyardsColorado CellarsColterris Winery, DeBeque Canyon Winery, Grand River VineyardsGubbini WineryTalon WineryPlum Creek CellarsTwo Rivers Winery & Chateau and Whitewater Hill Vineyards

Riesling stems from the Rhine region of Germany. It is known for a high-level of acidity, floral aromas and sweet taste, although it can from dry to very sweet, depending on the maker and cultivation site. Taste this wine at Carlson VineyardsColorado CellarsGrand River VineyardsTalon WineryPlum Creek Cellars, Stoney Mesa Vineyards, Two Rivers Winery & Chateau and Whitewater Hill Vineyards


Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes


Cabernet Franc is native to the most famous wine regions of France - Bordeaux and Loire Valley. Often found in Bordeaux blends, its a pale red with herb-like and earthy flavors that pair well with a variety of meats. Taste this wine at Colterris Winery, DeBeque Canyon Winery, Grand River VineyardsPlum Creek CellarsRed Fox Cellars and Whitewater Hill Vineyards.

Viognier originates from the Rhone region of France. It is a temperamental grape with low yields, so it's prized by connoisseurs. Like Chardonnay, it can produce a full-bodied flavor with a soft-sweet finish that pairs well with spicy foods. Taste this wine at Garfield Estates Vineyard & WineryGrand River VineyardsTalon Winery and Whitewater Hill Vineyards.

Gewurtztraminer traditionally comes from the Alsace region of France. This sweet, white wine has a mild fruit aroma and is great on its own or paired with spicy entrees. Taste this wine at Carlson VineyardsColorado Cellars, DeBeque Canyon Winery, Gubbini Winery, Stoney Mesa Vineyards and Whitewater Hill Vineyards.

Sauvignon Blanc is another white grape from the Bordeaux region of France. One of the most popular with Americans, the wine is acidic and boasts a low level of sugar. Crisp, refreshing and dry, this wine is great alone or paired. Taste this wine at Colterris Winery, DeBeque Canyon, Garfield Estates Vineyard & Winery, Grand River Vineyards, Gubbini Winery and Plum Creek Cellars.

Pinot Noir originates from the Burgundy region of France, where it is known has Red Burgundy. Difficult to cultivate, this wine can be pricey and rare. With earthy tones and fruity characteristics, this wine pairs well with any food. Taste this wine at Colorado Cellars, DeBeque Canyon Winery, Gubbini Winery and Maison la Belle Vie.

Syrah (Shiraz) Grapes