Grand Junction, Colo. - Mention wine, and wine enthusiasts' thoughts may turn to regions on the west coast. But for those eager to discover under-the-radar wine trails, complete with stunning scenery, myriad outdoor recreation opportunities and beautiful bed and breakfast inns, think Colorado.
Colorado's wine country, is in far western Colorado, features two American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and nearly 30 wineries and vineyards, including the highest-altitude winery in the country. The wine trails are still small and personal, with all tastings and winery tours free. The owners of the wineries, and winemakers, usually are available to greet and talk with guests.
Bed and breakfast inns
Lodging choices in Colorado's wine country include large hotels, small independent properties and inns. Bed and breakfast inns - offering stunning views, personal service, affordable rates and specials throughout the year - include:
- Bookcliffs Bed and Breakfast - Solar-fueled power; all ground-level rooms; kitchen perpetually open to guests; non-smoking. Rates: $99-150/night.
- Castle Creek B&B - Large, luxury suites; gas fireplaces; in-room microwaves and refrigerators; lush grounds; non-smoking. Rates: $95-125/night.
- The Chateau at Two Rivers Winery - Modern, upscale, boutique, country French chateau architecture and decor; located directly next to the winery; surrounded by the Colorado National Monument, Bookcliff series of buttes, mesas and cliffs, and the world's largest flattop mountain. Rates: $79-145/night.
- Los Altos B&B - Views of the Bookcliffs; unobstructed vantage point above the city of Grand Junction; elegant European hospitality; wrap-around decks; spa, elopement, golf packages; limo tour of wineries; maps and routes for cycling tours of wineries. Rates: $119-215/night.
- Willow Pond - Farmhouse dating from 1916; eco-friendly lodging with pastoral views; surrounded by the Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa, Bookcliffs and wild horse range. Rates: $99-175/night.
- Palisade Wine Valley Inn - Located in small town of Palisade, close to orchards and wineries; next door to a peach orchard and fruit stand; wrap-around front porch; 24-hour European-style spa; honeymoon, anniversary, birthday packages; adult-only; non-smoking. Rates: $89-149/night
- Vistas & Vineyards - Solar-powered electricity; on-site orchard; intricately landscaped yard with bocce court, patio and deck; non-smoking. Rates: $79-139/night.
Activities and attractions
- Fruit/agriculture - Along with grapes, Colorado's wine country is famous for its peaches, pears, cherries, and apples. Orchards offer tours for a close-up view of fruit varieties, organic growing, picking, community supported agriculture, selection, packing, distribution and marketing. Fruit stands at almost every bend on country roads offer homemade jams, jellies and baked goods.
- Scenery - The Grand Valley area surrounding the city of Grand Junction has been likened to a mix of Boulder, Moab and mini-Napa - without the prices or crowds. Spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons line two national scenic byways, the Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. At 10,000 feet, the mesaâ€™s aspen and spruce groves, flowered meadows and more than 200 lakes provide boating, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking adventures.
- Dinosaurs - In the heart of the Colorado-Utah Dinosaur Diamond, the area is internationally known for its wealth of dinosaur excavation sites, exhibits, fossils, and hands-on paleontological activities. Visitors will find the Museum of Western Colorado's Dinosaur Journey with a working paleontology lab and realistic robotic dinosaurs; the Colorado Canyons Conservation; Fruita Paleontological Area Trail; and Dino Digs, opportunities to accompany professional paleontologists on digs ranging from a half-day to five days.
- Golf - Five courses include the renowned Redlands Mesa course, located at the base of the towering pink and red sandstone face of the Colorado National Monument. The Jim Engh-designed course has been ranked among the top 20 public courses in the United States by Golf Digest for four years.
Grand Junction (www.visitgrandjunction.com)
Nestled near 11,000-foot Grand Mesa and the 7,500-foot Book Cliffs, Grand Junction is the largest city in western Colorado. At an altitude of 4,586 feet, warm summers and moderate spring, fall and winter seasons allow for year-round golf, hiking and biking. Boasting more than 275 days of sunshine annually, Grand Junction recently was named one of the eight sunniest cities in the United States by TourismReview.com.
Among Grand Junction's spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons are the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain, the Colorado National Monument, Bookcliff Wild Horse Area, two national scenic byways and five golf courses. Grand Junction lies in the heart of the Colorado-Utah Dinosaur Diamond. The area also is home to Colorado's wine country, with nearly 30 vineyards and wineries.
Contacts: Gaylene Ore, Ore Communications, [email protected], 970-887-2536