Grand Junction Wineries & Vineyards
Few realize that Colorado's (and notably Grand Junction's) winemaking industry goes back over a century. Settlers on the Western Slope found the Grand Valley area to be ideal for fruit and grapes, and by 1899, the U.S. Department of Commerce was reporting a Colorado grape harvest of 586,300 pounds and wine production of 1,744 gallons. The razing of vineyards during Prohibition proved to be a major setback for the industry, and the industry did not fully recover until modernization of growing and production techniques in the late 1960's.
In 1977, the Colorado General Assembly enacted the Colorado Limited Winery Act to permit small "farm wineries" and paved the way for more commercial wineries and developments to open in the next 10 years. By 1990 the industry had developed to the extent that the General Assembly passed further legislation, the Colorado Wine Industry Development Act, to create the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board under the authority of the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
As of 2000, Colorado has an estimated 450 acres of vineyards and 33 licensed commercial wineries with more than $4.2 million in sales. These wineries are primarily small, family enterprises, although increasing recognition of the quality of Colorado wines has allowed several wineries to expand production and distribution on a national, and even international basis.
To add to its clout as a great place grow fruits, vegetables, and grapes, Grand Junction and the surrounding communities are home to nearly half of all wineries and vineyards in the state of Colorado.