Colorado Wine Country is as beautiful as Napa, except with added beauty - a mountain backdrop.
Outside and inside the cellar at Stone Cottage Cellars. The family moved from Boulder, CO to this area and built this cellar themselves about 5 years ago. The father worked for NASA and the mother was in marketing, they left their jobs to open a winery in the Paonia valley. It has become a labor of love.This is the view from Terror Creek winery. The Vintner, Joan, spent several years of her life living in Switzerland, working in the vineyards and going to school there. Her diploma (written in French) is proudly hung on the wall in the tasting room, alongside beautiful photos of Switzerland vineyards. She taught us about "hot" wines that get their name from having very high alcohol content. She served us a Gewurztraminer with 19% - it was so "hot" because of so many freezes they had this spring. When it freezes, the sugar content rises and is locked into the grape, causing a higher alcohol content.
View of the West Elks mountain range from Azura winery and gallery. The owners of this winery and gallery are from San Francisco originally. In the 90's they bought a sail boat and spent 6 1/2 years sailing around the world. When they returned to California, they sold the boat and moved to the Paonia valley to have a space to create art. They eventually built their gallery and home, doing all the custom stonework themselves with stone from the area, and decided to sell wine as well. The view is amazing from their porch.
While we were in the area, we drove to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison - an absolutely amazing natural creation!To leave wine country, and head west, we had to drive up and over the Grand Mesa. This is a picture of the top of Grand Mesa at about 10,000 feet - there were several reservoirs that were created in the 1800's with irrigation that runs down into wine country. This is an ice and snow covered reservoir (in May!), with the San Juan and West Elk mountain ranges in the background - you can faintly see the white peaks if you squint.This is the view from the top of Grand Mesa looking North. Looking south is green and lush like the Missouri/Arkansas Ozarks, looking north is more arid and dry like Arizona/Utah.This is the view from the Grand Mesa looking north, the area looks a lot like the "Dead Lands" in South Dakota, with layers of different colored rock.We finished the trip with meeting Chad, Michelle and their friend Jonathan in Breckenridge for dinner. This is a picture of the drive from Glenwood Springs east to Breckenridge. I-70 East is on the lower tier, and I-70 West on the upper tier, beside the Colorado river. It really is a beautiful drive. There is a bicycle path that follows the entire highway, alongside the river.