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Colorado Wine: It’s a Journey, Not a Destination

Colorado Wine: It’s a Journey, Not a Destination

Another great VinCO Conference in Colorado this year. The Colorado VinCO conference is one of the best in the nation – period.

One of the reasons it’s outstanding is because the conference actually exists for the industry. The main purpose for CAVE’s existence (Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology) is to promote and educate the Colorado wine industry. That makes this conference a key part of the organization. CAVE does not use VinCO as a fundraiser for the association. The cost for attendance and sponsorship is to cover the cost of the event, and is one of the lowest in the nation. Their intent is to put on a conference that is full of interesting and relevant topics. They bring in experts with depth and experience who are sure to appeal and be useful for growers, winemakers, winery owners, viticulturists and more.  They also always have a top notch keynote speaker that wows and takes the event to a higher level.

The focus for CAVE’s VinCO is to educate the industry.  Pure and simple.  And it works.

Colorado, along with the “other 46” are really in the early building of their wine industries. (Reminder that 30-50 years of building a wine industry after Prohibition is not that long. Think France.) It wasn’t until the late 70’s and early 80’s that Colorado really started their research and growing grapes. And the real industry growth didn’t come until the 90’s. With just a handful of wineries in 1990, Colorado now has over 100.

Each state has its own challenges, and Colorado has had its fair share. From weathering blistering cold spells and mismanagement of vineyards to branding, winery locations and simply making consistent quality wine, Colorado has faced and is facing these challenges head on. The Coloradans who have taken on building their wine industry are tough, smart and persistent. They know that it takes decades to establish solid vineyards with resilient grapes that make quality wine consistently.

Colorado is producing quality wines and improving every year. They have had a 127% growth rate in production over the past 5 years and making more than 140,000 cases per year and are winning medals at international competitions.

Colorado is at the cusp of a big breakthrough and they will have earned every bit of it.

Thank you to CAVE for inviting me to speak – it was an honor!  And thanks to Cassee D Shull and Melinda Treadway for making my visit smooth and valuable.


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