Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wine Industry Booming, Grand Valley at Center of the Growth

by Matt Kroschel

Palisade - Boom and bust.

It has been a Colorado industry model since the days of the gold rush. Winery owners are hoping their boom is here to stay.

“We are seeing huge growth, and it is really starting to pick up around here,” owner Sue Phillips, at Plum Creek Winery in Palisade, said.

For the past 28 years Phillips has been perfecting her blends and refining her tastes. Now, the hard work paying off.

“Our wine is doing very well. We are gaining national notice from the industry,” Phillips added.

But this success is not just at Plum Creek. Across the state, 100 wineries have sprung up. At the Cross Orchards CSU extension office in Orchard Mesa, growing grapes is a real science and for growers the end product is only getting better with time and experience.

“We are seeing second generation growers and wine makers starting to work here and they are using the last couple of decades worth of experience and producing a lot better blends and flavors,” Stephen Menke with CSU Extension Office told NewsChannel 5.

80% of the grapes grown in Colorado come from the Grand Valley, and more than half of all the wineries are located here on the Western Slope.

Back in the tasting room at Plum Creek, Phillips is just trying to keep bottles on the shelves as the industry tries to keep up with the growing demand.

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