Appellations define where a wine is made. In the case of true Colorado estate-bottled wines, this would derive from either the Grand Valley or West Elks American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), designated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to convey quality for U.S. wines.
But what about further seals of excellence for quality, in-state wine? Not all of Colorado's best wineries are located near Palisade or Paonia. As long as the wineries use grapes from these areas or from a handful of smaller vineyards along the Front Range, they can bottle their vintages using the "Colorado Grown" label.
One wine expert recently explained how this process is defined.
Under the headline, "'Colorado Grown' Appeals to Consumers Seeking Local Wines," Practical Winery & Vineyard Reporter Don Neel writes:
"Colorado wine consumers can obtain 100 percent Colorado Grown wines. In the infancy of the Colorado wine industry in 1990, drafters of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Act coined the phrase “Colorado Grown,” and included language in the statute that only wine containing 100 percent Colorado fruit could use the phrase on wine labels."
"Two influential drafters of the Act were Steve Smith (who founded Grande River Vineyards in 1987), and Doug Phillips (of Plum Creek Cellars, founded in 1984). The phrase and its use have since become part of the Colorado Liquor Code."
“Some people were happy with the federal 75 percent requirement for the Colorado appellation,” Smith recalls."
“But Doug and I wanted something designating 100 percent, that could be pro-actively promoted.”
To view the full story, go the Colorado Wine Industry & Development Board's press page and download a .PDF file, or simply click here to learn more about Colorado Grown Grapes.