MNN Galleries

7 lesser-known U.S. wine regions to visit

By: Josh Lew on Jan. 17, 2013, noon
sunset in a Grand Valley winery

Photo: Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau

2 of 9

Colorado's Western Slope

Colorado is a great place for skiing, climbing and trekking. But few people know that it is one of the best places outside of California for a winery tour. The vineyards located on the Western Slope of the Rockies sit in the perfect climate for growing certain types of grapes. These vineyards are at relatively high altitudes, but the unique weather patterns of the Western Slope mean that it is still possible to produce grapes that can be turned into high quality wines. 

One of the best things about this viticulture area is that the vineyards, found around towns like Palisade and Grand Junction, are mainly family-owned. The atmosphere of these places lacks a lot of the pretensions that are found in some other wine areas' tasting rooms. The Western Slope is a wine region for regular folks. 

Some wineries also grow fruits and berries and allow visitors into their orchards during harvest season. This feature makes the Western Slope a great destination for families who want to give kids something to do while their parents are on the wine trail. The amazing rural scenery is a major reason to choose this area for a viticultural vacation. A handful of state parks, the Grand Mesa National Forest and the Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Range are all within driving distance of the vineyards.