Palisade, Colorado; Population 2,600  Grand Valley AVA

Pal-i-sade, noun; A line of bold cliffs (Miriam-Webster

For me finding this place was a real Rocky Mountain High!

View of Palisades surrounding the Valley

View of Palisades surrounding the Valley


Driving through the Rocky Mountains with my dog Pickle; I’ve done it many times absorbed in the immense remains of the Quarternary flood plains and wrecked upthrust and torn down mountains. The landscape is truly a wonder and in places like being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Missed the wine country there until this trip.

Driving through the Canyons

Driving through the Canyons (Note the Dust Devil on the right!)

Palisade, Colorado,  It’s where most of the wine in Colorado is produced.  At elevation 4,700 feet, next to the Colorado River, on a cobbled and gravelly flood plain from ancient ice age times, it is a perfect location for the 20 wineries founded here.  Irrigation is via canals from the Colorado River

While very high in altitude it isn’t surprising to find terrific wine from grapes grown in this remote up-country place.  Catena, a hundred year old winery in Argentina, produces excellent Malbec, Cabernet and whites at 9,000 feet altitude!



I stopped at Canyon Wind Cellars,  one of the largest wineries in Colorado producing about 5,500 cases yearly, most of which is sold in Colorado.  The Christiansons, who own the vineyard, have the assistance of winemaker, Robert Pepi, of Napa Valley, and use sustainable low-interventation wine growing practices.  I tasted their 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, a full bodied, elegant wine with a great mouth-feel and finish, and at $30 a bottle, is an excellent value.  Only 424 cases are produced and they do sell and ship to many States where allowed.  

View through the Winery

View through the Winery


They only produce wines from fruit grown on the 47 acre estate.  I was unable to taste their reserve Cab or Port from Cab but enjoyed their excellent 2010 Petite Verdot rated 89 by the Beverage Tasting Institute.  

great picnic area

great picnic area

This AVA is definitely worth an overnight stop if you are traveling across the Rockies on Route 70.  Next trip I plan an overnight to learn more about the wineries and wines made here.


Photo on right is Stacy Smith, Sensory Tour Guide with Pickle in the shady picnic area for guests.


  1. Jannie Penfield /

    Really beautiful country Dave. Glad u r having a great retirement. Hope to see you next year. Jan

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