Cheers to Growth in Colorado’s Wine Industry

LAKEWOOD, Colo. –For the first time since the repeal of Prohibition, Colorado wineries reported more than one million liters of wine to the Colorado Department of Revenue, an increase of 10.23 percent over the previous year. Colorado wines’ market share rose to 1.84 percent by volume and represents a 30 percent growth by Colorado wines over the past five years. 

“We are extremely proud of the continued growth of the Colorado wine industry,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. “In the face of a small, difficult harvest in 2010 and ongoing economic uncertainty, our wineries continue to expand.”

There are now 100 licensed wineries in Colorado, 40 of which are east of the Continental Divide.  Front Range wineries contributed 41 percent of the wine reported to the Department of Revenue, while the wineries in the Grand Valley American Viticultural Area, along the Colorado River between Palisade and Grand Junction, accounted for 47 percent.  Eighty percent of the grapes grown in Colorado come from the Grand Valley AVA, though there are also grapes grown in Delta, Montrose, Montezuma, Fremont, Pueblo, Boulder, Larimer, Weld and Kit Carson counties.

“The 2010 grape harvest totaled 10,000 tons; due to severe winter temperatures and spring frosts, this is down by one-third from the 2009 harvest,” said Caskey. “But, it is often that same unpredictable weather coupled with low humidity that gives Colorado wine its world-class flavor.”

State statutes require Colorado licensed wineries to report and pay excise tax on the volume of wine they produce at any time before the first sale within Colorado. As not all wineries file their reports with the Department of Revenue at the same point in the distribution process, these numbers do not represent a reliable snapshot of sales or production within a given period. Year to year, however, these numbers provide a consistent point of comparison and evidence of continued growth.

For a link to the report visit and click on “About,” “Industry Resources” and “Colorado Wine Industry Information” or visit  Contact Doug Caskey at (720) 304-3406 or email for more information.

The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB) is an agency of the Colorado Department of Agriculture dedicated to promoting and furthering the development of Colorado’s grape growers and vintners. More than one-third of the CWIDB budget goes to CSU for viticultural and enological research.

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