Colorado Wine Industry Development Board Anticipates Strong Year in Sales as a Result of 2015's Robust Harvest

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Colorado Winemakers Reporting Strong Start to 2016 Season

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"Colorado wine is in a great place for success because millennials are more willing to try new and different things." Garrett Portra, new Colorado winery owner

Colorado’s Wine Industry Development Board has reported a positive spike in Colorado’s wine production and sales timed to the start of the 2016 tourism season. The wine industry, which contributes nearly 1700 jobs to Colorado’s overall economy, according to a 2014 CSU study, has been on the rise over the last 22 years, sustaining an average annual growth rate of nearly 15 percent. Thanks to a mild winter and near perfect growing season, the 2015 grape harvest yielded a record high volume of more than 2000 tons. Prior to that, in fiscal year 2015 Colorado wineries reported 148,428 cases of wine production to the Colorado Department of Revenue, which equals an estimated $30 million in sales.

“We are pleased to see our state’s winemakers reaping the benefits of last year’s bountiful harvest and we are looking forward to another fruitful year in 2016,” said Doug Caskey, Executive Director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. “More and more people are realizing the high quality and remarkable wines available across the state as well as the pleasure that comes with visiting many of these locations. “

Colorado is home to over 140 licensed wineries and 120 grape growers who combined to produce a total of 1,335,850 liters of wine in Colorado during the 2014/2015 season, a 20% increase from the year before. Several wineries reported increases of anywhere between 9 and 20% last year.

2016 is expected to bring even better results for the Colorado Wine Industry due to an exceptional grape harvest in 2015. Poor harvests in previous years created an opportunity to plant grapes in new areas of the state using unique, cold-tolerant grape varieties. Thus far for 2016, many wineries report tasting room sales up as much as 31% and sales to liquor stores up 37% compared to the same portion of 2015. The wine industry in Colorado is thriving.

“Our state has a great, young industry and needs to stay the course because it is a positive one,” said Garrett Portra, a new winery owner who purchased Carlson Vineyards in Palisade during 2015. “Colorado wine is in a great place for success because millennials are more willing to try new and different things, and the very fact that this wine is produced in Colorado makes it an obscure wine in a sense to a traditionalist.”

The Colorado Wine Industry generated well over $100 million of economic impact from wine tourism, according to the 2014 CSU study. That’s more than twice the economic impact from wine sales alone.

About the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board
The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board is an agency of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, dedicated to promoting and furthering the development of Colorado’s grape growers and approximately 130 wineries. For additional information, visit

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Courtney Lis
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