West Elks AVA

west-elks-ava-300It is no coincidence that our friends and neighbors make great wine! Nearly a dozen wineries are nestled here in a special region designated as the West Elks AVA: Black Bridge Winery, Stone Cottage Cellars, Alfred Eames Cellars, Terror Creek Winery, 5680 Cellars, Azura Cellars, Leroux Creek Vineyards, North Fork Cellars and Mesa Winds Farm and Winery.

This North Fork – Paonia – Hotchkiss region has gained a reputation as a premium local food and wine mecca, with a landscape so remarkable that there are three Scenic Byways and thousands of acres of protected wilderness. It’s a destination you don’t want to miss.

Colorado is considered one of the finest emerging wine areas in the U.S.

The mesas and river valleys on the western side of the Colorado Rocky Mountains have been premium grape-growing country for more than a century. During Prohibition, vineyards were uprooted and replaced with orchards. Modern vineyards began in earnest in the late 1960s with classic wine-grape varieties. Because Colorado’s vineyards are the highest in North America (4500 to over 7000 feet above sea level), the humidity is very low and our soils quite alkaline. . . our wines are unique. West Elks wineries have been recognized with numerous awards and draw visitors from far and wide. 

What does AVA stand for?

Our wineries are situated in a special area designated as the West Elks AVA. AVA stands for American Viticulture Area, which identifies unique geographic and climactic features that distinguish the qualities of a region’s grape growing. The West Elks AVA encompasses the lands surrounding Paonia, Hotchkiss, and northwesterly of Highway 133.

West Elks AVA info and events

Visit Paonia – North Forks in western Colorado

 Pinot noir grapes thrive when they have a spectacular view, like here in the West Elks! In the wine cave, winemaker Lee Bradley will top the barrels because wine is lost during aging. This is called the “Angel’s Share.” 

Winemaker Lee Bradley

To learn more about wine, watch for our events. It’s a great way to drink in the West Elks.