The Grand Valley wine industry uncorked a record harvest in 2008, with vineyards picking more than double the amount of grapes they got in 2007. They say the successful harvest could mean great things in 2009.
"To make really spectacular wine, you need wonderful grapes," said Nancy Janes, owner and wine maker of Whitewater Hills Vineyards.
And wonderful grapes is just what she says she got during her most recent harvest. She's been growing them on her vineyard for 13 years and says 2008 definitely stands out.
"We had a very good size crop," said Janes. "I think most wine producers in Colorado are up a little bit in crop."
But even more important than the quantity in 2008, she says, is the quality in 2008.
"We're very excited about the color and the flavors we're seeing in the 2008 wines," said Janes.
Just a few miles away, Grande River Vineyards says 2008 was extremely kind to them as well, thanks to the mild weather during the growing season.
"We had a pretty consistent year," said Corey Norsworthy, wine maker at Grande River Vineyards. "The good, cooler climate during the growing season helped out a lot. It wasn't excessively hot, so we had the luxury of waiting a bit longer [to harvest the grapes]."
Colorado's viticulturist estimates the 2008 harvest yielded 1,800 to 2,000 tons of wine grapes, the most on record -- way up from 2007, when only 700 tons were harvested.
"The main problem we had in 2007 was that we had a lot of winter damage that year," said Janes. "So the crop was very small."
The vineyards say they have much more to look forward to this year, though, as they begin bottling their 2008 wines.
"They're just beautiful," said Janes. "Wonderful aromas, wonderful flavors, so we're very excited about what we're putting in the bottle here."
And they hope wine lovers are just as excited.
"Time will tell when the consumers taste it, but we at Grande Rivers think it was a pretty successful year," said Norsworthy.