GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The world is getting to know Grand Valley wines thanks to advertising and Winefest, putting a Western Colorado commodity on the map. Learning more about the process of growing grapes and making wine, has area vineyards drawing in even more customers.
This week marks the 5th annual VinCO meeting, where wineries across the state can learn about wine making and grape growing skills that will improve the final product- the glass of wine you enjoy at these local wineries or on your table at home.
"The landscape is always changing. So it’s great to learn new things," Glenn Foster said, the CEO of St. Kathryn’s, the Meadery of the Rockies, and Falon Winery.
When Foster showed up in Palisade in 1995, there were only 15 wineries in the state. 20 years later, there are 156 permits for wineries in Colorado, as the industry continues to grow.
"It's a huge boost to tourism, and local ag-produce. We have almost 25 wineries here in the Grand Valley and over 80% of the whole grapes grown in the state are grown in Mesa County, “said Cassidee Shull, with the Colorado Association of Viticulture and Enology.
According to the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, Colorado’s wine economic impact topped $144million in 2013, contributing to more than 16-hundred jobs to the state. Grand Valley wineries say learning from conferences like VinCO, teach them new ways to draw in customers by making their products better than they were before.
"I think we've also just grown in the consumers point of view that I hear it all the time that 'Colorado wine is much better than it was in years past',” said John Garlich with Bookcliff Vineyards. “I think we're all learning from events like this. It really helps us increase the quality."
Not only is our area wine industry bringing in people from across the state to taste our wines- but also from across the world, to experience our culture and western Colorado community.
"We've been on an upward trend for many, many years. It’s an awesome opportunity to bring people in from the world- the world- are coming to drink Colorado wine, and visit our wineries and walk through our vineyards," Shull said.
Grand Valley winery employees feel our wine quality and customer service is improving.
They focus on wine room sales, how to connect with customers, as well as how to attract new ones- a business model designed to drive in business and keep consumers coming back for more.
This was the 5th annual VinCO meeting, bringing in nearly 400 people from across the country to learn about new wine making techniques. The conference will go through Thursday.
The Western Colorado Horticultural Society also hosted sectors of the conference, to enhance our local peach, apple and other farmers in the Grand Valley.