It’s no longer a shock that American winemaking isn’t relegated strictly to northern California. But it still sometimes comes as a surprise when we learn just how much wine is coming out of unexpected—and close to home—places. A very pleasant surprise.
There are wineries all over the Southwest, but because we tend to be an active bunch, we’re particularly partial to the Fruit and Wine Byway near Palisade, Colorado. Nestled along the back roads of this funky little town in the desert mountains of northwest Colorado are dozens of tasting rooms and miles of flat roads, perfect for cycling.
There are a variety of routes to take, but the longest, at 25 miles, is easily done in a day (as long as you don’t go overboard at the tasting rooms). And you may have to remind yourself: Those aren’t wine goggles you’re wearing—the scenery really is that stunning. The ride is set in the shadows of the region’s iconic red rock mesas, and runs along the Colorado River for a time.
When it comes to where to stop, there are a bevy of options, but we’re big fans of Carlson Vineyards and Grande River Vineyards. Both offer free tastings, but be sure to bring a backpack—you’ll want to nab a bottle or two to take home.