“Terroir” describes a vineyard’s growing attributes, including weather, soil, water, slope, etc.
Our vineyards are located on the gravely, clay loam soils on the South bank of the Colorado River on the East Orchard Mesa in Palisade, Colorado. We are in the Grand Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA). The land slopes 2-4% North which is ideal for our climate to delay bud break and minimize overheating in the prodigious Colorado sunshine. Cold air drains freely over 150 foot bluffs to the valley below. Although our vineyards are about the same latitude as Napa, CA, our climate is continental and more akin to Eastern Washington state and the Northern Rhone of France. Our climate is very similar to the latter, and in fact, some of our varieties grow even better here than in their native homeland!
The dry air reduces pest and fungal disease and so reduces the amount of required pesticides compared to other grape growing regions in maritime or humid areas. The warm days and cool nights generated at 4300 foot altitude assure good tannin and phenol development. Warm, sunny days are important for grape ripening, but cool nights prevent the loss of acidity which is important for high quality wine.
Although most visitors to Colorado would initially assume it to be more appropriate for white, cool climate grapes, the Grand Valley AVA is actually quite warm. Sun-loving reds are more popular with growers here but there are important exceptions.