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“Morgan Community College will serve as a catalyst to grow the grape and wine industry in Eastern Colorado. Through the Viticulture and Enology program, MCC will develop a workforce skilled in the craft of grape and wine production, advocate for multiple grape varietal production, incubate start-up businesses, educate communities and tourists about grapes and wine, and promote agritourism throughout the region.”
-Dr. Curt Freed
Northeastern Colorado Center for
Viticulture & Enology
The Viticulture and Enology Center serves three primary purposes. First, it is the instructional hub for teaching the development and care of wine grapes and wine production. Second, the Center serves as an entrepreneurial center to promote the creation of grape, wine, and related businesses throughout the region. Third, the viticulture and enology program and teaching winery is intended to spark economic and workforce development and add value to agricultural and tourism economy in northeastern Colorado.
The Viticulture and Enology Center expands on the rich agricultural heritage of northeastern Colorado by expanding crop opportunities into grape varietals that grow in this diverse climate. The associated wine development and entrepreneurial development is intended to benefit the region economically through wine sales and the promotion of agri-tourism.
Educating the workforce in bold new ways…
Although only a handful of commercial grape growers and wine-makers exist in eastern Colorado, the potential exists for many more. Viticulture and enology is a major economic tool, driving tourists and revenue into communities across
Many varieties of grapes exist that grow well in our high altitude and climate, and can be used to make great wine. It’s a new bold direction with a significant regional return on investment.
Businesses that utilize grapes grown in Northeastern Colorado
Country Road Vines and Wines
Country Road Vines and Wines came to life in 2019 with the first bottles of wine sold in the spring of 2020. The story started in 2012 with the wine made in the kitchen and shared with family and friends. The decision to plant a vineyard and open a winery in Northeast Colorado has been quite a journey! We invite you to come out and sip on vintages that can only be found in Fort Morgan, Colordao.
Blue Mountain Vineyards
Blue Mountain Vineyards is located west of Berthoud, Colorado. Both winery and vineyard are nestled up against the foothills of the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park. The winery itself was constructed on a plot of farmland that was once a pasture but now hosts many trees and gardens as well as the vineyard.
Mummy Hill, a micro-winery in Holyoke, Colorado, produces wines from two cold-hardy varieties—Marquette and Osceola Muscat. Marquette grapes produce a medium-bodied red wine. The Muscat grapes produce an aromatic white wine. They also import varieties from the western slope to fill out their wine list.
River Garden Winery
River Garden Winery is located in Fort Lupton. River Garden Winery began in 2005 when Bob and Mary Stahl planted their first vines as an experiment to test growing grapes in Eastern Colorado. Hardy varieties were planted. The vines produce quality grapes which are used to make their estate wines.
The Center includes laboratory facilities for making and testing wine, a large tasting room that serves as a classroom and event space, a barrel room for aging wines and hosting for small gatherings, a small kitchen to support caterers, and office and other support spaces.
Tasting Room: 1,375 Square Feet
Fermentation Room: 1,300 Square Feet
Barrel Room: 500 Square Feet
Scientific Laboratory: 400 Square Feet
Size & Location
4,500 square feet to be located on Barlow Road, adjacent to the MCC Fort Morgan Campus at 920 Barlow Road.
$2.4 million, funded through capital campaign and MCC reserves. Includes a 10% contingency for cost escalations.
Colorado Wine Industry
“[A] report, commissioned by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, shows that consumers in Colorado paid on average $16.68 per bottle for Colorado-made wine compared with an average of $6.14 for all other wines.
‘We see this as an indication that Colorado wine drinkers consider our local wines as a special-occasion selection, perfect for their holiday feasts,’ said Dawn Thilmany, an economics professor at Colorado State University and the report’s lead researcher.
Sales of local wines jumped from $19.1 million in fiscal year 2011 to $28.2 million [in 2013]. Production in Colorado grew to 335,000 gallons, a 14% increase from the previous year…
CSU researchers concluded that wine tourism generates $103 million annually in direct and indirect economic activity.”