There’s a road in Southwest Colorado where the rocks take the shape of sculptures, where canyons are speckled by twisted green trees and low-lying mesas are camouflaged by vineyards. In addition to being home to thousands of ancient archeology sites, this is grape growing country.
Located in the western part of Mesa Verde Country, close to the border of Utah, Road G runs from Cortez to Hovenweep, and there are lots of reasons to drive down this winding county road.
Of course, Hovenweep National Monument should be on your agenda when you visit Mesa Verde Country, but taking it slow on your way there is my recommendation and here’s why.
Don’t miss Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. There’s a trailhead located on Road G, and we did an hour-long hike in this park and didn’t see another soul, but we did see ancient Puebloan ruins. The history and remoteness of the red hued landscape means that hiking here is a surreal experience.
In addition to recreational opportunities, Road G is home to two very different wineries, although both have furry greeters who will meet you at your car door with tail wags and wet kisses.
If you’re driving from Cortez, first up is Guy Drew Vineyards where the “visitor bell” is a pack of excitedly barking dogs. Don’t worry, they’re friendly.
Guy and Ruth Drew started planting their vineyards in 1999, and since then they have become experts in farming grapes in the area, which isn’t an easy task. There’s a real danger of late-spring frost here and during the growing season days get very hot and nights can be cooler than in other grape-growing areas of Colorado.
Despite the hurdles, Guy Drew Vineyards has produced (and is producing) amazing and award winning wine. Guy and Ruth’s sprawling adobe style home serves as the location for visitors to enjoy the product of their labors, and I’d advise you to leave all pretensions at the door when you arrive. The Drews are some of the most genuine people I’ve met and Ryan and I truly enjoyed our experience at their vineyard. The tasting room is open 12 to 5 p.m. on most days.
Hot Tip: You’ll want to get your hands on Guy Drew’s 2016 Yucca House Cabernet Sauvignon. I got to sneak a taste and it’s delicious. It will be available in about a year, but you can find Guy Drew’s great wines in many Colorado liquor stores.
Keep traveling west on Road G, past the Canyon of the Ancient parking area, and you’ll find Sutcliffe Vineyards. Just off the main road, down a gravel lane and past a venerable cottonwood tree, you’ll likely be greeted by a giant St. Bernard and his corgi sidekick.
Founded by Welshman, John Sutcliffe, he first planted vines on his Southwestern Colorado property in 1995. A bit of a renaissance man, Sutcliffe has led an intriguing life, but his passion for winemaking has led to his love of this secluded area of the country. If you get the opportunity to talk to John while visiting the vineyard, I think you’ll appreciate his insight into wine and the wine business. Plus, he has a great accent.
At Sutcliffe, guests are encouraged to pull up a chair at one of the bright blue tables dotting the patio and relax. Lulu will serve you a taste or a glass of one of Sutcliffe’s delightful wines as you take in the serenity of the place.
Sutcliffe is open 12 to 5 p.m. daily or you can book an appointment. Their highly-regarded, award winning wines are available in these stores.
Continue on Road G and you’ll discover one of Colorado’s best-hidden gems, Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch. Read all about it in an upcoming HeidiTown post. In the meantime don’t miss my previous Mesa Verde Country post, Cortez, Colorado: Blending the Past & Present.
Thank you to Mesa Verde Country for hosting us on our Southwest Colorado adventures.
I’m scheduling a trip soon. Nice article!