Terror Creek Winery

Highest Altitude Commercial Vineyard in the World

For the best view from a Colorado winery -- and perhaps any winery in the world -- take your car up Garvin Mesa north of the Western Slope town of Paonia. At the end of the road is 6,400-foot Terror Creek Winery, named for the stream that washes the mesa.

From the small parking lot look across the North Fork of Gunnison River Valley to Landsend and Lamborn Peaks and on to the West Elk Mountains.

If this reminds you of Switzerland, it is appropriate. That's where Joan Mathewson learned her winemaking skills -- she's the only winemaker in the state with a degree from a Swiss wine college -- and that's one of the reasons the Mathewsons chose the winery's location when John retired from the oil business in 1990. 

The Mathewsons have 10 acres of vines, not including some experimental vines that Colorado State University planted in the 1970s on their property to see how they would do at 6,400-feet elevation. That altitude makes Terror Creek the highest winery in the country and perhaps the world.

When you arrive at the winery you may be greeted by Maggie, Joan's border collie, although she often lies in the shade during the summer.  The Mathewsons have tables and lawn chairs set up under the shade trees for guests to sip wine and marvel at the view.

Excerpted from
The Guide to Colorado Wineries (2nd Edition)
by Alta and Brad Smith
Fulcrum Publishing, 2002

Terror Creek Winery
1750 4175 Dr.
Paonia, CO 81428 
Phone:  (970) 527-3484
Wines: Gewurztraiminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir 
(From Paonia: 1 mile east of Hwy 133, north on 4175 Dr. to end) 
Tasting Room Hours: 11-5 Fri-Sat or by appt 

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Guide to Colorado Wineries
by Brad & Alta Smith
Fulcrum, 2002

Self-made Colorado wine connoiseurs Brad and Alta Smith visit, write about and teach classes on their state's wineries more often than anyone. The second edition of their thorough guidebook profiles 38 wineries -- more than double the 16 wineries covered in the first edition just five years earlier.

"Wine and food go together, with one enhancing the other," they point out. "Therefore, we have included recipes, grouped together in the back of the book, nearly all of which were contributed by the wineries themselves."
(see Terror Creek Winery's Country Chicken Casserole) The Smith's guide is a helpful reference for both the casual traveler and the serious wine enthusiast. Along with histories and descriptions of each winery, they include maps, contact information and lists of local wine-related events and festivals.

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