As Colorado’s Western Slope offers an ideal climate for growing many grape varietals, the state’s viticultural sector is increasingly bearing exceptional fruit.Case in point: the three finalists for the 2022 Colorado Manufacturing Awards’ Colorado Winery of the Year.

Pictured above: Sauvage Spectum’s vineyard in Palisade.

atōst (Golden)

Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020, atōst celebrated its first full year in business last year, when it sold more than 10,000 bottles of aperitivos, 1,800 cocktails and welcomed more than 6,000 new customers.

“Our mission at atōst has always been to celebrate golden hour, slowing down during the transition from day to night and raising a glass,” says Kyle Pressman, who with his wife, Cindy, created the business. “We wanted to inspire that moment through the classic aperitif, but we wanted to make them in a way that spoke to the modern consumer, the modern drinker.”

Each atōst flavor begins with a base white wine made in its 2,000-square-foot Golden winery. The premium grape spirits are blended with fresh fruits, herbs and botanicals to create a flavorful spirit.

Nearly 75 percent of atōst’s business is direct to consumer, a unique strategy in the alcohol space.

“Being legally a wine, we focus heavily on our digital and social marketing efforts to build a direct relationship with our consumer and meet them where they are,” Pressman says. “We then pair these online experiences with physical ones, creating activations that bring aperitivo hour to light.”

Carboy Winery (Littleton)

Already among the largest wine producers in the state, Carboy Wineries acquired two estate vineyards in the Grand Valley on Colorado’s Western Slope last year

It also expanded its grape-growing operations to Horse Heaven Hills in Washington state as well as purchasing tanks and barrels to make its Washington wines on site there.

Adding flare to Carboy’s growing list of offerings, Carboy’s next goal is to become a sparkling wine house. It wants to produce up to 10,000 cases of sparkling wine annually from its new 4,000-square-foot Palisade facility and put Colorado in the national spotlight for world-class sparkling wine.

As Carboy adds to its offerings, it makes sure that its employees are engaged in all aspects of the business. “Carboy’s growth comes from creating a great product, creating opportunity for those who helped build the company and from staff and management engagement,” Carboy CEO Kevin Webber says. “Employee retention is a cornerstone of Carboy’s culture. Staff and management are seated at the table, and we encourage idea sharing, resulting in higher-than-average employee retention.”

Sauvage Spectrum (Palisade)

Sauvage Spectrum launched four new products in 2021, adding to the diverse award-winning collection it’s created since it was founded in 2019.

Sauvage offers the full spectrum of wines, including sparkling wines and low- and no-sulfate wines to big blockbuster reds. Its new products are:

  • Piquette (perfect for hard seltzer drinkers)

  • Pet-Nat Hops (dry-hopped Pet-Nat; great for beer drinkers)

  • Pet-Nat Skins (for Orange wine fans)

  • Petit Verdot (a big red co-fermented with Viognier)

“Diversity and innovation are a big pull as we are consistently offering new varieties and styles of wines through restoring ancient techniques and embracing new trends,” says Kaibab Sauvage, the winery’s co-founder and wine grower.

The winery’s tasting room is in the middle of its production facility so visitors can watch the wines they are sampling being produced. The 10-acre estate vineyard boasts 360-degree views of fruit trees and vineyards and panoramic views of Grand Mesa and the Book Cliffs.

“This relaxed, scenic yet engaging environment, coupled with a diverse selection of wines, make for a very memorable experience,” Sauvage says.

The winners of the 2022 Colorado Manufacturing Awards will be revealed on April 7 in Denver. The event is open to all Colorado business enthusiasts and stakeholders. REGISTER HERE for the 2022 CMA Winners Reveal & Gala.