A resurgence of grapes in southern colorado is giving esoteric wines a spotlight (colorado sun)

By sue Mcmillin
October 15, 2023

Fremont County winemakers are finding the grapes that fit right into the state’s often unpredictable climate

Bugling Elk Vineyard and Winery Glass of Wine

Shawn Kauffman wanted to grow Malbec grapes at his Bugling Elk Vineyards and Winery in Penrose, CO. Badly. He planted more than 1,400 vines in 2018 to grow grapes for wine that would rival the finest Argentinian Malbec. 

Then he added more.

Five years later, Kauffman is “done with Malbec.”

“I have lost over 3,000 vines in the last five years,” he said. “I wanted Malbec, but I’m done with Malbec. Live and learn. I’ve learned more by the losses than the successes.”

In early July, Kauffman and his wife, Alexis, opened Bugling Elk, the newest winery tasting room in Penrose, enthusiastically serving up nearly a dozen wines, including his new loves: Marquette and Cabernet Doré. His new favored wines each took a Silver Medal at the August Governor’s Cup competition at Metropolitan State University.

Kauffman’s grape experimentation isn’t over, and in fact is emblematic of what’s going on at farms, orchards, and vineyards across the country in the face of climate change and water and labor shortages.

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