Book Cliffs Overlooking the Grand Valley
Image of the Book Cliffs overlooking the Grand Valley

Generated by AI Test Kitchen by Google

Colorado Wine Country according to AI

I wrote a wine blog. Correction, I instructed the AI platform ChatGPT to write a wine blog. 

In actuality, I had ChatGPT write five wine blogs based on my query to compare and contrast Colorado’s two AVAs, the Grand Valley and West Elks. 

It took less than a minute to write each blog.

I write a lot, so learning the capability of AI to produce written material has been at the forefront of my mind. I wanted to learn how accurate and complete AI-generated content can be, as well as its capabilities providing topic organization, relevance, and context. Bottomline, would it read and feel as if written by a human?

From a downbeat perspective, I wanted to learn what we’re up against with the ever-increasing use of AI to produce written materials on specialized subjects.

My interest in toying with AI was initially sparked by wine blogger Jo Diaz, who used AI to generate a blog. As written in one of my Musings, I experimented with Google’s AI Test Kitchen to generate wine-growing valley images. 

The results were surprisingly good.

I promised a follow-up using AI to generate a blog. Promised kept, keep reading…

North Fork Valley Illustration
Image of the Lamborns overlooking the North Fork Valley (West Elks AVA)

Generated by Google's AI Test Kitchen

Following are several takeaways from my AI writing experiment. 

After takeaways, I’ve provided the AI-generated blog version I enjoyed the most below, with inserted AI-generated images. 

I’ve shared the entirety of each blog on my ChatGPT site.

My initial instructions to ChatGPT were to: 

Write a blog under 1000 words comparing and contrasting two Colorado wine-growing and wine-making areas. The Grand Valley AVA and West Elks AVA.

After the initial generation (30 seconds give or take), I asked ChatGPT to add agricultural historical elements. Then, I asked for the style of the content to be conversational. For the fourth take, my inquiry asked for the content to be conveyed via a humorous conversation between two couples. Adding winery visits and lodging recommendations with corresponding URLs was my last request (this inquiry was added after the initial four, so the results are available here).

Two older couples enjoying wine in a vineyard
Two older couples enjoying wine

Image generated by AI Test Kitchen Ugh, just ugh...

I provide the conversation between the two couples below. Stylistically, the version doesn’t well suit a blog. It does reasonably convey the topic in a lively and easy-to-read tone.

Driving the storyline is a couple knowledgeable about Colorado wine, who conversationally inform the other couple. They are embarking on a wine adventure. The approach is an excellent conveyance vehicle, though there are awkward topic insertions. For example, I sense that wine neophytes are less interested in regional soil types than in learning about unique regional settings.

Takeaways?

The content generally reads like an encyclopedia—dry with lots of detail. It is well organized by topic, has an opening and closing, and is reasonably accurate. The generated material covers the uniqueness of each region, climate, soil, location, grapes typically grown and why, and wine styles.

I’m impressed.

Several information elements were missing with minor errors. For example, it only credits the Colorado River in the Grand Valley as a climate modifier leaving out the role of the Book Cliffs. It states the West Elks is east of the Grand Valley when it’s southeast. In the fifth generated version adding wineries and lodging possibilities, some of the information was out-of-date, including a broken URL. 
 

To further bring home the accuracy point, the following statement is found at the bottom of ChatGPT’s window: “ChatGPT can make mistakes. Check important info”. Having read several ChatGPT reviews (such as this one from Sable), it is consistently stated not to copy and paste generated content into websites or online media platforms—search engines can identify AI-generated content. And certainly, AI-generated content shouldn’t be used for any purpose without thoroughly verifying and updating the information.

For blog purposes, AI-generated content lacks a voice and a personality. This is one reason I asked for a conversational tone in one of the generated versions. It helped in providing a voice, though the occurrences were uneven.

The best use of AI should supplement research supporting writing and intellectual exercises. For example, last year I wrote a section for Marshall’s Wine Encore discussing Colorado Wine, covering a topic similar to the question I posed to ChatGPT. I believe I did a damn good job. Though had I used a platform like ChatGPT as a supplemental informational source, I may have included additional details in the piece.

In conclusion, I have no doubt writers are using AI to generate a first cut of content, and then compose their own written material to add broader context and voice. 

A shortcut approach to writing.

We’re in an awakening and evolving AI age. AI use is integrating itself into our human endeavors, affecting all aspects of technology. There are many ways we can and should benefit. 

There are also pitfalls we need to be aware of. Reading Mustafa Suleyman’s book “The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-first Century’s Greatest Dilemma“, brings this point—and disturbingly others—home.

For me, this is a start.

Without further ado, enjoy AI’s generated feature, with illustrations…

Two Couples enjoying wine at a vineyard

A Sip and a Laugh: Comparing Colorado's Grand Valley AVA and West Elks AVA

Characters:

  • Jake and Mike: Wine enthusiasts who love exploring new wine regions.
  • Tom and Sarah: Their friends, new to Colorado’s wine scene.

Jake: Hey guys, thanks for joining us on this wine trip! Colorado has some amazing wine regions. Today, we’re checking out the Grand Valley AVA and the West Elks AVA. Ready for a fun wine adventure?

Tom: Absolutely! But, uh, what’s an AVA?

Lisa: (Laughs) AVA stands for American Viticultural Area. It’s like a fancy way of saying “wine-growing region.”

Sarah: Got it. So, what’s the deal with these two places?

Jake: Alright, let’s start with the Grand Valley AVA. Picture this: we’re in western Colorado, near Grand Junction, with the Colorado River right there. It’s at 4,700 feet elevation. Warm days, cool nights – perfect for grapes!

Tom: So, it’s like the Goldilocks of grape-growing?

Lisa: Exactly! The temperature swings help balance the acidity and sweetness in the grapes.

Sarah: Nice! What about West Elks?

Jake: West Elks is a bit different. It’s near Paonia and Hotchkiss, at even higher elevations – between 5,400 and 6,400 feet. Cooler, more rugged, and the nights are chillier. It’s great for keeping the grapes’ acidity just right.

Tom: Sounds like the grapes are living the high life.

Grand Valley illustration

Lisa: You bet! Now, the soils in Grand Valley are alluvial – sand, clay, loam. They drain well and make the vines work hard, which is great for flavor.

Sarah: And West Elks?

Jake: West Elks has a mix of volcanic, sedimentary, and metamorphic soils. Less fertile, which makes the vines struggle and produce really complex wines.

Tom: So, it’s like a grape boot camp?

Lisa: (Laughs) Exactly!

Sarah: What about the history? How did these places become wine regions?

Jake: Grand Valley started with fruit orchards – peaches, apples, cherries. The Colorado River made it perfect for farming. Then, in the late 20th century, they started planting vineyards. Now, it’s a top wine region but still known for its fruit.

Tom: So, it’s got roots in peaches and then went grape?

Lisa: Pretty much! West Elks is similar – fruit farming was big there too. The cool climate was great for apples, pears, cherries. Grapes came later, also in the late 20th century. Now, it’s a blend of both fruit and wine.

Sarah: Cool history! What grapes do they grow?

Jake: Grand Valley is versatile – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah for reds; Chardonnay, Viognier for whites. They can experiment a lot because of the warm climate.

Tom: Like a grape playground!

Lisa: Yep! West Elks, with its cooler climate, is better for white grapes like Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, and early-ripening reds like Pinot Noir and Merlot.

Sarah: So, Grand Valley is bold and fruit-forward, and West Elks is crisp and elegant?

Jake: Exactly! Grand Valley wines are robust, with higher alcohol and strong flavors. West Elks wines are more restrained, higher acidity, lower alcohol, and very fresh.

Tom: Sounds like we’ll get a good mix today.

Lisa: Definitely! And the wine tourism is different too. Grand Valley is more developed – lots of tasting rooms, tours, and it’s near Grand Junction with plenty of amenities.

Sarah: And West Elks?

Jake: West Elks is more rustic and intimate. Smaller, family-owned wineries, stunning mountain views, and a really personal touch. Fewer wineries, but high quality.

Tom: I like the sound of that. A bit of adventure and some great wine.

Lisa: You’ll love it. Whether you’re into the bold wines of Grand Valley or the crisp wines of West Elks, Colorado’s wine country has something for everyone.

Sarah: Cheers to that! Let’s start sipping!

Jake: Cheers! Here’s to a great wine adventure!

And so, the friends clink their glasses, ready to explore the diverse and delightful wines of Colorado’s Grand Valley and West Elks AVAs.

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