By Linda Cornett
About 75 million years ago, the long-departed Mancos Sea began preparing the Grand Valley for the peaches and grapes that won Palisade the title “Heart of Colorado’s Fruit and Wine Country.”
The area’s moderate “banana belt” climate boasts a growing season of 182 days, generous by Colorado standards, and sunshine 78 percent of the time. The valley is home to 75 percent of the state’s wine grape vineyards and a quarter of its wineries.
The orchards and vineyards around Palisade export truckloads of peaches that rival Georgia’s best, grapes for a growing wine industry and other fruit from melons to apples and cherries. The primary import is visitors wanting to combine a fruit-buying excursion with sightseeing in a remarkably scenic area.
• Palisade history
Population: 2,692 (2010 Census).
Land area: 1.1 square miles.
County: Mesa (Grand Junction is the county seat).
Altitude: 4,728 feet above sea level.
Climate: Hot summers, moderate winters and low humidity, with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 9 inches, including average snowfall of 14 inches a year. July averages: 92 high and 63 low. January averages: 38 high and 17 low. More information