Author touts Colo. wine experience

Courtesy of Paula Mitchell

By Ted Holteen
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Durango Wine Experience will bring the wines of the world to our doorstep this weekend. But one Colorado woman wants to make sure that even if we think globally, we should drink locally.

“A lot of people have misconceptions about Colorado wines, but Colorado does make some pretty good wine,” said Paula Mitchell, whose new self-published Exploring Colorado Wineries – Guidebook & Journal is the first comprehensive guide to Colorado’s wineries to come out in a decade. Mitchell will debut the book to the Wine Experience crowd at three different events today and Saturday.

The Greenwood Village resident is not a professionally certified sommelier, but she’s a dedicated and experienced vinophile. When Brad and Alta Smith published The Guide to Colorado Wineries in 2002, there were only 38 wineries to cover. That number has nearly quadrupled to more than 125 since, and while Mitchell hasn’t tried them all, she’s getting close. She’ll cross five more off her list this weekend as she makes her first foray into Southwest Colorado.

“What’s really interesting about those five is that they really represent the varied wineries we have in Colorado,” Mitchell said.“Guy Drew is vinification – they just make wine. Sutcliffe and Fox Fire raise livestock and other crops besides grapes; Four Leaves makes their own wine but you can also make your own; and Pleasant View is a recent startup that might combine all of it by the time they’re really rolling.”

Mitchell said the key to appreciating wine, whether writing a book about it or not, is journaling. She included a chapter in Exploring Colorado Wineries to help readers record and remember what they like and, just as importantly, what they don’t.

“We all taste great wines, but then when we go to buy wine, we forget about it,” she said. “I have a scale that runs from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Yuck.’ But fortunately, most of the Colorado wines I’ve tasted I feel are excellent or at least very good. Most. But everyone has their own preference, and it’s just really helpful to keep it organized because there are a lot of wines out there.”

Each winery in the book gets a two-page spread, and Mitchell includes other things to do in each town. It’s the kind of book that’s intended to travel – there’s space for notes so that the guidebook and journal are intended to be one and the same.

“The goal of my book is to help other people begin to experience and savor Colorado wines,” Mitchell said. “As I talk to people, they say, ‘I don’t know if I’ve had a good Colorado wine.’ Well, there are a lot of them out there, and I hope this helps people find them.”

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