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The Premier Guide to Wine Country

When Darren Mitchell was growing up on his father’s 80-acre ranch in the rolling hills of East Paso Robles, he never imagined that he would one day return to plant a vineyard and make wine there. In fact, Darren and his wife Angela only got into winemaking as a practicality.

Back in the 1980s the Mitchells were self-professed White Zinfandel lovers until they encountered a bottle of 1987 Eberle Cabernet Sauvignon. Suddenly, they were fine-red-wine enthusiasts, but they had a budget to consider. Darren took a winemaking class taught by local Zinfandel legend Charles Poalillo at Cuesta College, followed by many others at many schools including UC Davis, Cal Poly, Allan Hancock, and Copia. As he evolved into a garagiste winemaker, it became evident that Angela had a remarkable palate and the couple became a seamless winemaking team.

In 1997, desiring more control over the grapes that went into their wines, Darren and Angela planted 10 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 acres of Syrah on the hilltop overlooking the old adobe farmhouse where Darren grew up. The dedicated couple also moved onto the property in a single wide mobile home so they could give the new vines the attention they needed.

Today, the Mitchells can attest to the fact that quality wine begins in the vineyard and they are committed to producing outstanding wines through sustainable farming practices. Mitchella’s award-winning wines are a testament to this. In fact, all of the wines listed in this article were Gold medal winners at major wine competitions in 2012.

Currently producing around 1,800 cases annually, the Mitchells have come a long way. But they’re not interested growing past 5,000 cases. Visitors are warmly welcomed in the homey Tuscan villa-style tasting room on weekends. The patio offers beautiful views of the East Paso Robles hills that hold future vintages of exceptional Mitchella wines.

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