Lawmakers honor area wine industry pioneer

State lawmakers voted Thursday to memorialize Doug Phillips, an architect of Palisade’s wine industry and pioneer in the state’s workers’ compensation system, citing his outstanding character and determination.

Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, praised Phillips for his numerous accomplishments, including the founding of the Colorado Grown program and the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board.

“Douglas Phillips was a man whose vision and dedication and hard work affected numerous lives in Colorado,” she said.

Phillips, 64, who died last year at his home in Denver, founded Plum Creek Cellars in 1984 with winemaker Erik Bruner.

Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, praised Phillips as “a remarkable person” who decided in the 1980s that he wanted to start the first winery that made wine from Colorado-grown grapes.

“What Henry Ford was to the automobile, Doug Phillips was to the wine industry here in Colorado,” Penry said.

Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, praised Phillips for his work with four of Colorado governors to modernize the state’s workers compensation laws.

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, passed along the best regards of his father, Gov. Roy Romer, for Phillips’ contributions to Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher returned to the state Capitol to commemorate Phillips and praise legislators for the resolution in his honor.  Buescher had planned to sponsor the resolution before his defeat at the polls in November.

Buescher said Phillips was hard worker who took pride in everything he did, from being a lawyer to making wine.

“If you visit that winery and let Sue take you around, you will see the love they have for what they do and what Doug did,” Buescher said. “The best that any of us can have at the end of the day is the comment that this was a life well lived. I can’t think of anyone to whom that
phrase pertains better than Doug Phillips.”

The Senate and House unanimously endorsed Senate Joint Resolution 8.

Phillips’ wife, Susan, along with his daughters, Megan and Jennifer, were present to see the Legislature honor him.


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