Tablas Creek Vineyard
Tablas Creek Vineyard
Tablas Creek Vineyard is at its core the story of a friendship between two families that began in the 1960s. The Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and the Haas family of Vineyard Brands joined together to bring the vision of Tablas Creek Vineyard to life. The two families first worked together as importer and producer, and it was their shared conviction that California was a perfect location for the varieties traditional the the southern Rhone that began their search for the location that would eventually become Tablas Creek. Together they apply generations of experience in France’s Rhone region and in the American fine wine market to the challenge of making fine Rhone-style wines in the Central Coast of California.
Located in the limestone hills of west Paso Robles, California.
- Our mission is to produce Rhone blends and varietal wines of character and intensity with a real sense of place.
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Average Bottle Price
Neil was born and raised in Bristol, England. Trained as a chef, he moved into winemaking with stints with John Munch at Adelaida Cellars and Ken Volk at Wild Horse. At Adelaida, Neil met Robert Haas and the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel when they were just beginning the search for Tablas Creek. Neil was so intrigued by the project that he offered his services, and spent a year working and learning at Château de Beaucastel.
Before the year was finished, Neil was offered the winemaker position at Tablas Creek, and he has overseen both the organic vineyard and the winery since 1998.
His philosophy is that great wines can only come from great grapes, and that the art of winemaking is founded on starting out with the very best grapes and bringing their juice through fermentation as naturally as possible.
Neil was named San Luis Obispo County Winemaker of the Year in 2013.
Chelsea Franchi grew up in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California with a family that encouraged (and applauded) her enthusiasm and fascination for wine. She attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo to study Agricultural Business and Wine and Viticulture. While working on her degree, she got a job at Tablas Creek as a Greeter/Hostess and from there, moved into the tasting room. Upon graduation in 2008, she started her production career working hard as a “cellar rat” under the guidance of Winemaker Neil Collins. To further her knowledge and appreciation of wine, she took the first level sommelier exam in the middle of her first harvest. Her hard work and eagerness to learn paid off when she was offered the title of Assistant Winemaker in 2009.
Chelsea writes the Notes from the Cellar series on the Tablas Creek blog and thinks she has the best job in the world.
The partners searched California from the foothills of the Sierras in the north to coastal Ventura County in the south, looking for a close match to the Mediterranean climate and high pH soils of Château de Beaucastel. In 1989, they purchased a 120-acre parcel twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean in west Paso Robles. They named it Tablas Creek Vineyard, after the small creek running through the property.
The property elevation averages 1,500 feet, and the shallow, rocky limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as those at Beaucastel. Summer days are hot and sunny, but the influence of the nearby Pacific cools the nights, and the remarkably Rhône-like Paso Robles climate allows the grapes to mature fully and yet retain crisp acidity.
To ensure that the vines at Tablas Creek were of the highest quality and same genetic source of those at Beaucastel, the partners imported vinifera from the French estate. Several clones each of Mourvédre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Counoise, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc were imported. This diversity allows Tablas Creek to replicate the clonal selection of an established French vineyard.
In January 1990, the first vine cuttings were imported from France. Before arriving at Tablas Creek, they underwent a USDA-mandated three year indexing process that ensured that the vines were virus-free; the first imported vines were available for multiplication at Tablas Creek in 1993. New clones and new varieties continue to arrive at Tablas Creek each year. Planting at the estate began in 1994, with 105 acres under vine as of 2013.
In order to multiply the imported vines into the quantities necessary for the vineyard, Tablas Creek constructed its own nursery complex of high-tech greenhouses and shadehouses. There, vinifera was multiplied, grafted onto rootstocks, and gradually hardened off to sun and wind in preparation for planting in the vineyard.
At its peak, the nursery produced over 200,000 bench-grafted vines for planting in Tablas Creek’s own vineyard and for sale to interested growers each year. Although we no longer use the Tablas Creek’s nursery for commercial grafting, we partner with NovaVine, of Sonoma, California, to make available grafted vines and budwood of Tablas Creek clones. Producers who have planted Tablas Creek clonal material include Ridge, Qupé, Bonny Doon, Beckmen, Zaca Mesa, L’Aventure, Holly's Hill, Terry Hoage, McCrea and Stolpman. We have more information on our ongoing nursery program with NovaVine.
The “Tablas Creek Vineyard” label debuted with the construction of the estate winery for the 1997 vintage.
Tablas Creek Vineyard follows the centuries old Châteauneuf-du-Pape tradition of blending chosen varietals, which produces wines that are more complex and elegant, better balanced, richer and deeper than single varietal wines. Winemaking techniques, including dry farming, native yeast fermentation, and the use of large, neutral French oak foudres for aging have been chosen to produce wines that are authentic representations of the grapes, place and vintage from which they come.
The red wines, comprising about two thirds of the vineyard’s production, are made from Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Counoise. The white wines are made from Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Picpoul Blanc, and Grenache Blanc. Total production averages around 25,000 cases per year.
Robert Haas, Partner and Founder
Robert Haas has played a leading role in the American wine industry for over half a century. After graduating from Yale in 1950, he joined his father’s firm, M. Lehmann, Inc., a retailer of fine wines and spirits in Manhattan. As a buyer for the company, Haas traveled through the cellars of France, establishing a formidable reputation as a wine taster while forging lifelong relationships with premier wine producers.
In the mid-1960s he set out on his own to import fine estate wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire, Alsace and the Rhône Valley, where he met the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel and became the exclusive American importer for Beaucastel. As his company Vineyard Brands grew, it introduced the American market to brands such as La Vieille Ferme, Marqués de Cáceres, Santa Rita, Warre’s Port, and Villa Maria. The company also served as a representative for newly emerging California wineries including Chappellet, Freemark Abbey, Clos du Val, Joseph Phelps, Rutherford Hill, Hanzell, Kistler, and Sonoma-Cutrer. He founded the symposium "Focus on Chardonnay" in 1984 to promote dialogue between producers in Burgundy and California.
As Managing Partner of Tablas Creek since its foundation in 1989, Haas has consistently spoken in favor of organic viticulture, minimum-intervention winemaking and wines of terroir and sophistication. He has spoken on wine and winemaking topics at festivals around the country, including the New York Wine Experience, the Boston Wine Expo, Society of Wine Educators annual meeting, Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, Hospice du Rhône, Central Coast Wine Classic and many others.
Haas is one of four American members of the Académie Internationale du Vin. In recognition of his contributions to the international wine community as an importer, a vintner, and an advocate for quality, he was elected as the AIV president in 2000. He manages Tablas Creek with his son Jason.
Jason Haas, Partner and General Manager
Jason Haas, the son of Tablas Creek Vineyard founder and renowned importer Robert Haas, learned the wine business at an early age, accompanying his family on yearly European wine-buying trips and spending two summers working at Château de Beaucastel.
After obtaining a Master’s Degree in Archaeology from Cornell and spending a four-year stint managing a tech company in Washington, DC, Jason moved to California to join Tablas Creek in April of 2002. In addition to managing Tablas Creek's operations, he is active in Tablas Creek's winemaking and directs the vineyard’s local and national marketing efforts. He is also the principal author of the Tablas Creek blog, which won the Wine Blog Award for Best Winery Blog in 2008 and 2011.
In addition to his work at Tablas Creek, he has served on the board of directors of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, the Rhone Rangers, and the Family Winemakers of California. He speaks regularly on topics including winery marketing and management, Rhône varietals, organic farming, and the Paso Robles region.
Tyler Elwell, Cellarmaster
Tyler’s earliest foray into wine making involved his bare feet and bins of whole cluster pinot noir. All foot stomping aside, Tyler’s love of wine making stems from an affinity to create, a wonderment of science and a love of hard work. A native of Santa Barbara, he has worked under the tutelage of gifted winemakers ranging from delicate pinot noir producers to massive zinfandel eccentrics. Priding himself on harvesting different philosophies and methodologies from those that inspire, Tyler strives to impart some of his finite wisdom to the cellar.
Most days, Tyler can be found in the Tablas Creek cellar, with wine stained hands, disheveled hair and the will to help make the best Rhone wine in the United States.
When not hunkered down in the winery, Tyler passes his days listening to vinyl records, planning travels while staring at maps and smiling when thinking about how fortunate he is.
Levi Glenn, Viticulturist
Levi Glenn was born and raised in Healdsburg, California. Having grown up surrounded by the Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards in the bucolic Dry Creek Valley, Levi always knew he would end up working in the wine industry. At age thirteen, Levi started to work in a next door neighbor’s vineyard. He has never held a job that didn’t involve a grapevine or emptying a fermenter.
Graduating from Cal Poly in 2004 with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, Levi went on to manage vineyards first in Napa Valley and later in his native Sonoma County. Levi joined the Tablas Creek team in July 2011 to fill the new position of Viticulturist. He and his wife Katie were eager to return to the central coast. They recently moved to Paso Robles, and are delighted to rediscover the area. They also enjoy gardening, bluegrass, and their aging beagle Abner.
David Maduena, Vineyard Manager
David has grown up in the vineyard; from an early age he worked with his father in a number of local vineyards and orchards in the Paso Robles area. He began work at Tablas Creek in 1992 and was intimately involved in the original grafting and planting projects. David is responsible for communicating the needs of the vineyard with winemaker, Neil Collins and viticulturist, Levi Glenn. David is especially excited about harvesting fruit from the new varietals that were planted three years ago. David loves to be “out there in the vineyard”, he likes “seeing the plants growing”.
David is married and has six children ranging in age from twenty to seven years old.
Nicole Getty, Wine Club and Hospitality Director
Nicole Getty grew up in a sleepy town in northern CA, and in 1990 she moved to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly. With a degree in sociology, she dabbled in human resources and social work in the bay area and Seattle before finding her way back to the central coast. By the time she returned in 2001, the wine industry was starting to boom and she decided to make a career change to true social work—hospitality!
Nicole quickly started to appreciate and enjoy wine with her first winery position and started to incorporate food and wine by working part-time with caterers and event planners. When the position at Tablas Creek became available that involved all of these things that she enjoyed (plus great wine!), she jumped at it. Nicole joined the Tablas Creek team in 2004 as the Wine Club & Hospitality Director and has the job that her friends who work in the Bay Area are envious of.
Monica O’Connor, Direct Sales Manager
Monica O’Connor came to the Central Coast from Southern California where she raised her son and earned her degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising from FIDM. While working as General Manager at Tara Graphics, she attended the 2004 Paso Robles Wine University. She enthusiastically pursued more wine education and started working in the Tablas Creek tasting room in 2008. With over 15 years experience in sales, management, hosting food and wine events and catering, it was a natural progression to Tablas Creek’s exemplary Wine Club and Hospitality team.
Monica enjoys hiking and yoga, cooking, recipe development, and designing.
Dani Archambeault, Wine Club Assistant
Dani Archambeault, originally from the central valley of California, relocated to Paso Robles from Southern California in 2010. Eager to get out of the big city to pursue new careers in the wine industry, Dani and her husband bought an Airstream travel trailer and headed to wine country!
Since living in the Paso Robles area, Dani has taken on every opportunity that has come her way in the wine business. Working in a tasting room, assisting with winery events, completing educational wine classes and taking on the small side project with her husband of making their first vintage of wine (2010 Syrah).
Dani joined the staff of Tablas Creek in March of 2011 where she works with our successful and growing VINsider wine club.
Joelle Cliff, Wine Club Travel Concierge
Joelle Cliff, a native Parisian, educated at the Sorbonne, has been a hospitality and service industry business owner since 1990. World traveled and exposed to many cultures and people since early childhood, Joelle has lived extensively in Paris, Provence, Washington D.C, New York City and Los Angeles, before falling in love with the California Central Coast where she and her husband, Dr. John Cliff, call Paso Robles their home.
Many of you know our associate Joelle from her great work in the tasting room and we are excited to announce that she has put her experience at the service of all of you as our new Wine Club Concierge. For advice and reservation help with a visit to Paris, the various wine regions of France, or your next visit to the California Central Coast, contact us at email@example.com
John Morris, Tasting Room Manager
After growing up in the culinary wasteland of 1970’s Flint, Michigan, John landed in Seattle and spent 20 years discovering and developing a love for food and wine (ok, it was beer first) all the while playing music and working in the burgeoning specialty coffee business. John relocated to the Central Coast in search of sun in 2005, and has been the tasting room manager at Tablas Creek since the summer of 2007. When not at the winery, John can be found working on his ½ acre hobby farm and orchard in East Paso Robles.
Sylvia Montague, Assistant Tasting Room Manager
Sylvia has been living on the Central Coast for the good part of four decades. She has watched the area change immensely in the last 20 years as the wine industry has made a name for itself. In 2002 Sylvia began working in a tasting room at another local vineyard and from that point forward she has never looked back. She has always had a passion for good wine and food and is proud to see that the Paso Robles area can now boast an array of excellent wineries and restaurants.
After taking a tour in 2003 Sylvia was impressed by the quality and taste that set Tablas’ wines apart from the rest in the area. She joined the Tablas Cru in October 2004 as the assistant tasting room manager. She claims to be Tablas Creek’s biggest fan and a big believer in the Tablas philosophy. She is now Tablas Creek’s assistant manager in charge of merchandising and still enjoys meeting, greeting and pouring for all those who come to the vineyard.
When not at Tablas Creek, Sylvia can be found critiquing the wines from her husband’s private vineyard and keeping her two standard poodles out of mischief.
Deanna Ryan, Tasting Room Team Lead
Born and raised in London, England, Deanna came to Los Angeles as a 19 year old for a 3 month stay and decided to extend her visit. She settled in Santa Barbara where she married and had 2 children, later moving to San Luis Obispo. She became interested in wine around 2002 due to a love of good food, cooking and organic gardening. The industry was rapidly growing in San Luis Obispo County and it seemed like an exciting field to get involved with. She was drawn to Tablas Creek Vineyard because of their commitment to organic farming and excellent wine making practices, plus the fact they were (and still are) a small, family owned business.
Gustavo Prieto, Tasting Room Team Lead
Gustavo was born and raised in Chile were he developed his love of agriculture on his grandfather’s farm. In 1982 he came to California and earned a degree in fruit science from Cal Poly. His early career was spent in the produce business and he worked for many years in the Netherlands and Chile. He returned to the Central Coast in 2000 and decided to pursue his passion for wine. Gustavo obtained his wine certificate from Cal Poly in 2008 and has worked the harvest at Wild Horse and Bianchi wineries.
Today Gustavo is one of our tasting room’s team leaders and in the fall of 2010 worked the harvest at Château de Beaucastel, Tablas Creek’s sister winery in France. He has been with Tablas Creek since 2007 and continues to share his love of wine with our international clientele.
Charlie Chester, Assistant Tasting Room Manager (in charge of logistics)
Charlie spent the first 25 years of his life in Santa Barbara, California. He now resides on the beautiful Central Coast and enjoys the outdoors. Charlie joined the VINsider Wine Club during his first visit to the winery. Charlie has worked in the tasting room since 2010 and can often be found transporting wine throughout the winery, on a fork lift or in the tasting room.
Sales & Marketing
Darren Delmore, National Sales Manager
Darren Delmore was raised by restaurateurs in San Luis Obispo, California. After stints in competitive surfing and publishing as an editor at Surfing Magazine, he embarked on an oenological odyssey that steered him through ten wine harvests in California, Oregon and Australia. He worked with Rhone varietals at Bonny Doon Vineyard, punched down Pinot Noir at the Hirsch Vineyard, and blackened his palms at Two Hands in the Barossa Valley of Australia. Most recently, he represented Goldeneye Winery in Anderson Valley as a Wine Educator.
Darren's love of Tablas Creek began with the 2002 vintage of Esprit de Beaucastel, and his humble personal collection boasts a consecutive vertical of the flagship blend going back to 2003.
Darren’s written work on wine has been published by Wine Spectator, Vine Times, Anderson Valley Advertiser, and Wine Country this Week. He is currently is living in Cambria with his partner Jillian and son Shea.
Meghan Dunn, Publications
Meghan Dunn grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where the beverage of choice was Coca-Cola. She attended Williams College, where she met husband Jason Haas and began her wine education thanks to her father-in-law’s extensive cellar. She earned a PhD from Yale University in Social Psychology in 2000, and researches policy issues for the federal court system.
She and Jason moved to Paso Robles in 2002 to be more involved with the winery, and Meghan now splits her time between her federal court work and Tablas Creek. At Tablas Creek, Meghan produces the quarterly newsletter, coordinates the label printing and approval processes, and writes all other promotional materials.
When not advocating for fewer words on the wine labels, Meghan enjoys reading, running and travel. She and Jason have two sons, Eli and Sebastian, who are also happily learning the family business.
Lauren Cross, Marketing Coordinator
Lauren Cross was born and raised in Northern California; she has roots in both the Sierra Nevada foothills and the greater Bay Area. She graduated from Sonoma State with a degree in Psychology as well as a multiple subject teaching credential. After serving two years with the AmeriCorps program, Lauren and her family relocated to the Central Coast. In 2007 she became the Program Director and then Executive Director of the Paso Robles Boys & Girls Club where she was responsible for operations, fundraising, programs, hr/administration and most enjoyably- marketing.
As the leader of a local nonprofit, Lauren was intimately connected with the Paso Robles wine industry. She collaborated with wineries and industry leaders to raise funds for local youth programs. She began working in the tasting room at Tablas Creek in 2012 and is thrilled to be more involved as the Marketing Coordinator. Lauren is inspired by the dedication to quality, innovation and continued social and environmental responsibility of Tablas Creek; she is excited to communicate that enthusiasm in creative visual and written work.
Denise Chouinard, Controller
Heather Hildenbrand, Assistant Controller
Local to the Central Coast Appellation, Heather Hildenbrand grew up in San Luis Obispo. After high school, Heather moved to Malibu to attend Pepperdine University where she graduated with a degree in Accounting. After 4 years in public accounting at Ernst & Young, she transitioned to the private sector working for ValleyCrest Companies, a national landscape company based in Calabasas, CA.
After marrying her kindergarten sweetheart, Heather and her husband Kenny were eager to get back to the SLO life. They returned home and Heather took a position as the Controller for Weatherby Firearms. Excited to be part of the wine industry, she joined the staff of Tablas Creek Vineyard as the Assistant Controller in June 2010. Her passions include family, friends, reading, and of course, wine!
Eileen Harms, Accounting
Eileen Harms is the self-proclaimed “excel queen” of the accounting team at Tablas Creek. Her excel-lent duties include accounts payable, wholesale and export orders and documentation, off premise wine inventory, storage and transporting, bottling, planting and harvest reporting. If it fits on a spreadsheet, it’s probably on Eileen’s desk!
Prior to her husband’s career relocating them to Paso Robles, Eileen owned and operated an upscale restaurant in Lincoln NE for sixteen years, appropriately named Inn Harms Way. Once in Paso Robles she continued to manage restaurants for several years before decided to fall back on her accounting degree and took on work with local developers. Eileen jumped at the chance to get involved in the wine industry when an accounting position opened up at Tablas Creek.
Her professional passions in cooking, wine tasting, and food and wine pairings is now her hobby. Eileen is blessed to have a wonderful husband, two daughters, son-in-laws and two grandsons. When the family gets together, it is all about food and wine!
Practices & Techniques
At harvest, each vineyard block is hand-harvested selectively, and we typically make 2-4 passes through each vineyard block, picking only the clusters that are ripe and leaving the others to mature.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
Robert Haas began his career in 1950, as the buyer for his father’s wine shop in New York City. As Haas became more interested in the wine business, he became less interested in the retail business. In 1955, he started an importing arm, Leeds Imports Corporation, and commenced seriously selling in markets other than the state of New York.
In 1961 Haas’ father sold his store and in 1967 he pulled his capital out of Leeds, which left him with little choice but to find a buyer, and he sold his company to Barton Distilling Company. However, Barton lacked the long-term commitment to the fine wine business and Haas resigned from Barton in 1970 and moved to Vermont in 1971 and founded Vineyard Brands.
In 1990 a succession plan was put in place and Jerry Neff was named President. Prior to being named President, Jerry Neff was National Sales Manager for Vineyard Brands for 5 years, State Manager for National Distributing Company in Georgia for 1 year and General Sales Manager for McKesson Wine & Spirits in Atlanta for 9 years.
During his career in Georgia, Jerry Neff introduced and established many new California and imported wines to the Atlanta market, including most of the wines from the Vineyard Brands portfolio
In 1992, the contemplated transition became a reality when Jerry Neff moved to Vermont to assume the day to day duties of running the business. In May of 1997 the transition was completed when the headquarters of Vineyard Brands was moved from the barn in Chester, Vermont to a new facility, more than twice the size of the Chester office, in Birmingham, Alabama.
Most of the office staff moved from Chester to Birmingham and the total number of employees has grown from 2 in 1971 to 56 people today,with 32 sales representatives (including 5 regional managers) throughout the U.S. Our sales and marketing staff work with restaurateurs, retailers and over 100 distributors in all 50 states to ensure effective national distribution for all of our wines. The Birmingham office handles all shipping, accounting, promotional materials and advertising for Vineyard Brands.
In early April month, The Rhone Rangers recognized Tablas Creek founder Robert Haas with the 2014 Rhone Rangers Lifetime Achievement Award, given for services to the American Rhone movement. It's just the second-ever lifetime achievement award that the organization has given out. Details »
The awards ceremony featured a wonderful tribute video with reflections on Haas's career from California icons like Paul Draper, Josh Jensen, Gary Eberle and Bob Lindquist. You can watch the video on YouTube »
Wine Advocate (8/30/2013): 30 Tablas Creek wines 90+ points
We were excited to see our newest reviews from Jeb Dunnuck in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, which called us "a reference point for Paso Robles" and included thirty different wines with 90+ point ratings. Some highlights:
Our highest-ever score, a 99 for the 2007 Panoplie
93-point ratings for the 2011 Esprit de Tablas and 2011 Esprit de Tablas Blanc
95+ points for the 2010 Panoplie, which Jeb called "thrillingly rich and polished"
90 points for the 2011 Patelin de Tablas, which Jeb said "should be purchased by the case"
Great scores for library Esprits, including 2002 (95), 2003 (94), 2005 (95) and 2010 (94)