A few months back, I got a phone call from Stacie Jacob, the Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, letting me know that their board of directors had decided to honor my dad as their 2007 Wine Industry Person of the Year. It was a secret, so I had to figure out how to get my parents to go to the Wine Country Alliance Gala (the sort of event that they normally avoid) without letting on why. I eventually figured out how to do it by donating wine to the event and telling them that we needed to go and show our faces in support, and like the good sports that they always are, they got dressed up, came to the event and made a good showing.
Still, it was clear that it was a complete surprise to my dad when at the end of the event, his friend and fellow vintner Stephan Asseo (of L'Aventure Winery) got up to begin the awards speech. Even more impressive was the short, eloquent speech my dad gave (with no advance warning) after having received the award. The whole time, my wife Meghan was elbowing me and saying "if you ever do this to me, I'll kill you."
The evening was a wonderful acknowledgment of the contributions he's made to Paso Robles over the last two decades, against the backdrop of a career that has now spanned six decades. It's still amazing to think that when we founded Tablas Creek in 1989, there weren't any Rhone varietals planted here, and there were less than two dozen wineries. Now, there are nearly 200 Paso Robles wineries, and about 70% of these wineries are producing at least one Rhone. Paso Robles is finding its voice.
It's also been fun for me to see my Dad get calls from friends and acquaintances, many of whom he hadn't spoken to in years, congratulating him on this honor he genuinely didn't expect.
You can read the complete press release on Business Wire:
Robert Haas Honored as Paso Robles 2007 Wine Industry Person of the Year