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Media Contact: Christopher Taranto
Phone: 805-239-8463
Website: http://

Three Industry Leaders Represent Over 100 Collective Years of Experience

Paso Robles, CA (July 24, 2007) – San Luis Obispo County’s most prestigious wine industry honors were announced today by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance in partnership with the Independent Grape Growers of Paso Robles, the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association and past award recipients. The announcement of the 2007 Wine Industry awards happened during the California Mid-State Fair Premiere Party on Tuesday, July 24. Honorees included — Winemaker of the Year, Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure Winery; Wine Grape Grower of the Year, Richard Sauret of Sauret Vineyards; and Wine Industry Person of the Year, Chuck Hope of Treana Winery. Each were nominated and voted on by their peers for their excellence and leadership in California’s third largest wine region, San Luis Obispo County.

"This year’s honorees are an amazing example of the diversity in the local wine community and whose individual endeavors have done much to further the industry nationally and internationally," said Stacie Jacob, Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. "We are proud to have such talented and hard working individuals as leaders in our industry."

As the largest agricultural value-added crop in San Luis Obispo, the wine and wine grape industry generates $1.8B in economic value to the local economy, including more than $86M in state and local taxes. The County boasts 217 bonded wineries which makes it the third largest wine region in the State of California and influences $113M in wine related tourism expenditures for the County of San Luis Obispo.

The winners of the 2007 Wine Industry awards will be recognized again at the Evening of Music and Wine in the Main Grandstand Arena of the Mid-State Fair on Friday, August 3rd. Images of the award winners are available upon request.

Winemaker of the Year – Stephan Asseo, L’Aventure Winery
Stephan Asseo set out on the "adventure" of a lifetime when he, his wife Beatrice and three children left their cozy Bordeaux establishment for the "wild west" of Paso Robles wine country. With seventeen vintages behind him at his family’s three properties (Domain Courtaillac, Chateau Fleur Cardinal, and Chateau Robin), and a half dozen consulting positions as well, Stephan searched for a new start, a new place in which he could be more innovative than French law allowed. His travels took him through Spain and throughout the Mediterranean, to South Africa, and beyond, then finally, to California. Having looked all over the state for the right "terroir" in which to realize his intellectual idea of a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend, he ultimately "fell in love" with the 126 acres which is now L’Aventure. Here, the unique attributes of Paso Robles’ diverse soils, "Templeton Gap" maritime influence, and rolling topography combine to afford a winemaker world class fruit, and the potential to make world class wines. Stephan’s vision of a world–class red wine blend from Paso Robles takes shape in Optimus and in Estate Cuveé. Neither Bordeaux blends, nor Rhone blends, these wines are genuine "Paso blends", and represent his authentic signature as a winemaker in Paso Robles as his first decade in California approaches.

Wine Grape Grower of the Year – Richard Sauret, Sauret Vineyards
Born in Atascadero, California in 1935 and raised in the Oak Flat area five miles northwest of Paso Robles, Richard’s life long career in the agricultural industry began at the early age of seven. The young Sauret would help a neighbor prune and harvest his Zinfandel wine grapes. Sauret’s own agricultural endeavors began with almonds, walnuts, hay and cattle. In 1952 he planted his first vineyard which was a dry farmed head prune Zinfandel; this began his time in the wine grape business and prompted him to purchase more land and plant more vineyards. At the time there was not a lot of money to be made at just forty dollars a ton, but perseverance paid off when Sauret began selling grapes to Dr. Stanley Hoffman and his consultant Andre Tchelistcheff. Their appreciation of his Zinfandel grapes started a trend in Sauret Vineyard designation which continues today. The Sauret Vineyard location and viticulture practices continue to produce high quality fruit and has been translated into premium wines by Rotta, Castoro Cellars, Eberle, Nadeau Family Vintners and for the past eighteen years - Rosenblum Cellars. The 2002 vintage of Rosenblum Cellars was Wine Spectators #41 and the 2003 was #30 in their coveted "Top 100" list. Richard prides himself as a hands-on grower who does all his own work (except harvest) which allows him to personally monitor each vine and tend to their needs. Sauret strives to maintain his excellent track record by growing the highest quality fruit possible with the help of Mother Nature and ultimately for the betterment of the Paso Robles appellation.

Wine Industry Person of the Year – Chuck Hope, Treana Winery
For nearly three decades, Chuck Hope has charted a course of family tradition in Paso Robles. A native of Bakersfield, Hope and his family moved to the Central Coast in 1978 and planted wine grapes. They planted their original vineyard just east of the Salinas River. Over the past 30 years, Hope’s dedication to the quality of the region’s diverse terrain has been unwavering, planting wine grape varieties best suited to the individual microclimates. Today, he continues to farm the home ranch – Hope Family Vineyard – located in the "Templeton Gap", while his son Austin runs business and winemaking operations at the family’s 200,000-case Treana Winery.

In the early days, the majority of fruit from Hope’s vineyard sites was sold to wineries outside of Paso Robles, until the family founded the Hope Farms label and began producing estate wines. They later went on to establish Treana Winery in 1996, with the goal of producing a world class red wine that appropriately reflected the quality and potential of the Paso Robles wine-growing region. In 2007, London’s Decanter magazine recognized the 2003 vintage of Treana Red as the top regional red blend in North America.

Active in the Paso Robles community, Chuck was one of the founders of the original Paso Robles Vintners and Growers Association and was honored by the organization in 2000 for his contributions to the success of the local wine industry. In accepting the award for Wine Industry Person of the Year, Chuck was quick to acknowledge, "The only thing that matches the quality of the grapes coming out of the Paso Robles area, is the quality of the people here."

Chuck and Marlyn Hope live in Paso Robles, blessed by the proximity of their children, Austin and Chelsea, and their families, including two grand daughters.

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance represents wineries, growers and businesses in Paso Robles Wine Country. Centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, along California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles Wine Country is California’s fastest growing wine region. It encompasses more than 26,000 vineyard acres and over 170 wineries. For more information, visit

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