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Media Contact: Meagan Callahan
Phone: 805-239-8463

Innovator Leads Paso Robles Wine Country to Insurmountable Growth

Paso Robles, CA (January 22, 2010) The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance honors Niels Udsen, Proprietor of Castoro Cellars, as the 2009 Wine Industry Person of the Year during the organization’s 18th Annual Wine Country Gala, held Friday evening (January 22) at the Park Ballroom in Downtown Paso Robles. Niels’ passion for winemaking began at the early age of 14 in Denmark and continues today in Paso Robles Wine Country. From launching his own brand (Castoro Cellars) to identifying the need for “custom crush” services on the Central Coast, Niels’ outstanding leadership and vision in promoting the wine industry on a local, state and national level has been invaluable to the Paso Robles Wine Community.

Niels started in Paso Robles Wine Country while the AVA was still in infancy. In 1981, after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Niels began working in the wine cellar of Estrella River Winery under the direction of Estrella’s then winemaker, Tom Myers. Niels learned all aspects of winemaking from the ground up and took advantage of working with a leading winery in the developing region. In 1983, with his wife Bimmer, Niels decided to launch the Castoro Cellars label.

Castoro Cellars was established with a laid-back, warm and welcoming style. Showcasing their sense of humor and creative business practices, the winery was named for the Italian translation of Niels’ long-time nickname, “Beaver,” thus prompting the slogan “Dam Fine Wine.”

After developing Castoro Cellars, Niels identified the local wineries’ need for “custom-crush” services. He purchased one of the first large Euro presses introduced to the area for small wineries to lease, and developed a mobile bottling line that could be transported to winery sites, practically eliminating the need to send grapes and/or finished wine to other parts of California. The custom crush operation served as a good investment and model for future business in Paso Robles.

Niels and Bimmer have structured Castoro Cellars to reflect their own personalities and values. With two sons, Luke and Max, family and stewardship to the land is their top priority. With wife Bimmer, Niels devotes numerous hours to supporting school groups, educational endeavors, and sports teams. The Udsens have translated a respect for the environment into sustainable practices for their winery and vineyards, including the implementation of various responsible farming practices and the cultivation of three organic vineyards.

Castoro Cellars is now one of the oldest wineries in the region. Niels has lead Paso Robles to insurmountable growth through mentorship and support of the local winegrowing community. Niels has served on multiple industry boards, including the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Family Winemakers, the Central Coast Wine Growers Association, and The Wine Institute.

The evening also recognized outgoing Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Board of Directors, who were presented with etched wine bottles, thanking them for their years of service:

· Steve Lohr - J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines - Outgoing Chairman
· Stephan Asseo - L’Aventure – Outgoing Board Member
· Cindy Steinbeck-Newkirk - Steinbeck Vineyards & Winery – Outgoing Board Member

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance also welcomed the 2010 Chairman of the Board of Directors:

· Alex Villicana – Villicana Winery - Winery, Chairman

In addition, the 2010 Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Board of Directors and Executive Team were also announced:

· Paul Hoover – Still Waters Vineyards - Grower, Vice-Chairman
· Jerry Reaugh – Sereno Vista Vineyards - Grower, Treasurer
· Terry Hoage – Terry Hoage Vineyards - Winery, Nominating Committee Representative
· Tony Domingos – Brave Oak Vineyard - Grower
· Gary Eberle – Eberle Winery - Winery
· Austin Hope – Hope Family Wines -Winery
· Joe Plummer – Plummer Vineyard - Member-At-Large
· Karl Wittstrom – Wittstrom Vineyards - Grower

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 180 wineries.For more information, visit

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