WINE COUNTRY PRESS
Media Contact: Christopher Taranto
ICONIC TOBIN JAMES, HONORED AS 2010 PASO ROBLES WINE INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE YEAR
2011 Board of Directors Installed at Annual Event
Paso Robles, CA (January 21, 2011) What happens in the wine industry when enthusiasm, irreverence and a little bit of luck blend? You get Tobin James, honored this year as the 2010 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance presented this award at the organization’s annual Wine Country Gala, held Friday evening (January 21) at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom. Tobin “Toby” James’ passion for the wine industry began with a job at his brother’s wine shop while attending the University of Cincinnati, when a chance encounter with Gary Eberle from Paso Robles secured himself an internship at the Estrella River Winery. Thirty-one years later the apprentice turned ambassador is at the helm of one of the most iconic brands from the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA).
“Toby was so enthusiastic when he first came to work for me in 1980, I had never met someone so excited to be in the wine industry,” said Gary Eberle, owner of Eberle Winery who presented the award to Mr. James. “He went from being the lowest cellar rat to owning one of the premier wineries in Paso Robles. His love of the industry still makes him one of the most effective ambassadors of our business that I know.” Tobin James’ first vintage came about in 1987 when another chance encounter with Laz Morones, a local grape harvester, provided him with his first six tons of Zinfandel grapes. That very first wine won double gold medals and Tobin James Cellars was born.
In 1989 Tobin James became the founding winemaker of Peachy Canyon Winery, and secured the use of the winery’s facilities to produce his own Tobin James Cellars label. His first wine, Peachy Canyon 1990 “Westside” Zinfandel, was ranked number 69 out of 100 on the coveted Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World in 1992. This recognition was important in introducing the budding brand identity of Paso Robles wines on the world stage.
Toby purchased the property at the end of Union Road, Paso Robles in 1993 establishing his winery and tasting room the following year. Once known as the 10-mile stage stop, this location today houses one of the most popular tasting rooms in Paso Robles Wine Country hosting visitors from all over the world. With partners Lance and Claire Silver, the Tobin James brand has grown to be distributed all across the nation, providing brand identity to Paso Robles in the smallest wine shops, retailers and restaurants everywhere and boasts one of the largest wine clubs of any wine brand in existence.
Tobin James’ zeal for life, patriotism and great sense of community reverberates on a daily basis, especially when he travels around the world in support of his label. Whether its winemaker dinners, bottle signings or tastings, people walk away learning more about the center of his universe, Paso Robles Wine Country.
Tobin James shares his passion for Paso Robles with his family, who are well entrenched in the family business. He and his wife Ermie, who is the daughter of the grape harvester Laz Morones mentioned earlier, have four children, including a son at Fresno State majoring in Enology and Viticulture.
Board of Directors Installation
The evening also recognized outgoing Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Board of Directors, who were presented with embossed leather folios, thanking them for their years of service:
• Tony Domingos – Outgoing Board Member (2007 – 2010)
Brave Oak Vineyard & Estrella Valley Vineyards Farming
• Jerry Reaugh – Outgoing Board Member / Treasurer (2005 – 2010)
Sereno Vista Vineyards
In addition, the 2011 Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Board of Directors and Executive Team were also announced:
• Alex Villicana – Chairman – Villicana Winery (winery representative)
• Austin Hope – Vice-Chairman – Hope Family Wines (winery representative)
• Paul Hoover – Secretary/Treasurer – Still Waters Vineyards (grower representative)
• Gary Eberle – Nominating Committee – Eberle Winery (winery representative)
• John Crossland – Crossland Vineyard (grower representative)
• Terry Hoage – Terry Hoage Vineyards (winery representative)
• Jim Kroener – Silver Horse Vineyard & Winery (grower representative)
• Joe Plummer – Plummer Vineyard (member-at-large)
• Karl Wittstrom – Wittstrom Vineyards (grower representative)
The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (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 www.pasowine.com.
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