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Paul HobbsPaul Hobbs
Vintner Honoree 2017

As the owner and winemaker of Paul Hobbs Winery, Paul knows that the essence of profound wines can be traced back to meticulous care and expertise in the vineyard. Raised on a working farm in upstate New York, Paul experienced first-hand the influence of terroir on the character of fruit when his father had him taste apples of the same variety grown in different orchards several miles apart from one another. The diversity of flavors and textures made an impression on him, and would later influence his approach to winemaking. 

Paul attended the University of Notre Dame, and before graduating with a degree in chemistry, he was introduced to fine wine through a wine appreciation class with his botany professor, Father McGrath, who was formerly a winemaker for Christian Brothers in the Napa Valley. Besides a sip of 1962 Château d’Yquem served by his father, this was Paul’s first experience with the beverage that would become his life-long passion. Following graduation, Paul’s dad and Father McGrath convinced Paul to go west to study winemaking and enology in lieu of medical school.

Paul’s thesis on oak extraction during graduate school at U.C. Davis landed him the position of enologist at Robert Mondavi Winery, and by 1981 a member of the inaugural winemaking team at Opus One. Paul would go on to become vice president/winemaker at Simi Winery, and winemaking consultant for Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma County.

As a winemaker, Paul is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards, and for his pioneering spirit in working with new and historical sites and regions. He founded Paul Hobbs Winery in 1991, and established his wine portfolio "from the ground up" on a foundation of strong, collaborative relationships with the growers of some of Napa’s and Sonoma’s most compelling properties. Nearly twenty-five years later, Paul Hobbs Winery continues to set the bar for top quality, site-specific chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon.

There is perhaps no better example of Paul’s spirit of innovation than his work in Argentina. While collaborating with Nicolas Catena, he was struck by the potential for malbec vines, which at the time were being farmed for mass production wines. Paul was interested to see what the varietal could do with contemporary viticulture techniques, and more attention in the winery. Surprised and delighted by these results, Paul founded Viña Cobos in Mendoza, Argentina in 1999. The inaugural vintage of Cobos Malbec was awarded 92 points, the highest-ever rating to date for an Argentine wine, bringing worldwide attention to the variety and region. The 2011 vintage of Cobos Malbec has been awarded 100 points, the first-ever perfect score for a South American wine.

Today, Paul continues to collaborate with top producers from premier regions around the world, including California, Hungary, Argentina, Chile and Canada.  With his cutting edge vision now focused on exciting new partnerships in Cahors, the Finger Lakes in New York and even the ancient wine region of Armenia, Paul believes his best wines are still in front of him.

Paul has been named Wine Personality of the Year twice by Robert Parker, Jr., Winemaker of the Year by Connoisseurs’ Guide, and in 2002 Paul made a cabernet sauvignon that scored a perfect 100 Points in the Wine Advocate.

Paul Hobbs Vintner Honoree 2017

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