2020 Wine Awards – Winter
December 9, 2020
For the second year in a row, we called for nominations for our Wine Awards from our membership. Meant to recognize individuals and organizations that excel, these awards will be rolled out twice a year. The coolest thing about these special awards, they are voted on by their peers!
We are happy to announce the recipients of the 2020 Winter Wine Awards – Cellar Worker, Vineyard Worker(s), and Environmental Steward.
This award is meant to recognize a cellar team member who has contributed the most to help their team produce outstanding Paso Robles wine. Through leadership, dedication, and spirit, this team member deserves recognition. Raise a glass for the winner…
Chelsea Franchi, Senior Assistant Winemaker, Tablas Creek Vineyard
Chelsea grew up in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California with a family that encouraged (and applauded) her enthusiasm and fascination for wine. She attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo to study Agricultural Business and Wine and Viticulture. While working on her degree, she got a job at Tablas Creek as a Greeter/Hostess and from there, moved into the tasting room. Upon graduation in 2008, she started her production career working hard as a “cellar rat” under the guidance of Winemaker Neil Collins. To further her knowledge and appreciation of wine, she took the first level sommelier exam in the middle of her first harvest. Her hard work and eagerness to learn paid off when she was offered the title of Assistant Winemaker in 2009. Chelsea writes the Notes from the Cellar series on the Tablas Creek blog and thinks she has the best job in the world!
The Vineyard Worker award is for a vineyard team member who has contributed the most to help their team cultivate and harvest exceptional Paso Robles fruit. Through leadership, dedication, and spirit, these team members deserve recognition. This year we had a tie! Joining us in congratulating Aron and Refugio!
Aron Nevarez, Vineyard Manager, Denner Vineyards
Born in the village of El Durazno in Durango, Mexico, Aron moved to Paso Robles in 1992 at the age of 14. As a young teen, he worked in vineyards throughout the county. From 1994 to 1997, Aron learned all about Rhône varietals and their growing habits while working at Tablas Creek and GlenRose Vineyards. In 1998, Aron took over the position of Vineyard Manager at Rozet Vineyards (now Derby). Aron worked alongside John Alban for 6 years, perfecting his vineyard management skills. Aron joined Denner Vineyards in 2004 and has developed the estate into a prized site for premium Rhône and Bordeaux varieties. Although he is a licensed pesticide applicator, his approach to vineyard management is to be proactive rather than reactive, with very minimal chemical usage. Aron believes if you are in the vineyard daily, closely watching the vines, you will see the slight changes that require attention and believes in composting rather than fertilizing.
Refugio Garcia, Vineyard Manager, Mesa Vineyard Management
This very important award is meant for a business that has undertaken the greatest effort to ensure their operations are managed with the best ‘green’ business standards. In the vineyard, production, and stewardship, this business has shown leadership that deserves this award. Cheers to…
The Udsen Family, Castoro Cellars
The Udsens family has continuously lead by example in sustainable business practices and farming. Castoro Cellars is 100% organically farmed (the largest organic grower on the Central Coast, with over 1,000 acres certified CCOF Organic) and completely offset with over 4 acres of solar panels throughout their properties. They also have 40 acres that are farmed biodynamically and all vineyards are SIP certified.