Founded On Tradition
It all began on an orchard.
Paul Hobbs has farming in his blood: One of eleven children, he grew up on a family-run orchard in upstate New York. There, he learned the discipline required of farming by planting, harvesting crops, and selling them at farmers markets before school each morning.
These family endeavors, led by his father, were also Paul’s introduction to terroir. After tasting the same apple variety grown in different orchards, the diversity of flavors and textures left an unforgettable impression on Paul—an impression that formed his vineyard-specific approach to winemaking.
Though his father always encouraged him to pursue winemaking, Paul was inspired by his great-grandfather Edward James, a doctor. Paul entered Notre Dame University intending to follow in his great-grandfather’s footsteps, but after graduating with a chemistry degree, his father persuaded him to study winemaking. Three years later, Paul graduated from UC Davis with a Master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology. Eventually, Paul helped his father achieve a lifelong dream by transforming a portion of their family orchard into a vineyard.
Paul started his winemaking career working side-by-side with Robert Mondavi, who handpicked Paul for the inaugural Opus One team.
After launching Opus One, Paul served as a winemaker at Simi Winery before consulting at several famed estates—including Napa Valley’s Peter Michael and Lewis Cellars, and Argentina’s Bodegas Catena—honing his expertise and deepening his belief that compelling vineyards, when nurtured gently, yield the most interesting wines. These experiences shaped Paul’s enduring vision: To craft single-vineyard wines that transmit the terroir of California’s most fascinating vineyard sites.
In 1991, he contacted Napa’s Larry Hyde and Sonoma’s Richard Dinner—both viticultural titans in their own right—about purchasing five tons of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Eventually, those grapes became Paul Hobbs Winery’s debut releases. Today, Paul still works with both vineyards, and understanding their nuances continues to drive our entire team in the pursuit of greatness.
It Continues in Our Vineyards
In 1998, Paul actualized his dream by establishing the Katherine Lindsay Estate in Sebastopol, California. Named for his great-grandmother, the vineyard pays homage to Paul’s roots on the family farm in New York and serves as a constant source of inspiration. Since the site’s first harvest in 2003, Paul has continued to expand the winery’s vineyard footprint, which today encompasses eight sites in premier appellations for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Over many years, Paul has become renowned for his ability to identify and cultivate both new and historic vineyards—a skill he attributes to his agrarian upbringing. With every vintage, he deepens his knowledge of the estate vineyards and how they translate to the bottle. Combining an innovative approach with precise attention to detail, Paul continues to lead the farming and winemaking initiatives at Paul Hobbs Winery today.