Biography Journey from The Family Farm

It began on an orchard in upstate New York. Growing up on the family farm, Paul Hobbs learned the discipline of working the land by planting, harvesting crops, and selling them at nearby farmer’s markets before school each morning. He experienced first-hand the influence of terroir on the character of fruit, when his father had him taste 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. One of eleven children, Paul helped his father achieve a lifelong desire to transform some of the farm’s acreage from apples, nuts and peaches to wine grapes.

The Hobbs family enjoying time on the homestead. Pictured third from left: Paul Hobbs.

Paul rescues family cat atop the barn

Though his father wanted Paul to consider winemaking, he was influenced by his great-grandfather, Edward James, who was a doctor. Paul began to study medicine and entered Notre Dame University. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, his father persuaded him to go to California to pursue the family business and take up wine. Paul graduated from UC Davis three years later with a Master of Science degree in Viticulture and Enology.

Larry and Richard agreed to sell him their grapes, and so the Paul Hobbs Winery adventure began with the debut release of 1991 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon designated from these two vineyards.

Initially hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, he was soon promoted to the inaugural Opus One winemaking team. Following his Mondavi experience, Paul joined Simi Winery as winemaker before going on to consult for Peter Michael, Lewis Cellars, Bodegas Catena and others. He continues to be a leading source of information on viticulture and advisor to winemakers around the globe.

Yet it was during this time nearly 30 years ago when Paul had a vision to craft vineyard designate wines from the most compelling sites in California. In 1991 he spoke to Larry Hyde in Napa and Richard Dinner in Sonoma to inquire about purchasing five tons of fruit from each of their vineyards. Larry and Richard agreed to sell him their grapes, and so the Paul Hobbs Winery adventure began with the debut release of 1991 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon designated from these two vineyards.

Pictured left: Paul’s great-grandfather, Edward James; great-grandmother Katherine Lindsay; and their son

In 1998 Paul was able to fulfill his family’s dream and honor his upbringing on the family farm by establishing the Katherine Lindsay Estate in Sebastopol, CA, named after his great-grandmother. The pursuit of the estate vineyard that started in upstate New York on the orchard was finally realized with the first harvest, the 2003 vintage. Today, the winery has seven estate vineyards in the most acclaimed regions for growing pinot noir, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon.

With his close attention to detail and hard work, the journey continues today.

As the founder and winemaker, Paul Hobbs is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards, and for his pioneering spirit in working innovatively with new and historical sites. A product of his formative years, he continues to farm the vineyards and dedicate himself to crafting wine that expresses their origins. With his close attention to detail and hard work, the journey continues today.