Paso Robles Wine Region: Insider Insights with Randy Heinzen

Paso Robles Wine Region: Insider Insights with Randy Heinzen

Married for 19 years, Randy and Jenny Heinzen are a phenomenal team. Owner and President of Vineyard Professional Services (VPS), Randy leads with total integrity and dedication.Today VPS manages over 4,000 acres across the Central Coast and has developed 60+ vineyards. Last year, the company harvested more than 10,000 tons and plan to pick significantly more this year with the addition of new clients and vineyards.

Historical Roots

A Cal Poly grad who earned his master’s degree in Australia before working as the vineyard manager for Beckstoffer Vineyards in Napa Valley for a decade, Randy brings insider expertise and valuable experience to the growing operation. In fact, the California Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers just awarded him Farm Manager of the Year.

Paso Robles Wine Industry Forecast

In a recent interview with Andrew Adamas for Wine Analytics Report, Randy outlines what you need to know around the increasingly in-demand Paso Robles wine region now from market demand to rising costs and the coming 2022 vintage.
1. The Central Coast’s spotlight is brighter than ever. Interest in Paso Robles wine country from winemakers and wine marketers has never been stronger.
“While we’ve always considered ourselves as a nascent region and as building upwards and gaining traction and momentum, I think we’ve always just talked to ourselves about the quality we are growing, and kind of patting ourselves on the back on the improvements we’ve been making as an industry. To have this level of interest and accolades from outside pouring in has been a real confirmation to a lot of us who have always assumed that everyone knew that we were great. I mean, the number of winemakers I used to work with in Napa that are now buying vineyards here, or taking trips down here and just being tourists, I feel like we’ve tried to talk a big game for a long time, and I think finally we are seeing the fruits of all this and are really kind of breaking through and getting a lot of attention.”
2. Grape demand is up.
“Grape sales have been fantastic. I can’t remember the last time we were selling grapes the first week of January. We knew something was up when we were getting sales calls in December, and then in the first week of January, we started selling through a lot of our uncontracted fruit, and where we stand today is very little is left for sale from within our category and within our client base. Cab has been extremely hot. Other varieties, blenders, white grapes—all high demand—multiple offers, multiple buyers. I’m not sure, I think outside wineries are looking to kind of diversify their allocation, their sourcing strategy because of smoke or drought, and so they need to kind of broaden where they’re pulling grapes from.
At the same time, I think that the fact that many of these North Coast wineries we’re entertaining and selling fruit to are also now crushing down here and looking to make Paso Robles appellation or Central Coast appellation wines. We’re entertaining new wineries almost every week down here as they look to diversify for fruit sourcing and trying to find and build programs, and that’s been an encouragement in an otherwise dry, cold start to the season.”
3. The current vintage: 
“Even though it’s been incredibly dry the last couple months when I’ve been looking at our soil moisture sensors, we actually have better moisture at depth which is where we want to be at this time of the year. Not having rain is within our experience bank, and we’ve dealt with it for a lot of years, and we understand the tools and practices we need to put in place now to adapt for a dry start to the year.
Several of our cooler ranches are about three weeks ahead of schedule in terms of bud break. That’s somewhat disconcerting because we’re in an aggressive cool period right now where we have active frost protection going. But early starts to the season mean early harvest, which I think all of us would take. Every season has its challenges, and sometimes they’re early, sometimes they’re late, sometimes they’re the whole year. I’d say there’s the challenges of an early start and a dry winter that we’re working through.”
For a more detailed look on pricing, development deals, and more—be sure to read the full Wine Analytics Report article here (link).
From all of us here at Jenny Heinzen Real Estate and Vineyard Professional Services, we wish Randy a Happy 45th Birthday!

Here for You

If you're looking for a proven Paso Robles vineyard and winery expert, Jenny Heinzen is prepared to listen, share expertise, and deliver on your goals.