Tablas Creek Vineyard

Paso Robles, California

Tablas Creek Vineyard

Paso Robles, California

A Story Born from a Unique Partnership 

Jason Haas continues the legacy his father, Robert Haas, and his business partner, Jacques Perrin, began when they launched the winery project known today as Tablas Creek Vineyard in 1989. For the past 22 years, Jason has worked to share the unique story of the land and the vines to help bridge a connection to the wine.

Robert started his career in 1950 as a wine importer, traveling through France and developing relationships with many of the wine producers in the region. Through this work, he met the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and became friends with the Perrin family patriarch, Jacques Perrin. Together, they partnered in a vision to bring Rhone grape varietals, such as Syrah, Grenache and Viognier, to California, knowing they could find a similar climate to southern France there.

In the mid-1980s, their shared vision gained traction, they began looking for land that would suit Rhone varietals. They found the perfect property in Paso Robles after four years of searching and purchased 120 acres at Tablas Creek with assistance from Farm Credit.

A Lengthy Process

The process of bringing the Rhone varietals to the United States took time. Each varietal had to undergo a three-year process mandated by the United States Department of Agriculture to ensure the vines were virus-free. Once approved, the vines were multiplied in a nursery constructed at Tablas Creek and began planting in 1992.

They also provided the new varietals to other producers to plant and grow. And grow they did. By the early 2000s, it became clear that Tablas Creek had grown from a project to a business that needed a full-time manager. That is when Jason quit his job working in technology on the East Coast to help Robert with the operation.

Bringing the Story to Life

Jason spent the next year meeting with distributors on the East Coast, understanding the perception of Tablas Creek.

They first opened a tasting room in the summer of 2002 to invite people to learn about and experience the wines. Later that summer, they launched the Tablas Creek Wine Club and sent their first shipment in August.

Jason also spent his days riding with distributors to share the wine with potential buyers. And they also started participating in festivals, pouring the wine at tasting booths and telling the story of Tablas Creek. Today, Tablas Creek makes and sells 30,000 cases per year, a long way from the 4,000 cases twenty years ago. “In all these ways, it’s connected to how we get people inside our world and excited about the things we are excited about – finding ways for them to feel connected,” Jason explained.

What Makes Each Chapter Special

Early on, Jason realized he needed to understand Tablas Creek’s value proposition and what makes their wines and the winery different.

To Jason, along with their history of bringing grapevines in from France, propagating them, and making them available to the broader community, it’s also about Tablas Creek operating as an organic winery and being the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified vineyard. On the homepage of Tablas Creek’s website, visitors will find a photo of a herd of sheep grazing between each row of vines, a key component of promoting a healthy soil and ecosystem as a part of the regenerative organic farming model.

“We do a lot of work writing on our blog and working with writers to tell the story of regenerative farming and why it matters. That's going to be one of the biggest measures of how successful we are over the next couple of decades and the extent to which we can translate that into something that people feel they can do,” Jason said. 

Last, but not least, Jason says the people are the heart of the story of Tablas Creek Winery. “Our vineyard manager was part of the first crew that planted the first vines here in 1992 and is still here 31 years later. The fact that we can be a place where people are inspired to come and stay is something that I'm really proud of.”

It’s clear that the unique story, and shared vision that began in 1989, continues to resonate and connect people to Tablas Creek today.

This article was originally published in AgWest’s Fall 2023 West Connect Magazine.