The Tablas Creek Team

Meet the people of Tablas Creek Vineyard and Winery.

Management

Robert Haas

Robert Haas, Partner and Founder

Robert Haas has played a leading role in the American wine industry for over half a century. After graduating from Yale in 1950, he joined his father’s firm, M. Lehmann, Inc., a retailer of fine wines and spirits in Manhattan. As a buyer for the company and its import arm, Leeds Import Company, Haas traveled through the cellars of France, establishing a formidable reputation as a wine taster while forging lifelong relationships with premier wine producers.

In the mid-1960s he set out on his own to import fine estate wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire, Alsace and the Rhône Valley, where he met the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel and became the Perrins' exclusive American importer.  He founded importer Vineyard Brands through which he introduced the American market to brands such as La Vieille Ferme, Marqués de Cáceres, Warre’s Port, Girardin, Alsace's Domaine Weinbach, and Burgundy's Domaines Gouges, Sauzet, Ponsot, Mongeard-Mugneret, Dauvissat, Matrot, Carillon, and Michel among others.  The company also served as a representative for newly emerging California wineries in the early seventies, including Chappellet, Freemark Abbey, Clos du Val, Joseph Phelps, Rutherford Hill, Hanzell, Kistler, and later Sonoma-Cutrer. He founded the symposium "Focus on Chardonnay" in 1984 to promote dialogue between producers in Burgundy and California and he also created the first ever French-American Rhône Symposium, which was held at the Meadowood Club in the Napa Valley in 1990.

As Managing Partner of Tablas Creek since its foundation in 1989, Haas has consistently spoken in favor of organic viticulture, minimum-intervention winemaking and wines of terroir and sophistication. He has spoken on wine and winemaking topics at festivals around the country, including the New York Wine Experience, the Boston Wine ExpoSociety of Wine Educators annual meeting, Santa Fe Wine & Chile FiestaHospice du RhôneCentral Coast Wine Classic and many others.

Haas is one of four American members of the Académie Internationale du Vin. In recognition of his contributions to the international wine community as an importer, a vintner, and an advocate for quality, he was elected as the AIV president in 2000.  He was recognized by the Paso Robles Wine Community as 2007 Wine Industry Person of the Year, and in 2014 he received a lifetime achievement award from Rhone Rangers for his contributions to the American Rhone movement.  Haas manages Tablas Creek with his son Jason.

Jason Haas

Jason Haas, Partner and General Manager

Jason Haas, the son of Tablas Creek Vineyard founder and renowned importer Robert Haas, learned the wine business at an early age, accompanying his family on yearly European wine-buying trips and spending two summers working at Château de Beaucastel.

After obtaining a Master's Degree in Archaeology from Cornell and spending a four-year stint managing a tech company in Washington, DC, Jason moved to California to join Tablas Creek in April of 2002.  At Tablas Creek, he oversees the business operations, is a member of the winemaking committee and directs the vineyard’s local and national marketing efforts.

In addition to his work at Tablas Creek, he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, a past president of the Rhone Rangers, and a former board member of the Family Winemakers of California. His writing has been published in Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Wine Industry Network and Zester Daily, and he is the principal author of the Tablas Creek blog, which has been a finalist at the Wine Blog Awards for Best Winery Blog seven times since 2008, winning in 2008 and 2011.

In recognition of his contributions to the Paso Robles wine community, he was voted by his peers 2015 Paso Robles Wine Country Wine Industry Person of the Year.  He manages Tablas Creek with his father Robert.

Production

Neil Collins, Executive Winemaker and Vineyard Manager

Neil was born and raised in Bristol, England. Trained as a chef, he moved into winemaking with stints with John Munch at Adelaida Cellars and Ken Volk at Wild Horse. At Adelaida, Neil met Robert Haas and the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel when they were just beginning the search for Tablas Creek. Neil was so intrigued by the project that he offered his services, and spent a year working and learning at Château de Beaucastel.

Before the year was finished, Neil was offered the winemaker position at Tablas Creek, and he has overseen both the organic vineyard and the winery since 1998.

His philosophy is that great wines can only come from great grapes, and that the art of winemaking is founded on starting out with the very best grapes and bringing their juice through fermentation as naturally as possible.

Neil was named San Luis Obispo County Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

Chelsea Magnusson

Chelsea Franchi, Senior Assistant Winemaker

Chelsea Franchi 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.

Jordan Lonborg, Viticulturist

Born and raised in a small beach town by the name of Scituate, MA. 30 miles south of Boston, Jordan graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Fruit Science. He assisted in the management of the deciduous orchard on campus for over two years until Jordan took his first job in the wine industry with Monterey Pacific Inc., a large vineyard management company in Monterey county. Working as a PCA, and then as a Viticulturist, on the famous San Bernabe Ranch and in Haymes Valley, the time he spent here was an amazing educational experience for Jordan. Ever since he began working in agriculture, Jordan dreamed of an opportunity to work on a property such as Tablas Creek. In Febuary of 2016, That dream came true…
 
Jordan lives in the Adelaida with his wife Molly and their dog Miles Davis. He is an avid fly fisherman and can be found on the rivers of Northern California during his time off chasing steelhead in the winters and rainbow trout in the summers.

David Maduena, Vineyard Manager

David has grown up in the vineyard; from an early age he worked with his father in a number of local vineyards and orchards in the Paso Robles area.  He began work at Tablas Creek in 1992 and was intimately involved in the original grafting and planting projects.  David is responsible for communicating the needs of the vineyard with winemaker, Neil Collins and viticulturist, Levi Glenn.  David is especially excited about harvesting fruit from the new varietals that were planted three years ago.  David loves to be “out there in the vineyard”, he likes “seeing the plants growing”.

David is married and has six children ranging in age from twenty to seven years old.  

Craig Hamm, Cellar Master 

Craig grew up locally, in Templeton where his dad owned a small vineyard growing black and white muscat grapes.  He remembers fondly the hot days he and his three brothers helped his dad with the harvest.  Craig learned the wine industry hands-on, working in the cellars of Meridian, Justin and has been working at Tablas Creek since 2013.  Craig enjoys the small team and quality-focused aspects of working at Tablas Creek.  He can often be found driving a fork lift balanced with wine barrels carefully around the cellar.

Craig and his partner Annika have recently welcomed a new baby boy, Jackson into the world.  Craig also enjoys surfing, playing basketball or learning a new sport.

Brad Ely, Winery Team Member

Brad was born and raised locally on the Central Coast. While attending Cal Poly for Business and Entrepreneurship, he was introduced to the world of food and wine through his experience working as a fine dining server at The Lido restaurant in Shell Beach. Upon graduation, deciding the suit and tie lifestyle was not for him, he took a harvest position at Saucelito Canyon Vineyard. After two years of full time work, he left home to get his hands dirty at Owen Roe in Washington State, Two Hands Wines in the Barossa Valley of South Australia, VinPro in Central Otago New Zealand, and most recently at Domaine la Barroche in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France.

With an obsession to produce terroir driven Rhones, he jumped on the opportunity to work for Tablas Creek. The winemaking philosophies, and small, quality focused team made Tablas the perfect fit. On the weekends Brad can be found surfing up and down the coast, building and riding vintage motorcycles, and playing golf. 

Wine Club & Hospitality

Nicole Getty, Wine Club and Hospitality Director

Nicole Getty grew up in a sleepy town in northern CA, and in 1990 she moved to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly. With a degree in sociology, she dabbled in human resources and social work in the bay area and Seattle before finding her way back to the central coast. By the time she returned in 2001, the wine industry was starting to boom and she decided to make a career change to true social work—hospitality!

Nicole quickly started to appreciate and enjoy wine with her first winery position and started to incorporate food and wine by working part-time with caterers and event planners. When the position at Tablas Creek became available that involved all of these things that she enjoyed (plus great wine!), she jumped at it. Nicole joined the Tablas Creek team in 2004 as the Wine Club & Hospitality Director and has the job that her friends who work in the Bay Area are envious of.

Monica O’Connor, Direct Sales Manager

Monica O’Connor came to the Central Coast from Southern California where she raised her son and earned her degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising from FIDM. While working as General Manager at Tara Graphics, she attended the 2004 Paso Robles Wine University. She enthusiastically pursued more wine education and started working in the Tablas Creek tasting room in 2008. With over 15 years experience in sales, management, hosting food and wine events and catering, it was a natural progression to Tablas Creek’s exemplary Wine Club and Hospitality team.

Monica enjoys hiking and yoga, cooking, recipe development, and designing.

Dani Archambeault, Wine Club Assistant

Dani Archambeault, originally from the central valley of California, relocated to Paso Robles from Southern California in 2010. Eager to get out of the big city to pursue new careers in the wine industry, Dani and her husband bought an Airstream travel trailer and headed to wine country!

Since living in the Paso Robles area, Dani has taken on every opportunity that has come her way in the wine business. Working in a tasting room, assisting with winery events, completing educational wine classes and taking on the small side project with her husband of making their first vintage of wine (2010 Syrah).

Dani joined the staff of Tablas Creek in March of 2011 where she works with our successful and growing VINsider wine club.

Joelle Cliff, Wine Club Travel Concierge

Joelle Cliff, a native Parisian, educated at the Sorbonne, has been a hospitality and service industry business owner since 1990. World traveled and exposed to many cultures and people since early childhood, Joelle has lived extensively in Paris, Provence, Washington D.C, New York City and Los Angeles, before falling in love with the California Central Coast where she and her husband, Dr. John Cliff, call Paso Robles their home.

Many of you know our associate Joelle from her great work in the tasting room and we are excited to announce that she has put her experience at the service of all of you as our new Wine Club Concierge. For advice and reservation help with a visit to Paris, the various wine regions of France, or your next visit to the California Central Coast, contact us at vinsider@tablascreek.com

Tasting Room

John Morris

John Morris, Tasting Room Manager

After growing up in the culinary wasteland of 1970’s Flint, Michigan, John landed in Seattle and spent 20 years discovering and developing a love for food and wine (ok, it was beer first) all the while playing music and working in the burgeoning specialty coffee business. John relocated to the Central Coast in search of sun in 2005, and has been the tasting room manager at Tablas Creek since the summer of 2007. When not at the winery, John can be found working on his ½ acre hobby farm and orchard just east of Paso Robles.

Sandra Napua, Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Sandra settled in the Central Coast in 2013 after living an adventurous life of a world traveler and gypsy. Early in her life she had the good fortune to live in Paris studying art and fashion. While there she began exploring and developing her palate for the wines of France. She continued to explore wines in the countries she visited and has always been fascinated by the art of wine-making.

After Paris, she spent the next 25 years in the world of art, directing and managing contemporary art galleries in Sarasota, Santa Fe, Boston and Maui. Along the way she also worked in the hospitality business as the owner and operator of a successful event and wedding planning company on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Joining the team at Tablas Creek is a dream come true as it has brought her full circle back to where she began tasting and enjoying wine... in the old world wines of France. She is excited to be working at Tablas Creek Vineyard and is grateful to contribute to the venture of exploring and establishing Rhone-style wines in the United States.

Charlie Chester, Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Charlie spent the first 25 years of his life in Santa Barbara, California.  He now resides on the beautiful Central Coast and enjoys the outdoors.  Charlie joined the VINsider Wine Club during his first visit to the winery. Charlie has worked in the tasting room since 2010 and can often be found transporting wine throughout the winery, on a fork lift or in the tasting room.

Sylvia Montague, Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Sylvia has been living on the Central Coast for the good part of four decades. She has watched the area change immensely in the last 20 years as the wine industry has made a name for itself. In 2002 Sylvia began working in a tasting room at another local vineyard and from that point forward she has never looked back. She has always had a passion for good wine and food and is proud to see that the Paso Robles area can now boast an array of excellent wineries and restaurants.

After taking a tour in 2003 Sylvia was impressed by the quality and taste that set Tablas’ wines apart from the rest in the area. She joined the Tablas Cru in October 2004 as the assistant tasting room manager. She claims to be Tablas Creek’s biggest fan and a big believer in the Tablas philosophy. She is now Tablas Creek’s assistant manager in charge of merchandising and still enjoys meeting, greeting and pouring for all those who come to the vineyard.

When not at Tablas Creek, Sylvia can be found critiquing the wines from her husband’s private vineyard and keeping her two standard poodles out of mischief.

Deanna Ryan, Tasting Room Team Lead

Born and raised in London, England, Deanna came to Los Angeles as a 19 year old for a 3 month stay and decided to extend her visit. She settled in Santa Barbara where she married and had 2 children, later moving to San Luis Obispo. She became interested in wine around 2002 due to a love of good food, cooking and organic gardening. The industry was rapidly growing in San Luis Obispo County and it seemed like an exciting field to get involved with. She was drawn to Tablas Creek Vineyard because of their commitment to organic farming and excellent wine making practices, plus the fact they were (and still are) a small, family owned business, and has worked in the tasting room since 2003.

Gustavo Prieto, Tasting Room Team Lead

Gustavo was born and raised in Chile were he developed his love of agriculture on his grandfather’s farm. In 1982 he came to California and earned a degree in fruit science from Cal Poly. His early career was spent in the produce business and he worked for many years in the Netherlands and Chile. He returned to the Central Coast in 2000 and decided to pursue his passion for wine. Gustavo obtained his wine certificate from Cal Poly in 2008 and has worked the harvest at Wild Horse and Bianchi wineries.  In the fall of 2010, Gustavo worked the harvest at Château de Beaucastel, Tablas Creek’s sister winery in France.

Gustavo has been with Tablas Creek since 2007.  Today, he is one of our tasting room’s team leads and continues to share his love of wine with our clientele from near and far.

Sales & Marketing

Darren Delmore, National Sales Manager

Darren Delmore was raised by restaurateurs in San Luis Obispo, California. After stints in competitive surfing and publishing as an editor at Surfing Magazine, he embarked on an oenological odyssey that steered him through ten wine harvests in California, Oregon and Australia. He worked with Rhone varietals at Bonny Doon Vineyard, punched down Pinot Noir at the Hirsch Vineyard, and blackened his palms at Two Hands in the Barossa Valley of Australia. Most recently, he represented Goldeneye Winery in Anderson Valley as a Wine Educator before joining Tablas Creek as National Sales Manager in 2012.

Darren's love of Tablas Creek began with the 2002 vintage of Esprit de Beaucastel, and his humble personal collection boasts a consecutive vertical of the flagship blend going back to 2003.

Darren’s written work on wine has been published by Wine Spectator, Vine Times, Anderson Valley Advertiser, and Wine Country this Week. He is currently is living in San Luis Obispo with his partner Jillian, son Shea and daughter Canyon.

Meghan Dunn, Publications

Meghan Dunn grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where the beverage of choice was Coca-Cola.  She attended Williams College, where she met husband Jason Haas and began her wine education thanks to her father-in-law’s extensive cellar.  She earned a PhD from Yale University in Social Psychology in 2000, and researches policy issues for the federal court system. 

She and Jason moved to Paso Robles in 2002 to be more involved with the winery, and Meghan now splits her time between her federal court work and Tablas Creek.  At Tablas Creek, Meghan produces the quarterly newsletter, coordinates the label printing and approval processes, and writes all other promotional materials. 

When not advocating for fewer words on the wine labels, Meghan enjoys reading, running and travel.  She and Jason have two sons, Eli and Sebastian, who are also happily learning the family business.

Lauren Phelps, Marketing Coordinator

Lauren  was born and raised in Northern California; she has roots in both the Sierra Nevada foothills and the greater Bay Area.  She graduated from Sonoma State with a degree in Psychology as well as a multiple subject teaching credential.  After serving two years with the AmeriCorps program, Lauren and her family relocated to the Central Coast.  In 2007 she became the Program Director and then Executive Director of the Paso Robles Boys & Girls Club where she was responsible for operations, fundraising, programs, hr/administration and most enjoyably- marketing.

As the leader of a local nonprofit, Lauren was intimately connected with the Paso Robles wine industry.  She collaborated with wineries and industry leaders to raise funds for local youth programs.  She began working in the tasting room at Tablas Creek in 2012 and is thrilled to be more involved as the Marketing Coordinator.  Lauren is inspired by the dedication to quality, innovation and continued social and environmental responsibility of Tablas Creek; she is excited to communicate that enthusiasm in creative visual and written work.

Suphada Rom, Marketing, Tasting Room & Wine Club

Suphada grew up in the heart of the Green Mountains in small town Windsor, Vermont. After graduating with her degree in biology from Keene State, she backpacked through Europe. It was there that her love for food and wine was evoked, and she knew that this was a passion she had to make her job, not a hobby. Upon arrival back to the states, she took a job at a local restaurant, where she spent four years perfecting fine dining service, along with tasting every dish and wine in house. In 2014, she had the pleasure of meeting the Haas family at a Tablas Creek tasting in their hometown of Chester, Vermont. She left the tasting feeling overwhelmingly inspired by both the wines and the story. Her enthusiasm led to a job offer, which propelled the cross country move to beautiful Paso Robles, California.
 
At Tablas Creek, Suphada can be found in just about any department. Between promoting Tablas Creek at an event, educating consumers in the tasting room, and writing up her latest blog piece for Eat Drink Tablas, she find her job to be endlessly interesting. Her drive to be as well versed on wine as possible was acknowledged most recently by passing her Certified Sommelier exam.
 
When Suphada isn’t geeking out on wine at work, she loves throwing dinner parties for friends, listening to every genre of music under the sun, reading NYT restaurant reviews, and driving all over the state, experiencing all the food and wine that California has to offer.

Accounting & Facilities

Denise Chouinard, Controller

Heather Hildenbrand, Assistant Controller

Local to the Central Coast Appellation, Heather Hildenbrand grew up in San Luis Obispo. After high school, Heather moved to Malibu to attend Pepperdine University where she graduated with a degree in Accounting. After 4 years in public accounting at Ernst & Young, she transitioned to the private sector working for ValleyCrest Companies, a national landscape company based in Calabasas, CA.

After marrying her kindergarten sweetheart, Heather and her husband Kenny were eager to get back to the SLO life. They returned home and Heather took a position as the Controller for Weatherby Firearms. Excited to be part of the wine industry, she joined the staff of Tablas Creek Vineyard as the Assistant Controller in June 2010. Her passions include family, friends, reading, and of course, wine!

Eileen Harms, Accounting

Eileen Harms is the self-proclaimed “excel queen” of the accounting team at Tablas Creek. Her excel-lent duties include accounts payable, wholesale and export orders and documentation, off premise wine inventory, storage and transporting, bottling, planting and harvest reporting. If it fits on a spreadsheet, it’s probably on Eileen’s desk!

Prior to her husband’s career relocating them to Paso Robles, Eileen owned and operated an upscale restaurant in Lincoln NE for sixteen years, appropriately named Inn Harms Way. Once in Paso Robles she continued to manage restaurants for several years before decided to fall back on her accounting degree and took on work with local developers. Eileen jumped at the chance to get involved in the wine industry when an accounting position opened up at Tablas Creek.

Her professional passions in cooking, wine tasting, and food and wine pairings is now her hobby. Eileen is blessed to have a wonderful husband, two daughters, son-in-laws and two grandsons. When the family gets together, it is all about food and wine!

Randy Thurman, IT & Facilities Manager

Randy grew up in Monterey County and moved to Portland, Oregon to finish getting his bachelor’s degree in network management. While living in Portland Randy worked for US Bank on their help desk supporting over 10,000 users and for a manufacturing business in a systems administrator capacity that utilized 7 different locations all in different states. In 2006 the decision was made to move back to Monterey County when an opportunity to work for The Pebble Beach Company as their server administrator job came open. In 2008, an opening on the central coast with a local IT company presented itself, and Randy started working with several different types of businesses in different industries throughout San Luis Obispo County, Monterey County, and Santa Barbara County.
 
The industry that intrigued Randy the most was the wine industry. He had seen and been to several wineries throughout the central coast but the wine being produced at Tablas Creek Vineyard really captured his attention. Randy joined the Tablas Creek team in 2016 where he takes care of day to day IT needs for the company and provides facilities management as well. He enjoys every day working in an industry that he truly enjoys being a part of. 

 

Events

Harvest Wine Weekend

October 14th - 16th, 2016
Celebrate Paso Robles Harvest Wine Weekend with Tablas Creek. Join us in the tasting room all weekend for a first look at our flagship Esprit de Tablas wines from the vibrant, powerful 2014 vintage. We will kick off the festival Friday night at McPhee's Grill in Templeton with a four-course, five-wine dinner. For reservations, call us at 805.237.1231 x230 or email events@tablascreek.com. On Saturday, join us in the cellar at Tablas Creek for a series of interactive harvest cellar tours throughout the day. Led by Executive Winemaker Neil Collins, guests will sample wines in various stages of the winemaking process and learn about the 2016 harvest and winemaking at Tablas Creek. Tours will be offered 10:30, 12:00, 2:00 and 3:30 (limited to 20 guests per tour; free to all guests). Details & more events »


Tablas Creek News

Chimney Fire Update

The Chimney Fire is 9 miles to our west, and all roads are open to us. Our tasting room is open and harvest proceeding as normal. Cal Fire update » Visiting »

August Featured Wine: 2015 Vermentino

Each month we feature a wine showing particularly well and offer it at a 10% discount. August's wine is the citrusy 2015 VermentinoDetails »

Tablas Creek wins 2016 California Green Medal for Sustainability

The CA Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance awarded Tablas Creek one of four 2016 Green Medals for leadership in sustainability. Our practices »


On the Tablas Blog

Harvest 2016 Begins!

August 18, 2016
By Jordan Lonborg
The wine grape harvest of 2016 has begun. Early this morning, our first Viognier pick kicked off our estate harvest at Tablas Creek. Our first fruit (also Viognier, from Adelaida Cellars) for the Patelin program came in yesterday. Next week, we expect to bring in more Patelin Viognier from one of Derby's vineyards, Pinot Noir from the Bob Haas's vineyard for our Full Circle Pinot, and some Syrah from Estrella Vineyard for Patelin red. At this stage, we're sampling fruit on a daily basis from several Patelin vineyards and multiple blocks at Tablas Creek to stay ahead of the ripening curve. A few photos from this morning:  Read More »