The passing of Robert Haas, memories of Vineyard Brands.

April 11th, 2018

       Robert Haas recently passed away, truly a pioneer and icon in the industry. Among other things, he created the importing and marketing company of Vineyard Brands.

       Vintage Wine represented Vineyard Brands from 1988 until 2003. Chris Marshall and Shyvawn Licorice called on us and spent a lot of time in Ohio. The major brands that we sold from them were:

          La Vieille Ferme

          Perrin Family: Beaucastel, Coudelet, Perrin Reserve

          Santa Rita from Chile

          Marques de Caceras from Spain

          Warre’s Ports – 2 containers per year

          Many really great Burgundy producers

          Villa Maria from New Zealand

          Marquis de Chasse in wood boxes from Bordeaux

          Miles Madeira

          Weinbach from Alsace 

      They also had some real challenging brands, including Bulletin Place, Willow Creek, Adelaida, Chantovent, Richemont from Moldova, Hickory Ridge by Hugh Ryman,  and – at the time – Tablas Creek.

At one time Vineyard Brands also represented Champagne Louis Roederer, Pine Ridge, St. Clement, and Wild Horse.

       In 2003, we traded Vineyard Brands, Merryvale, Pine Ridge, and Archery Summit to Glazer’s and received Kunde, Seghesio, St. Supery, Negociants (Yalumba), Bernardus, Pasternak, Kenwood, Swanson, Forestville, and Grand Cru.

       Although Tablas Creek has become an industry leader, in the early years, it was one of the most difficult brands for us to sell. The wines are from Paso Robles, at that time unknown, and made from Rhone varietals – not well known compared to other California wines at the time. The story behind Tablas Creek was (and is) wonderful – but no one wanted to hear it. Additionally the wines, in my opinion, did not taste good. The Haas family had invested a lot into this project with the Perrin family and it immediately became their highest priority – clearly above all other brands. We did our best, the wines were not very good and our customers did not share the Haas’s enthusiasm, desire or financial risk.

           Robert had perseverance. Today, the wines are wonderful, have impacted the industry and Vineyard Brands continues onward. Robert Haas was a true pioneer in our industry.

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