Get the Dirt about Pace Family Wines from Randy Pace

26 Mar

PaceVineyardMy wife and I have been making wine since 1981. The first year we made wine from Zinfandel grapes grown along the Trinity River near Willow Creek in Northern California. Over the years we made a variety of wines including a Zinfandel that won an award at the Home Winemakers Classic wine tasting in Napa Valley. The wine was called “Seat Belt Special”. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years making small quantities of wine in the Napa Valley until 1998. During this time, 1982 – 1999, Randy worked at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley with Warren Winiarski as Chief Operations Officer. We moved to Santa Ynez Valley in 1999, where Randy was General Manager of Bridlewood Winery for three years. Randy returned to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 2001 and worked for three years, retiring after 20 years of service. In 2006 Randy started the project that became in 2008 Terravant Wine Company in Buellton, CA, where he is currently General Manager.

Our children have been involved with the winemaking for many years, but beginning with the 2010 vintage our son Ryan, who has since graduated in 2013 from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wine and Viticulture, has taken on many of the decisions acting as Assistant Winemaker.

1. What was your first vintage year? 2006

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? About 125

3. If not you, who is your winemaker? I am with my son Ryan Pace.

4. How did you get your start in the winemaking business? I was hired at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 1983 as the Business Manager and left as the COO 20 years later.

5. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? 1954 Louis Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

PaceVineyard26. What varietals do you work with? Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Syrah. Why? So delicious to drink young and can be expressed in many different ways.

7. What vineyards do you source from? Our home vineyard and others in the Santa Ynez Valley. The vineyard is planted where we bought our house. We love it but it only makes enough for one barrel at most.

8. What type of oak treatment do you use? We barrel ferment in both new and used French and American oak.

9. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special? The weather and soils here are ideal. This is one of the best places in the world to live in.

PaceBottles10. What’s the story behind your name/label? The original name concept was to be called Passages and our first label (you can see it here: showed a trail or passage through some old oaks near where we live. Right before we were finally ready to print our labels I did a new search on the internet and found three other wineries were already using the name without trademark registration. I called my trademark attorney and his recommendation was to simply use my last name. The label was recently redesigned by one of Ryan’s high school friends with freehand calligraphy.

11. What do you love about small-lot winemaking? Watching the way the wines develop. Anything you DON’T love about it? Paying for grapes.

12. Do you still have a day job? If so, do you mind sharing what it is? I am the Senior Vice President of Sourcing for Terravant Wine Company which I helped to start. Kate Pace, my wife, owns Kate’s Yogurt in Solvang. Ryan Pace, our son, is the Enologist for Byron Winery.

For more information about Pace Family Wines, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.


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