2008 Wine Industry Awards – San Luis Obispo County
William Sheffer of Halter Ranch Vineyard was named Winemaker of the Year. Before leading the winemaking team at Halter Ranch, Mr. Sheffer made wine for several other notable San Luis Obispo County wineries, including, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Eberle Winery, and Adelaida Cellars.
Ric Fuller of Shimmin Canyon Vineyard was awarded the title Wine Grape Grower of the Year. His past experience includes working for Paul Masson Vineyards as well as planting the only privately owned research vineyard in San Luis Obispo County. Fuller was a founding member of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.
The Wine Industry Person of the Year was awarded to Jerry Lohr, founder of J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines. During the late 1960s, Dr. Lohr was one of the first people to recognize San Luis Obispo County’s potential as a world-class winemaking region. In 1971, he planted his first vineyard in the Arroyo Seco AVA.
Dennis T. Collins was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award (posthumously). Over his career, he worked with many of California’s best known wineries including Gallo, Franzia, and Bronco Wine Company. He founded Big Red Vineyard in 1996, and also began working as the General Manager for Treana Vineyards in 2002.
Wine is big business in San Luis Obispo County, and contributes approximately $1.8 billion a year to the local economy. Over 1 million tourists visit the wine region annually.