Beckstoffer owns some of the most prestigious vineyard properties in the Napa Valley including To Kalon, Las Amigas Ranch, Beaulieu Vineyard #3 and #4, and Cabral Ranch. He is dedicated to preserving the land that he farms.
Beckstoffer grew up in Richmond Virginia. He worked as head of acquisitions for Hublein in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During this time he settled the grape boycotts led by Cesar Chavez.
In 1970, he founded the Vinifera Development Corporation while working for Hublein. He acquired vineyards for Hublein before buying the corporation in 1973 and renaming it Beckstoffer Vineyards in 1978. He generally planted Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa and Merlot in Carneros. He also made innovations in vine spacing, pruning and trellising.
Beckstoffer was an early proponent of planting grapes in Lake County and has invested over $25 million in the region. At the time, there were only four wineries in the entire country. His Clear Lake property is located in the proposed Red Hills AVA. This elevated region has a very similar climate to the Napa Valley, and land costs only 5% to 10% what it does in Napa.
But Beckstoffer influenced the industry the most by advocating the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association. He also insisted on taking the price of wine into account when he sold his grapes to producers. Beckstoffer also makes wine under his own label, Fremont Creek.