Doug Beckett ©Julia Perez, The Winemakers of Paso Robles.
Doug and Nancy Beckett enjoyed California wines in the early 1970s, never dreaming that they would found their own winery, Peachy Canyon Winery, and become internationally known for the quality of their Zinfandel wines which have been sold in every state of the nation, Europe, Asia, Canada, and Mexico. Their move to rural Paso Robles to seek a healthy environment in which to raise their two sons on a ranch with a walnut orchard set off a chain of events that have showcased their artistic talents. Doug is known for his dedication to the art of fine winemaking and Nancy for her dedication to the art of dance. During their worldwide travel, they advocate and provide education for the Paso Robles wine region and local wines. Doug’s participation in statewide organizations to promote family-owned wineries and in particular the Zinfandel grape is legendary; he is a longtime board member of the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP). As Doug says, “the world is full of dreamers, sometimes they come here to live them.”
Impact on the Wine History of San Luis Obispo County
- Founding member of the first Paso Robles Wine Festival in 1983. Doug poured his Zinfandel under the Tobias label, a joint venture with Pat Wheeler.
- First winemaker to take a San Luis Obispo County wine, Tobias Zinfandel, to Hong Kong and China in 1987.
- First winemaker to open a tasting room in the beach community of Cayucos, California.
- Founding member of the Family Winemakers of California in 1990.
- Co-Founder of the Zin Festival in Paso Robles in 1993.
- Peachy Canyon Winery was the first winery in Paso Robles to make the Wine Spectator Magazine’s top 100 wines in the world with their Zinfandel in 1991.
- Doug Beckett was an award-winning Zinfandel winemaker early in his career, receiving recognition for Peachy Canyon Zinfandel on both the 1991 and 1992 Wine Spectator List as the top two Zinfandels for two consecutive years.
- Founding member of the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) in 1991, a California non-profit organization with the mission to preserve the history and advocate for the Zinfandel grape nationwide.
- First President of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) elected from San Luis Obispo County, 1999-2001.
- First winemaker in San Luis Obispo County to preserve old Zinfandel vines clones (100 years or older) by supporting the Heritage Vineyards Project and establishing one of three Heritage Vineyards in California in the Mustang Springs Vineyard. Doug supported this project when he was the President of ZAP from 1999 to 2001.
- First winemaker in San Luis Obispo County to visit the original vine in Croatia, studied by Professor Carol Meredith of the University of California at Davis and two professors at the University of Zagreb, whose research determined this vine has the same DNA as the Zinfandel clone we have planted in California. The mystery of the origin of Zinfandel was solved after decades of research.
- Doug’s philosophy and commitment for the last four decades have been in support and promotion of the Paso Robles AVA and the wine region of San Luis Obispo County through education, lectures, wine tastings during his travels throughout the world.
- Peachy Canyon wines have been sold in all 50 states in the United States, the first local winery to do so.
- Peachy Canyon Winery is the only Paso Robles winery that was invited to present their wine in Cuba as a member of the U.S. Trade Commission which funded and sponsored the event in 2015.
- The Beckett family owns five vineyards in three AVAs – Templeton Gap, Willow Creek, and Adelaida.
- Peachy Canyon Winery is a family-owned and operated winery with the second generation, Josh and Jake Beckett, transitioning to managing the vineyards, winemaking, sales, and marketing.
- Nancy and Doug Beckett are well known for their philanthropy and support of the arts throughout San Luis Obispo County.
- Doug was the only winery owner in San Luis Obispo County to countersue Jarek Molski, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, who sued over 80 producers in federal court for violations under the ADA regulations. U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie ruled against Molski in 2004, accusing him of “running a systematic scheme of extortion” against Central Coast businesses.
Doug’s Early Life From Coast to Coast
Doug was born in Morgantown, West Virginia on January 1, 1946. His father was in the military and was transferred to Point Loma, California. Point Loma is a rugged peninsula that separates the San Diego Bay from the Pacific Ocean. Doug Beckett graduated from Point Loma High School in 1964. After that, Doug served in the United States Marine Corps and received an honorable discharge.
Doug selected a series of educational programs leading to degrees and careers that have honed his unusual range of skills. These skills have made him a legendary winemaker and a tireless advocate for California Zinfandel and for the Paso Robles wine region.
Doug first developed his business skills by attending the United States International University (now known as Alliant International University with its main campus in San Diego, California), majoring in Business Administration and receiving a Bachelors of Science degree in 1971. He founded a chain of five convenience stores in the San Diego area and combined his knowledge with the experience of running a business, hiring employees, developing management and marketing skills.
He was accepted into the Educational Psychology Program at the University of San Diego, completing his Masters’ Degree in 1975. In addition, he also obtained a lifetime teaching credential, developing courses in family life education and writing articles on drug abuse and human sexuality. Doug became a high school counselor in his final years in Southern California.
Doug and Nancy Beckett – a Love Story and Lifetime Partnership
Nancy and Doug Beckett met and fell in love; theirs is a beautiful love story. Nancy was born in Oceanside, California. She graduated from Vista High School and enrolled at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri where she received her Associated Arts degree in 1969. She transferred to United States International University in Point Loma and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1972. Her passion was dance; she obtained a California teaching credential and taught dance and physical education. Doug and Nancy were married on September 11, 1971. They have been life-long partners in their businesses, philanthropy, and the arts.
Both Doug and Nancy worked as teachers in the towns of Encinitas, San Marcos, and Del Mar from 1971 to 1980 while they were living in San Diego. They soon became the parents of two sons, Jake and Josh. As parents, they decided to move to a small rural community where their boys could grow up in a healthy environment. They selected rural Paso Robles as the perfect place. Nancy and Doug had no idea their move to San Luis Obispo County would open a new chapter in their life – a journey into the world of grapevines, the art of winemaking, importing glass for Eastern Europe, establishing a dance studio, world-wide travel, wine awards, philanthropy, and enduring friendships.
Doug remembers his first winemaking experience in the backyard of his family home in 1963. He and a friend worked together making their first five gallons. His memory was that their wine was “just awful” but both young men drank it anyway. This experience stimulated a serious interest in wine. But Doug could not have imagined that he would become a partner in the Tobias label twenty years later.
While living in San Diego, Doug and Nancy joined a wine group with a fellow teacher who had established a relationship with a local wine shop. They attended tastings and learned about California and European wines. Doug enjoyed red wines and became interested in Zinfandel. The tastings and education in the 1970s coincided with the expansion of the California wine revolution with new winemakers crafting high-quality wines.
When they arrived in Paso Robles in 1981, Doug was offered a job in construction by a friend, Greg McMillan. Greg had a specialized business, restoring old barns in San Luis Obispo County. Doug and Greg worked primarily with hand tools on these projects.
Nancy and Doug purchased a 20-acre ranch with a walnut grove at 4045 Peachy Canyon Road, in the rolling hills west of the town of Paso Robles. The area was settled in the late 1880s by pioneers who ran cattle, grew grains, and planted orchards of apples, pears, walnuts, and almonds among fields of majestic oak trees. The ranch property had a house and a barn with lots of space for their sons, Josh and Jake. Doug was soon harvesting walnuts and selling them locally.
The Tobias Label
In 1982 the Beckett family was invited to a Bar-B-Que at the home of Jim Steiger. Jim lived next door to Pat Wheeler, a struggling winemaker. Pat Wheeler was a tool and die maker from Southern California who had learned winemaking as an amateur by taking classes at the Winemaking Shop owned by John Daume in Woodland Hills. Pat also joined the Cellarmasters Club which met monthly for wine tastings and educational seminars with well known California winemakers. Pat lost his heart to winemaking and decided to start his own winery and become a commercial operation.
Pat and his wife, Marty, moved to the Paso Robles area and purchased thirty acres on Kiler Canyon Road in the late 1970s. They planted a vineyard of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah surrounding their home and modest winery. Pat and Marty named their new pursuit, Tobias Vineyard, after their oldest son, and obtained their bond in 1980. The first Tobias vintage was bottled in 1982, on the very afternoon of the Bar-B-Que. Pat’s winery was small, a Rube Goldberg operation, with no tank and no filters. His first vintage produced about 100 cases of wine. On the afternoon of the Bar-B-Que, Jim suggested that Doug might want to join him in assisting Pat with the bottling. That afternoon was a life-changing event for Doug.
In 1983, Doug Beckett and Pat Wheeler formed a partnership to make Zinfandel wine under the Tobias label, sourcing their grapes from the legendary vineyard of Benito Dusi. The decision to work together was a spontaneous choice for both men. They had skills that complemented one another in this business partnership. Pat taught Doug about winemaking and Doug taught Pat about the business aspects of running a winery and selling wine. However, it should be noted that Doug kept his day job. Doug reminisces about their first oak barrels used for aging Tobias Zin. These barrels had been used as whiskey barrels so the Tobias Zinfandel was a bit rough and since the wine was unfiltered, there was always sediment to be found at the bottom of the bottle. Therefore, Doug liked to sell the wine to shops where it was standing upright on the shelves. Doug agreed to take charge of sales and marketing, starting with the 100 cases of Tobias wine. Doug loaded the cases of Tobias wine into the back of his pick-up truck and drove up the California Coast to Carmel and Monterey, both known for their beauty as tourist destinations. Tobias Zinfandel was sold directly to consumers and wine shops from the pick-up truck. Doug’s marketing skills would take Tobias wines to Hong Kong and China in 1987, the first of San Luis Obispo County wines to be tasted in eastern Asia.
Tobias Zinfandel was the first wine in San Luis Obispo County to be tasted in China. When Doug and Nancy traveled to Asia with friends in March 1987, they packed Tobias wine in their suitcases. Doug had lived in Taiwan during his childhood and was familiar with Chinese culture. They visited Hong Kong and met with their tailor Eddie Su. Doug offered Tobias wine to his tailor in exchange for the new clothes he was ordering. Eddie graciously refused but offered him a better alternative. The tailor introduced Doug to Kevin Sinclair, the writer of the wine column for the Hong Kong Daily Sun. After tasting the Tobias Zinfandel together at the top of a skyscraper overlooking the city, Sinclair wrote about Tobias wine in his newspaper column and praised it highly.
This article led to an audience with the Chinese Economic Trade Commission in Beijing. At the time, Doug described the air quality in Beijing as perfect. There were 6 million bicycles on the road and 6 cars. Doug presented Tobias wines in both Beijing and Xian. Kevin Sinclair became a friend and visited San Luis Obispo County to taste the local wines.
Wine Festivals Bring Wine Lovers to Paso Robles
Doug’s leadership and marketing strategies, including joining local and statewide organizations to promote Zinfandel, collaborating with local Zinfandel producers, and promoting the first of many Paso Robles Wine Festivals starting in 1983 have had a significant impact on raising the visibility of local winemakers in Paso Robles.
Doug also was one of the founders and advocates for the Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival in 1993 which focused on just one grape variety. This festival became an important marketing tool for local Zinfandel producers.
For the last four decades Doug has worked to promote the Paso Robles area; he is affectionately known as the “Paso Robles Ambassador.”
Doug and Nancy Support the Arts and Establish the First Tasting Room in Cayucos
Doug and Nancy have always collected art and supported local artists. They met Dale Evers at his studio in Cayucos, a small beach town located between Morro Bay and Cambria on the Central Coast. Ever’s studio was located in The Way Station and the idea of establishing a tasting room surfaced that day.
The Way Station is one of the most historic buildings in Cayucos; it was built as a hotel and dining room in 1876 for worldwide travelers arriving by ship at the historic Cayucos pier, built by Captain James Cass in 1875. The first hotel, known as the Cottage Hotel, was built by the Pedraita family who had emigrated from Switzerland and settled in Cayucos. Among the regular guests were the Hearst family. In the late nineteenth century, the Hearst family would travel from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo in their private railroad car and then be driven by a horse-drawn surrey to the hotel in Cayucos. The Hearsts enjoyed a three-course meal at the Cottage Hotel for 50 cents before traveling on to their property high on the hill above San Simeon Bay to camp in their elaborate tents, attended by their staff.
When Doug suggested to his partner Pat Wheeler that they open a tasting room in the beach town of Cayucos on Ocean Avenue, Pat agreed. The Cottage Hotel property was purchased from Mrs. Pedraita in 1974 by Hank and Maryellen Eiseman who restored the building and planted beautiful gardens. They renamed the property The Way Station and converted the hotel rooms to art studios and small shop spaces. Hank Eiseman shared the following historical annotation about the first Zinfandel grower to frequent the historic property, world-famous composer Ignace Paderewski: “World-renowned pianist, Paderewski, who was Poland’s Prime Minister and foreign minister being the nation’s representative that signed the Treaty of Versailles (ending World War I). Paderewski played in the parlor of the Cottage Hotel and brought visiting artists like Madam Shumanheinke to perform.” In 2017 the piano that Paderewski played in the parlor had been restored by Hank Eiseman’s daughter and can be found in her dance studio in the Salinas Dance School.
In 1985 Doug negotiated the rent for a small basement in the building now known as The Way Station. Doug carried two large wine barrels and a piece of wood down the stairs to set up his tasting room. He welcomed guests with glasses of Zinfandel on the weekends. His son Josh often accompanied him, helping his dad in the tasting room but spending more time surfing just south of the Cayucos Pier. This tasting room was the first in Cayucos and also the first retail experience of selling wine directly to the public for Doug and the Tobias label. Imagine the contrast from the tasting room in this small sleepy beach town to the moment when Doug presented Tobias Zinfandel in Hong Kong, and in China.
North County in the 1980s
Pat Wheeler introduced Doug to the local wineries and winemakers in the North County. Two new influential winemakers were Gary Eberle who had just founded his own Eberle Winery in Paso Robles and Tom Myers, winemaker at the largest commercial winery in the county, Estrella River Winery. Estrella was the most modern winery in the county, located to the east of California Highway 101, just north of Highway 46 East. Estrella River Winery’s first releases of major varietal wines, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, won gold medals at the Los Angeles County fair – in 1978 and 1979. This was the first winery in the county ever to do so and the achievement made them a magnet for all young winemakers.
Doug joined local winemakers Jim Clendenen, John Munch, Niels Udsen, and Ken Volk who gathered often to taste and evaluate their own wines with Tom Myers, a graduate of University of California at Davis, at Estrella River Winery. Tom Myers has been a tremendous influence on the Paso Robles wine industry in terms of style and consistency. His presence and personality, his dedication to science, and to making the best wine possible at a reasonable price have set the standard for Paso Robles wines. Tom was also the first winemaker to work in a state-of-the-art laboratory for his analysis at Estrella River Winery. Myers has been a mentor to many Paso Robles winemakers; his palate and incredible memory for all wines he has ever tasted are an important resource. Tom has been one of the most important mentors for Doug in his early days of winemaking.
In Templeton, Doug was introduced to the three iconic vineyards founded before Prohibition by the Dusi, Rotta, and Pesenti families. They were famous for their Zinfandel vineyards and winemaking. Max Goldman and his son Steve Goldman had purchased the historic York Brothers winery in 1970, replanted the vineyards, and restored the historic winery on York Mountain.
Doug and Nancy have fond memories of visiting the tasting room with its big fireplace made of large stones, the Indian Motorcycle, and the bar with Mel serving wines and chatting with everyone. There was fresh bread baked by Barbara Goldman to enjoy with the wine. Max Goldman and Steve applied for and received approval for the York Mountain AVA in 1983, the smallest in the United States. The Paso Robles AVA was also approved in 1983.
By 1988 local wineries, growers and winemakers included Justin Winery, Adelaida Winery, and the Art Norman Vineyard. With the exception of Estrella River Winery which had changed hands, these wineries were located in remote areas west of Paso Robles on Chimney Rock Road, Adelaida Road, Vineyard Drive, York Mountain Road, Peachy Canyon, Jensen Road and Las Tablas Road and became known as “The Far Out Wineries”, because they were off the beaten path but well worth the drive. They supported one another in the vineyards, winemaking, bottling, and marketing of their wines. The phrase “Far Out” was a favorite of the 1960 hippies which was appropriate as these winemakers had left their first careers as chefs, photographers, investment bankers, far out hippies, actors, international financiers, drummers, and engineers to explore the world of wine in the Paso Robles area. Doug was key to developing this marketing concept and designing the brochures and maps to market the area to tourists who had not yet discovered all the wineries west of California Highway 101.
Doug Becomes an Artist and Winemaking is His Art Form
Doug’s vision of winemaking became one of viewing it as an art form. Doug is regarded as an artist with winemaking his art form. Doug enrolled in enology classes at the University of California at Davis, spending many weekends in the classroom. Fresno State College also became an important resource for viticulture. He continued to market the Tobias wines throughout Central California during the period.
The first Wine Festival took place in Paso Robles in 1983. By this time Doug was teaching in San Miguel and Nancy was pursuing a career in dance and choreography. Nancy later became a partner of the Class Act Dance Studio in 1990 with Cheryle Armstrong, Carol Hinkle and June Greenawalt. Their first location was at the corner of Spring Street and 24th. They moved across the street from the George H. Flamson Middle School when the Class Act Dance Studio grew to two studios plus a tap dance room. Nancy excels in tap dancing and taught her art to many locals.
Pat Wheeler and his wife Marty found themselves facing both a marital and economic crisis by 1986. Ultimately, they divorced, sold the Tobias vineyard and went their separate ways. Pat moved to Oregon and still resides there. Doug continued as the winemaker for the Tobias label in 1987 while Doug and Nancy planned their own future. Doug spent time talking viticulture and Zinfandel vines with the legendary Benito Dusi. He had spent even more time talking about winemaking with Tom Myers who encouraged him to establish his own winery.
Around 1987, first grapes off Peachy Canyon with Josh and Jake.
Peachy Canyon, circa 1990.
Peachy Canyon Winery wine tasting Doug and Nancy Beckett with sons Josh and Jake.
Peachy Canyon Winery is Founded in 1988
In 1988 Doug, Nancy, Josh, and Jake founded Peachy Canyon Winery on their ranch located on Peachy Canyon Road. They removed half the walnut orchards to make room for their new vineyard. They planted Zinfandel cuttings from the Benito Dusi vineyard. Doug had rooted the cuttings for a year before planting them. Doug regards Benito as an artist and describes how Benito mentored Doug, teaching him how to care for the vineyard, dry farm and prune his vines. Doug made “Dusi” Zin for a number of years.
Doug remembers two quotes that shaped his business plan at the time: “I’ll never makeover 1000 cases and I will never charge more than $10 per bottle.” His business plan evolved but his focus has always been on Zinfandel. He has sourced grapes from multiple vineyards, creating a variety of wines, each reflecting the complexities of their own terroir. In the following decade, Doug would plant more vineyards and grape varieties.
The Becketts built the winery and tasting room near their family home. This small operation grew quickly from an intimate operation to over 75,000 cases of premium red varieties produced annually and recognized for their quality not only by Wine Spectator but the global wine community.
Toby Shumrick was working as a cellar rat for Gary Eberle when Peachy Canyon was bonded. In 1990, Toby left Eberle Winery and developed his own label, Tobin James. In the same year, Toby joined Doug at Peachy Canyon as the assistant winemaker. In 1991 and 1992, Peachy Canyon Zinfandels were recognized as the top two Zinfandels by Wine Spectator. Toby and Doug continued to work together. Toby saw how good wine was made while working at Eberle Winery but he developed his own style which was very similar to Doug’s winemaking style. From 1990 to 1993, Doug and Toby sold both the wines of Peachy Canyon and Tobin James until Toby established his own winery, Tobin James.
Robert Nadeau became the first full-time winemaker. Robert was very low-key and immensely talented. When Doug sold Peachy Canyon Winery, Robert purchased the land across the street to establish his own brand Nadeau Family Vintners and vineyard.
Tom Westburg was hired as the next winemaker. He had owned a wine shop in San Diego before selling and moving to San Luis Obispo County, encouraged to do so by his friend, Pebble Smith. Tom knew a great deal about winemaking; he taught himself the art of winemaking. His first winemaker job was at Creston Manor Winery.
Additional winemakers of note include Florence Sarazan, the first woman winemaker at Peachy Canyon and one of the earliest women winemakers in North San Luis Obispo County. Both Tom and Florence mentored Josh Beckett at winemaking. Josh started as a cellar rat under Tom’s supervision and then worked with Florence, who later returned to France and now works as a school teacher. Josh Beckett became the winemaker in 2001 until his departure following the sale of Chronic Cellars. Terry Colton followed with Robert Henson working as the last winemaker before Josh assumed the position as winemaker in 2019. Doug retired in 2019 but continues to participate in the winemaking process when the opportunity arises, both in the blending and in creating the final product.
The tasting room continued to receive more and more visitors both inside and outside in the backyard. Nancy worked there in the afternoons and Jake worked as many hours as he could. About 50% of the sales were made in the tasting room and the rest were sold through distributors. As Peachy Canyon grew, more and more wine was sold through distributors but the revenue generated continued to match revenue from tasting room sales.
Around 1990 Doug and Nancy established the Nancy Trading Company. They had developed a passion for art glass and traveled to Poland and Eastern Europe to visit artist studios. Most of the talented people they met were melting glass from coke bottles and any other glass vessel they could find to have the material for their blown glass creations. Nancy and Doug supported those artists, imported their works, and sold them in the Peachy Canyon tasting room, Bickell’s Stationery Store in Paso Robles, and at local art and wine festivals.
The Peachy Canyon Wine Club was established and shipped six bottles of Zin, twice a year to members. Doug’s philosophy became: Wine is a business first and foremost, but second priority is that my winery is my love affair. The future involved hiring a talented winemaker to help produce the wine with Doug. Doug knew he would have to focus his efforts on management, sales and marketing, and strategic planning.
Kent Rosenbloom, Joel Peterson, and Doug Beckett (left to right).
Doug Influenced by California Winemakers in the 1990s
By the early 1990s, San Luis Obispo County was becoming known for quality grapes and affordable land. There were many new growers and winemakers moving to the area where land was much more reasonable than in Napa Valley. Many were absentee owned and structured as corporate owners or partnerships. Some of these entities established large commercial wineries or shipped local grapes to production facilities in other counties. The sense of community was impacted as the region grew in population and diversified.
By the early 1990s Doug had developed relationships with four of the great Zinfandel winemakers in Northern California, all of whom have had a profound influence on his winemaking. These men include Joel Peterson, Kent Rosenbloom, Paul Draper, and Bob Biale. All were important resources and influences on Doug’s winemaking at his own winery, Peachy Canyon, but also for his future vision for the Paso Robles region.
Doug continued to focus on Zinfandel. In 1991 he joined ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers), the only educational organization that advocated for just one variety of grape, Zinfandel, which is considered by many to be the heritage grape of the United States, the state of California, and the county of San Luis Obispo. Doug’s membership enabled him to help develop the annual ZAP wine auction as a source of funding for ZAP and to help plan the first Zinfandel Festival for ZAP at Fort Mason in San Francisco in the mid-1990s. Doug soon recruited Bill Greenough and other local Zinfandel producers to join ZAP.
In 1993 Doug co-founded the Zinfandel Festival in Paso Robles. The first tasting was held at the local fairgrounds in Paso Robles, an “old West” town. The location provided the opportunity for guests to climb into the old western wagons and buggies as they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and wine poured by the top producers in the county. Doug Filipponi joined Doug as auctioneer for the wine auction. The proceeds from the Zinfandel Festival were donated to local nonprofits.
Doug became a tireless advocate for the Paso Robles region and for the family owned wineries. Doug reached beyond San Luis Obispo County to found, join, and provide leadership organizations which have had a significant impact on the production of Zinfandel and have supported family wineries. He presented educational seminars in Arizona and Texas to bring local Zinfandel producers to the attention of other western states.
Peachy Canyon Purchased Four New Vineyards in 1997 including a School House built in 1886
Doug realized the need for a new winery and new vineyards as demand for Peachy Canyon wines increased. In 1997 he purchased four new vineyards, each located in a separate AVA. The first two are known as Mustang Springs and Mustard Creek on the west side of Paso Robles. The Snow vineyard was located in the Adelaida Hills and the Old School House vineyard surrounded the historic schoolhouse in Templeton; which the Becketts converted to the new tasting room for Peachy Canyon wines.
The Beckett family has great respect for the wine history and architectural history in San Luis Obispo County. It is fitting that Doug and Nancy purchased the Bethel School House located at the southeast corner of Bethel Road and Highway 46 West. This building was designed as a one-room schoolhouse and built in 1886 to provide education for the children living in the area. The Bethel Grammar School served the community from 1886 until 1937. The Beckett family archive has a roster of teachers starting with A. B. Hagerman and S.B. Hampton in 1896 and ending in the spring of 1937 with A. Comstock. Many of the descendants of teachers and students still live in the area. Local historian Virginia Peterson, the late grandmother of the current director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Joel Peterson, archived the school records for the Templeton Historical Society.
Clarence Becker became the owner of the property after the school was closed. He expanded the schoolhouse and made it his home. He also planted the fields on the property. The property changed owners and Niels Udsen, founder of Castoro Cellars, later leased the property and converted it to his first tasting room. The Becketts purchased the building and old school vineyard from Udsen, making it their tasting room in 1997. It has been visited by thousands over the years.
Doug and Nancy decided to sell their first Peachy Canyon property in 2003, six years after purchasing the vineyards and buildings on Nacimiento Road, northwest of the town of Paso Robles. They moved to Paso Robles for several years while planning the expansion of the winery and storage rooms and the design of a new home overlooking the vineyard. The historic vineyard they purchased included a Zinfandel vineyard originally planted by Richard Sauret and vineyards and buildings formerly owned by James Lockshaw, founder of Twin Hills ranch in 1983, which had later been sold to Carolyn Scott. The Becketts completed building their new home in 2006 moving into the house the same year.
Peachy Canyon winery maintains five estate property vineyards as of 2020, four of which are producing wine grapes. The Peachy Canyon website states that “all vineyards are farmed with sustainable practices, including growing barley between the rows of vines to help prevent erosion during the rainy season. The practice with byproducts is to compost them and reintroduce them to the soil in alternate years. Weed control is done by hand and the grape canopy is pruned aggressively to minimize the risk of mildew. Pest control is managed through the use of ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantis, all known as beneficial insects. Peachy Canyon vineyards are managed with a water conservation program.”
Today the Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Wine and Spirits Magazine, Vinous, Blue Lifestyle, Ken’s Wine Guide and the International Wine Report rate Peachy Canyon wines at 90 pts and over. Awards have included Gold at the Orange County Fair, Double Gold at the Grand Harvest Awards, the Monterey Wine Festival, Los Angeles and San Francisco International Wine Competitions.
In 2014 the Mustard Creek Zinfandel won the Double Gold Medal in the competition, The Fifty Best California Zinfandels a year after the Mustard Springs Zinfandel won the same award. The annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition has awarded the winery both gold and silver medals, as has the Sunset Magazine International Competition. A complete list can be found on the Peachy Canyon website.
Wines produced include the 30th Anniversary Zinfandel, the Bailey Zinfandel, Clevenger Zinfandel, D Block Zinfandel, Especial Zinfandel, Incredible Red Zinfandel, Mustang Springs Zinfandel, Mustard Creek Zinfandel, Snow Zinfandel, Vortex Zinfandel, Westside Zinfandel, and Willow Creek Zinfandel. Other varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Syrah, Cirque du Vin, Concrete Blanc Viognier, GSM, Merlot, Ms Behave Malbec, Ms Behave, Odd One, Para Siempre, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Rose, and Syrah.
Blue Jeans to Black Tie, ZAP wine tasting event at Fort Mason.
Doug Provides Leadership for ZAP and Family Winemakers of California
Doug allied himself with the small family-owned wineries in California. In 1990 Doug became one of the founders of Family Winemakers of California to support the small family wineries by lobbying to change the post-Prohibition laws in California which had made it very difficult for small wineries to sell their wines to buyers in the other 49 states. The organization works for “just and fair” laws in the wine industry.
Doug joined ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) in 1992, the year after it was founded. ZAP was established to preserve the heritage of Zinfandel by forming a non-profit organization of supporters to share the history and the individual wines produced in California with the public. Zinfandel was planted throughout California in the 1800s and today is grown in every wine region in the state. The founders of ZAP wanted Zinfandel to be recognized as the heritage grape of the United States and of California. Their efforts have not succeeded. The Wine History Project recognizes Zinfandel as the heritage grape of San Luis Obispo County.
The ZAP organization started as a grassroots organization of wineries and winegrowers who loved Zinfandel. The first meeting was in Napa in 1989 and the atmosphere was magical, bringing together volunteers whose vision aligned in their quest to celebrate Zinfandel. The organization was structured and the non-profit status as an educational 501(c)(3) applied for in 1991. The focus has been to provide viticulture and enology education for members and the public focusing on one grape variety, Zinfandel; the first formal wine tasting in 1991 had 22 wineries pouring Zinfandel for 20 guests at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco. The current director, Rebecca Robinson, was hired by Zap members including Doug Beckett at the close of 1996 which provided the professional structure to build the organization. Rebecca began spending time with the members in 1993 and was impressed by the commitment of the members.
ZAP membership increased to 125 wineries by the end of 1996. As of 2020, ZAP has over 300 wineries and growers as members and over 5,000 “advocates”; those that are Zinfandel lovers outside of the wine industry who respect the character and heritage of this grape.
Doug continually encouraged ZAP to take road trips across the county, all the way to Washington D.C. to promote the Zinfandel wines of the members. His marketing strategies increased the visibility of the organization, the Zinfandel grape, and each winemaker.
Doug Beckett was the first President of ZAP from San Luis Obispo County, taking on the leadership in 1999. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors in 2020. In addition to shaping the culture of the ZAP organization, Doug focused on three important areas of development: promoting Zinfandel education, fundraising for Heritage Vineyard Project, and the development of the ZAP organization, including public relations and outreach to advocates and producers.
Doug conceived of the first tasting event at Fort Mason, Blue Jeans to Black Tie. Doug included dinner and a live auction with Doug Filipponi and Doug Beckett working the floor to raise funds to support ZAP. This event was eventually expanded to include three to four days of tastings, seminars, and the fine wine dinner with the silent and live auctions, all are major fundraising events each January. The Saturday of this three day weekend each year is reserved for the public with wine tastings of Zinfandel in a large public space, attracting thousands of people to join Zinfandel producers pouring their wines.
Doug is a visionary with a strong business background and leadership skills that inspire others. Doug also brought the ZAP organization up close and personal in San Luis Obispo County. Doug and Nancy have invited and opened their home many times to travelers, growers, and producers, encouraging them to visit San Luis Obispo County. Rebecca Robinson describes Doug as having “a generous heart.”
Doug’s Support for Wine Education at ZAP Tastings and on Cruises
Doug has supported the events developed by ZAP including the annual tasting in San Francisco which is the largest Zinfandel tasting in the world. The events held throughout the United States and in Canada, Asia, and Europe include tastings The Beckett family has poured Peachy Canyon Zin at these tastings and focused on the educational aspects of these events.
When ZAP decided to expand their educational outreach in 2005 by providing annual wine cruises to their membership, affectionately known as the University of Zin, wine tastings were offered on land and water. On the first cruise Doug brought three Zinfandel winemakers and their wines on board the ship to provide the hands-on educational experience he felt was so important for the participants; and, he continues to design and present the educational programs for each cruise. Nancy and Doug are true ambassadors for the ZAP organization, traveling throughout the world promoting Zinfandel.
One of the highlights described by Doug is the cruise to Croatia. Two Croatians, Dr. Ivan Pejic and Dr. Edi Maletic, from the University of Zagreb, had attended the Zin Symposium held in Santa Rosa, California in 2001 and maintained contact with ZAP. These two men were excited to hear about the cruise to Croatia in 2007 and greeted the cruise. They invited Doug and fellow cruise members to bring a variety of California Zinfandels for a tasting along with Croatian wines in a historic vineyard.
Both men had explored the Dalmation Coast and the offshore islands with Professor Carole Meredith, a grape geneticist on the faculty of the University of California at Davis in 1998. Dr. Meredith is the geneticist that also identified the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Syrah in the late 1990s. At that time, the three-member team’s purpose was to find the origins of the country’s ancient wine grapes to preserve their history. Dr. Meredith supported this project and in addition, wanted to solve a mystery that had stumped scientists for decades-what is the true identity of the Zinfandel grape and where did it originate?
In 2001, Dr. Ivan Pejic and Dr. Edi Maletic had discovered the location in Croatia of Krolo Crljenak Kastelanski, the vine that produced black grapes; which was later confirmed by Dr. Meredith to be identical to Zinfandel. Dr. Meredith states: “Zinfandel is so old that its parents are no longer grown anywhere, We’ve already figured out that Zin is the parent of Plavac mali, a famous Dalmatian grape that is thought to be ancient, so Zin must be even older.”
Doug and the participants were able to bring California Zinfandel to the site near Dubrovnik, where they could taste it with Croatian wines and dinner provided by Dr. Ivan Pejic and Dr. Edi Maletic. This was a historic moment for ZAP and California Zinfandel lovers. It also connects the Heritage Vineyard Project to Doug’s legacy. It is interesting to note that Zinfandel did not thrive in Croatia during the 20th Century. The vines are now being planted again in Croatia in the 21st Century.
The Heritage Vineyard Project
Doug was the first to suggest using the wine auction as a fundraising technique for the ZAP. This had been very successful for the organization. Doug organized the committee for the first ZAP Wine Auction which included Richard Flores and Erin Cline of Three Wine Company. Doug recruited the items for bid at the auction and publicized the event. The auction today is an annual event and has been an important source of income for the ZAP organization.
The proceeds of these fundraisers have been donated to another important project that Doug supported as President of ZAP, that being the Heritage Vineyard Project. ZAP’s partnership with UC Davis has created the most in-depth research on a single varietal in wine history according to the ZAP website. Cuttings from the Zinfandel vines planted in California prior to the onset of Prohibition in 1920 were collected and planted in the vineyard in Oakville, California, for research and genetic analysis by researchers at UC Davis. These vines were dry-farmed and head-pruned. Jim Wolpert, a research specialist working for the University of California State Extension, started the project between 1993 and 1994. His research on Zinfandel involved the Foundation Plant Service, which had been established in 1958, as the repository for elite disease-tested plant propagation material of all types including grapes. The Foundation had very little plant material of Zinfandel clones. Wolpert embarked on a “plant conducting safari” throughout California to collect the old vine cuttings of Zinfandel. Phase One included 98 Zinfandel selections. This research went on for 20 years and terminated in 2016. It has been invaluable in preserving the history of Zinfandel. Jim Wolpert was the Chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis beginning in 1996 and retiring in 2016.
Phase Two of the research, narrowed the selections to 24 Zinfandel clones. Nineteen of the 24 clones are now protected by being placed in the Foundation Planting Service. The Phase Two Heritage Vineyard, a partnership between ZAP and UC Davis was planted within the larger vineyard at the Research Station in Oakville and managed by Jason Benz, Staff Associate at the Oakville Research Station. The Heritage Vineyard was described as 0.76 acre in size with bale clay loam soils planted with 456 vines. The vines included seven of each of the 63 selections with each vine head trained and spur pruned in the traditional goblet style. During the 1997 harvest the Heritage Zin was crushed at Little Saddleback Cellars in Oakville and inoculated with yeast the following morning. Fermentation was complete in seven days and the wine was racked twice before being placed in new American oak barrels. ZAP was involved in the production, tasting and bottling of this wine, thus creating a Heritage Wine Library containing each vintage of the Heritage Vineyard. Each year a different ZAP producer is selected to make the Zinfandel wine from the Heritage Vineyard; Saddleback Cellars produced the first vintage in 1997, Robert Biale Vineyards in 1998, Cline Cellars in 1999.
Doug has supported this project since inception. When the decision was made to plant three heritage vineyards with the specific 24 selections of Zinfandel in 2012, Doug volunteered his Peachy Canyon vineyard in San Luis Obispo County as the site for an experiment vineyard. Experiment vineyards, including the one in D Block at Peachy Canyon vineyards, have been established to preserve the twenty four historic selections of California Zinfandel in three different wine regions of California. Ridge Winery and Bedrock Vineyard are the other two wineries containing experiment vineyards. The research has determined that terroir is dominant over the clonal varieties in producing Zinfandel wine.
Josh and Jake Beckett
Doug and Nancy encouraged their sons to go to college, explore the world and work for others after high school graduations. The Legends of both men will be written in much more detail in the future. What is important to know is that both sons followed the advice of their parents. Josh is a self-taught winemaker mentored by his father along with Robert Nadeau, Florence Sarazin and Tom Westburg. He became known for his wine Vesuvio, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Zinfandel Port style wines with grapes sourced from the McGregor vineyard showed his range in style.
Josh and Jake founded their own winery, Chronic Wines, which became a very successful brand. Their winery was sold in 2014 with Josh and Jake staying on with the new owner for five years as part of the sales contract. Both Josh and Jake returned to Peach Canyon in 2019 and joined the Peachy Canyon staff as the second generation to carry on the winemaking traditions of the Beckett family. Josh is the winemaker and Jake manages the vineyards. Josh and Jake maintain the Heritage Vineyard in the D-Block with the historic selections of Zinfandel. Both men have served on the Board of Directors of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) and pour Peachy Canyon wines at events nationwide.
Civic Responsibility in Paso Robles
Doug and Nancy are very active in San Luis Obispo County. They have been very involved in local philanthropy and Doug often serves as the auctioneer for a charity auction benefiting a Paso Robles non-profit such as the Paso Robles Historical Society.
They were early supporters of the KCBX, the local public radio station. They poured at the first auction event hosted by Larry Shupnick at the San Luis Bay Inn in Avila to raise funds for the new radio station. They attended and poured their wines at the Central Coast Wine Classic founded by Archie McLaren, Frank Lanzone and Larry Shupnick which raised millions of dollars for local charities. Doug and Nancy provided the same support for the Women’s Shelter at the event held annually at the Cliff Chapman House in Pismo Beach. They contributed to the Foundation for the Performing Art Center (FPAC) to raise the funds to build the Performing Arts Center on the CalPoly campus. They contributed funds for the building of the North Campus of Cuesta College and are founders of the Cancer Support Community – California Central Coast on Las Tablas Road in Templeton which ensures that all people touched by cancer are empowered by the knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by the community.
Doug and Nancy support local business organizations and local government entities. Doug was so committed he decided to run for County Supervisor in 1988 but lost to Harry L. Ovitt III.
Norma Moye has finally revealed the secret of the first Christmas lights casting a holiday glow downtown around city park. Doug Beckett and Tom Schultz wanted the city of support festive Christmas lights downtown so they collaborated with Norma to make the magic happen. Doug and Tom paid to have the first Christmas lights decorate the trees; everyone was so excited that it became a reality each year, thanks to the three elves – Norma, Doug and Tom. This is the first time Doug and Tom have acknowledged their roles and collaboration and we celebrate their thoughtfulness and generosity.
One of his examples of civic leadership changed history when Doug took on a legal challenge that was creating financial hardships throughout the county. Doug was the only winery owner to do so. His efforts brought an end to a wave of lawsuits against local businesses and wineries on the issue of local access under the 1993 ADA act.
The plaintiff, Jake Molski, was a resident of Los Angeles County and a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair. When the 1993 ADA became law, all businesses were expected to read the rules and regulations and make the changes needed for access to comply at the place of business immediately. If a plaintiff found a violation, a lawsuit could be filed to collect damages; fines began accumulating from the moment the violation occurred, which was often long before the business was served with the paperwork notifying the owner of violations. Mr. Molski filed over 500 lawsuits against Southern California and Central Coast businesses, visiting often at the rate of four or five business locations per day. Some owners chose to settle with Mr. Molski which on the average ranged between $15,000 and $30,000. Others were forced out of business.
The lawsuit filed against Peachy Canyon included complaints that a handicapped parking space was too small, a bathroom sink was too high and some public areas lacked wheelchair ramps. Doug completed the repairs to comply with the law within 30 days after being served with the lawsuit. But he also demanded social justice. Doug stated, “There is a quirk in the law that allows some disabled people to become bounty hunters–to go out searching for any infraction, then filing lawsuits and collecting,” Beckett said. “We have people getting on the bandwagon and suing up to 20 to 25 businesses a day, and it’s morally wrong. We all want to make our handicapped customers as comfortable as possible, but if my toilet-paper roll is the wrong height, give me a chance to fix it. Don’t sue me.”
Doug filed his own lawsuit against Jake Molski and won in the federal courts. U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie ruled against Molski in December 2004, accusing him of “running a systematic scheme of extortion” against Central Coast businesses. In his decision, Rafeedie added, “Molski’s M.O. is clear: Sue, settle, then move on to the next suit.” Rafeedie declared Molski a “vexatious litigant” and ruled he cannot file any ADA-related lawsuit in a federal court again without a judge’s permission.
Winemaker Tom Myers’ comments are the best summary of Doug Beckett and his impact on the wine history of San Luis Obispo County:
“Doug Beckett is most assuredly a founding member of the modern Paso Robles wine industry. If asked who I would see as an influencer within the Paso Robles winegrowing group, his name would rank very high on the list. He has spent four decades making wine and as a vintner promoting the area; Zinfandel in particular. Through his success with the variety and his active role in ZAP he has shone a light on the Paso Robles AVA’s winemaking potential. No doubt he has developed some of the best vineyard sites in the area. I can genuinely say that he has, through ambition and passion, caused me to examine, and take seriously, my own relationship with the variety Zinfandel. Doug Beckett and his wife Nancy have been deeply involved in the community and have used their influence to support or spearhead many worthwhile causes. A reflection of their character is seen in their children who are building on the Beckett legacy.”
1946: Doug is born in Morgantown, West Virginia on New Year’s Day.
1949: Nancy Thibodo is born in Oceanside, California on July 2.
1963: Doug’s first winemaking experience was with a friend in his parents’ backyard where they made a five gallon bottle of the “stuff”’. Doug reminisces that the two young men could barely “gag it down but we drank it anyway – it was really bad stuff.”
1964: Doug graduates from Point Loma High School.
1966: Doug joins the United States Marines Corps and receives an honorable discharge in 1972.
1967: Nancy graduates from Vista High School. She has already developed her passion for dance, especially tap, which she enjoys professionally all through her dance career.
1969: Nancy receives her AA degree from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.
1970: Doug begins his first career as a teacher, working with kindergarten to high school students and ending his career as a high school counselor. Both Doug and Nancy taught in Encinitas while living in San Diego.
1971: Doug graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the United States International University.
1971: Doug Beckett marries Nancy Thibodo. They settle in San Diego.
1972: Nancy graduates with her Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Her dance career begins with teaching at the Vista Girls Club. She teaches at San Marcos High School throughout the 1970s.
1972: Doug and Nancy joined a wine tasting group with a fellow teacher who had a relationship with a local wine shop. This was their first experience in learning about fine wines.
1974: Josh Beckett is born on April 15.
1975: Doug graduates with a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and lifetime teaching credential from University of San Diego.
1976: Jake Beckett is born on January 1st.
1976: Doug puts his business education to use and becomes a full partner in a small chain of convenience stores in the San Diego area.
1980: Pat and Marty Wheeler establish Tobias Vineyard, named after their older son Toby. They produce two varietals – Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.
1981: Doug sells the chain of convenience stores. Doug and Nancy decided they wanted to raise their sons in a healthy and clean environment so they moved to rural Paso Robles. A friend, Greg McMillan offers Doug a job in construction as a carpenter, restoring old barns. Nancy’s first teaching position was with the Paso Robles Department of Parks and Recreation.
1982: Doug and Nancy purchase a 20 acre ranch with a walnut orchard on Peachy Canyon Road, west of the town of Paso Robles.
1982: Jim Steiger invites Doug and his family to a Bar-B-Que at his home. Jim lives next door to Pat Wheeler who established Tobias Wineyard in 1980. On this particular day, Pat Wheeler is bottling his wine. Jim suggests that they help Pat on the bottling line and Doug agrees. This decision will change Doug’s life forever.
1982: Doug meets winemakers Gary Eberle and John Munch at Estrella Winery.
1983: The Paso Robles AVA is established.
1983: Doug and Pat Wheeler form a partnership to make wine under the Tobias label, sourcing their grapes from the Benito Dusi vineyard. Pat teaches Doug the art of making wine and Doug takes charge of marketing and wine sales, selling directly to consumers and wine stores.
1983: Tobias is one of 17 wineries participating in the first Paso Robles Wine Festival. Four wines are poured: 1981 Zinfandel, 1981 Petite Sirah, 1982 White Zinfandel and a non-vintage Red Table wine. Doug and Pat pour for attending guests.
1983: Doug is teaching in San Miguel and Nancy is a partner in a DanceWear Store in Atascadero with her cousin, Laura Hepko.
1984: Pat Wheeler introduces Doug to the local wineries and winemakers including the Pesenti family, the Rotta family, the Nerelli family, Max, Stephen and Suzanne Goldman of York Mountain Winery, and Niels Udsen founder of Castoro Cellars.
1984: Doug enrolls in courses at UC Davis. Doug develops friendships with winemakers Tom Myers and Ken Volk who become mentors.
1985: Benito Dusi teaches Doug how to plant, dry-farm, prune, and harvest Zinfandel vines. Doug plants his first Zinfandel vines using budwood from Benito Dusi vineyards.
1985: Doug opens his tasting room in the coastal beach town of Cayucos selling Tobias Zinfandel to the public in a cellar at The Way Station.
1986: Pat Wheeler and his wife Marty face economic and marital challenges. They decide to divorce and sell the Tobias Vineyard. Doug purchases Pat’s share of the partnership in the Tobias label.
1987: Doug and Nancy travel to Hong Kong with Tobias Wines and share them with the wine writer Kevin Sinclair, wine writer for the Hong Kong Sun Times. Kevin praises the wines in his column. Doug and Nancy introduce Tobias Wines to China, in Beijing and Xian.
1987: Doug and Nancy decide to establish their own winery, Peachy Canyon Winery, and plant vineyards on their property. They remove half of the walnut orchard and plant Zinfandel with cuttings from Benito Dusi vineyard. They build their winery between their home and the vineyard.
1988: Peachy Canyon Winery opens with Doug as the winemaker. Production goal is 500 cases.
1988: Peachy Canyon Winery opens to the public for tastings and wine sales. Doug remembers a quote: “I’ll never make over 1000 cases and I will never charge more than $10 per bottle.”
1988: Doug runs for District Supervisor of San Luis Obispo County but does not win the election.
1989: Doug and Nancy open their tasting room at Peachy Canyon Winery.
1990: Toby Shumrick resigns from Eberle Winery to become assistant winemaker at Peachy Canyon Winery.
1990: Nancy and Doug establish the Nancy Trading Company and import art glass from Poland and Eastern Europe which they sell in their tasting room.
1990: Doug is one of the founders of the Family Winemakers of California, founded to advocate for the small family wineries by lobbying for more just regulations in the wine industry to broaden the market for wines and change post-Prohibition regulations in California law.
1992: Doug joins the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers as the first member in San Luis Obispo County. He meets Zinfandel winemakers including Joel Peterson, Kent Rosenblum, Bob Biale and Paul Draper throughout California that are important influences on Doug’s art of winemaking.
1991: Nancy becomes part owner of the Class Act Dance Studio.
1991: Wine Spectator names Peachy Canyon’s 1990 Westside Zinfandel as the top Zinfandel. Peachy Canyon is the first winery in Paso Robles to receive this award.
1992: Wine Spectator honors Peachy Canyon for the second year in a row for producing the top Zinfandel.
1993: James Wolpert develops the concept identifying the old Zinfandel vines in California that were planted prior to Prohibition. Samples of each are to be collected, planted, and studied at the Experiment Project in Oakville, California.
1993: Doug is one of the co-founders of the first Zinfandel Festival in Paso Robles. It is held at the Mid-State Fairgrounds with a large wine tasting among the historic wagons and buggies in the “Western Town”, followed by the wine auction, raising funds for local charities.
1996: 98 clones of old Zinfandel vines are planted in the Heritage Vineyard in Oakville.
1997: Doug purchases land at the corner of Highway 46 and Bethel Road for his Old School House vineyard and Peachy Canyon tasting room in the historic Bethel School House in Templeton. Josh and Jake return to Paso Robles to work with Doug and Nancy in the winery.
1997: Doug purchases two parcels with Zinfandel vineyards on Nacimiento Road. The property was originally owned by Twin Hills Winery founder James Lockshaw and later purchased from him by Carolyn Scott. Doug and his family begin developing plans for winery, storage and barrel rooms.
1998: Starting in 1998 ZAP has allocated over $70,000 for the Heritage Wine Project in partnership with UC Davis for documenting selected Old Vines and recording their viticulture histories in the vineyard, Doug has supported this research.
1999: Doug becomes President of ZAP, the first from San Luis Obispo County. He works on establishing three Heritage Vineyards in three different regions of California including one in the Peachy Canyon vineyard, D-Block, on Nacimiento Road. He also develops the wine auction as a major source of fundraising for the Heritage Vineyard Project and develops education programs for ZAP travel around the world.
2001: Construction begins on the 20,000 square foot Peachy Canyon winery building which was completed in March, 2002. Solar panels are added on the roof of the winery.
2003: Nancy and Doug start construction on their home overlooking the vineyards and new winery. The construction takes three years to complete.
2003: The original Peachy Canyon property is sold.
2004: Doug develops marketing plan and brochure for the “Far Out Wineries” in the Adelaida district.
2003: Doug files a lawsuit in federal court against Jarek Molski who has filed over 95 lawsuits against Central Coast businesses and wineries for violating ADA rules and regulations.
2004: Doug wins the federal court lawsuit. Jake is labeled as a “vexatious litigant and barred from filing more lawsuits in federal courts without permission of a federal judge.
2004: Jake and Josh Beckett establish the legendary Chronic Cellars to make “chronic” which means wine made with the grapes of each harvest. The labels, designed by Joe Kalionzes are spooky but playful. They feature skeletons dressed in their finery and Day of the Dead styled sugar skulls with names like “Dead Nuts,” “Sofa KIng Bueno.” “Giant Oak,” “Nibbles” and “Purple Paradise”. The consumer should enjoy a good wine with a sense of adventure and a killer label.
2006: Nancy and Doug move into their new home.2008: Josh and Jake produce the first Chronic Cellars wines.
2014: The Adelaida District AVA is established as one of 11 regions in the Paso Robles AVA. Peachy Canyon Winery and the Mustard Creek and Mustard Springs vineyards are located in this AVA.
2014: Willow Creek District AVA is established as one of 11 subregions in the Paso Robles AVA. The Snow vineyard is located in this AVA.
2014: The Templeton Gap District AVA is established as one of the 11 subregions in the Paso Robles AVA. The Old School House vineyard and Peachy Canyon tasting room is located in this AVA.
2014: The Mustard Creek Zinfandel won the Double Gold Medal in the competition, The Fifty Best California Zinfandels a year after the Mustard Springs Zinfandel won the same award.
2014: Chronic Cellars wines are sold to WX Brands.
2015: Peachy Canyon Winery is the only Paso Robles winery which was invited to present their wine in Cuba as a member of the U.S. Trade Commission which funded and sponsored the event.
2018: Doug and Nancy celebrate their 30th Anniversary as owners of Peachy Canyon with a new vintage and a celebration for family and friends.
2019: Josh and Jake join the Peachy Canyon Winery as the second generation managing the family winery. Nancy and Doug retire. Josh becomes the winemaker.
2020: The third generation, a fifteen year old grandson, starts to work at Peachy Canyon and is considering making winegrowing a career.