Wine importer and distributor who built many well-known brands through his company Vineyard Brands, re-established industry connections between Europe and the United States lost during Prohibition and the World Wars, and influenced how Americans buy, drink, and think about wine. An important early advocate for estate bottling and a champion of California wine, he co-founded Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, planting grapevine cuttings imported from Château de Beaucastel in France, making the clones available to the community and proving the potential of Rhône grape varieties, and influencing organic viticulture.
Yale University, 1950
1954 to 1971: Wine Buyer, M. Lehmann (now Sherry-Lehmann) in Manhattan, New York, owned at the time by Sidney Haas, Robert’s father.
1954: Introduced the concept of offering futures sales on Bordeaux to American consumers.
1971: Founded import company Vineyard Brands in Vermont. Specialized in the import of fine estate wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire, Alsace, and the Rhône Valley.
Mid-1980s: Co-founded Winebow, a wine wholesaler and importer.
1989: Co-founded Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, California through a partnership between the Haas Family and the Perrin Family, owners of Château de Beaucastel in France’s southern Rhône Valley. The first French investment in American Rhône movement.
1990s: Created an employee stock ownership plan to allow employees of Vineyard Brands to purchase the business from him.
2000: Elected president of the Académie Internationale du Vin. The organization’s first American president.
2000s: Active in establishing Tablas Creek in the market through presentations, dinners, and tastings.
Wine Industry Person of the Year, Paso Robles Wine Community, 2007
Lifetime Achievement Award, Rhône Rangers, 2014
Robert Haas articles on the Tablas Creek Blog
Comiskey, Patrick. Robert Haas, influential American vintner and wine importer, dies at 90. Los Angeles Times, Mar 20, 2018.
Kettmann, Matt. Robert Haas, Tablas Creek Vineyard Founder and Partner, Dies at 90. Wine Enthusiast, March 21, 2018.
Haas, Jason. Robert Haas, 1927-2018: A Life Well Lived. Tablas Creek Vineyard Blog, March 21, 2018.
Hagerty, James. Robert Haas Imported Fine French Wines, Then Made His Own in California. Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2018.
Mercer, Chris. Robert Haas, Tablas Creek Co-founder and Wine Pioneer, Dies in California. Decanter, March 21, 2018.
Mobley, Esther. Remembering Robert Haas, One of the Most Influential Figures in American Wine. San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2018.
Roberts, Sam. Robert Haas, Wine Importer and California Vintner, Dies at 90. New York Times, April 5, 2018.
Romano, Aaron. Tablas Creek Cofounder and Paso Robles Pioneer Robert Haas Dies at 90. Wine Spectator, March 20, 2018.
Sheeler, Andrew. Robert Haas, Forefather of the Paso Robles Wine Region, Dies at 90. San Luis Obispo Tribune, March 20, 2018.