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Peter and Marilyn Ashkin began to pursue their passion for growing great wine in 1997 when they bought the Klintworth family property, site of what some say is the oldest vineyard in Paso Robles, and chose to bring back the old Zinfandel vineyard as well as plant Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. In 2001, the Ashkins purchased the Beckwith vineyard, a westside treasure of Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. With Marilyn’s untimely death in 2008 from a rare form of cancer of the pancreas, Peter now oversees day-to-day operations and continues the relentless pursuit of quality in the vineyard. Ever the engineer, Peter will always be the Chief Equipment Officer (“CEO”) of Red Head Ranch.

Leon Chen, businessman, artist, fine wine and art collector, first came to Paso Robles with the Ashkins in 2000. The beauty of the area captivated him and so the adventure began which led to the purchase of the Old Bailey vineyard, and the desire to restore it to its past glory. Leon’s commitment to this special site is yielding unique wines from the Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc vines that are a testament to his pursuit of excellence.

Darrel Heirendt is the manager of Red Head Ranch, and as such, divides his time among the three vineyard sites. Famous for his salsa, which is the hit of the annual post-harvest barbecue, Darrel also is the “implementer extraordinaire” of all that happens in the vineyard. He shares Marilyn’s passion for the vines, but is equally comfortable tinkering with Peter on sprayers and such, dumping harvest bins with the Big Bertha of forklifts, the Champ, and orchestrating a harvest that spans a month and includes picking multiple blocks at the three sites.

Rodrigo Lamas, the multi-talented supervisor of Red Head Ranch, possesses tremendous knowledge and experience in the vineyard and shares our common passion for quality and constant improvement. Sometimes known as “Professor” and “Maestro” because of his skill and expertise in so many areas, Rodrigo is largely responsible for the revival of the old vines at all three sites. His stonework is also legendary.

Leopoldo H. Mendez and Leopoldo Mendez Jr., through their incredible hard work and dedication, have made their mark on Red Head Ranch. In addition to assisting Darrel and Rodrigo in the vineyard, they have enhanced the beauty of the ranch with their careful tending of the roses and the planting of an organic strawberry patch and vegetable garden.
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