“I want Vina Robles to express a unique balance of European heritage and American opportunity. As individuals, we are rooted in the Old World. As viticulturists and winemakers, we are empowered by the New World.” - Founder Hans Nef
Vina Robles is the result of a unique personal trajectory, one that led founder Hans Nef from a rural village outside Zurich, Switzerland to the rugged terrain of California’s Central Coast.
As a child in Switzerland, Nef learned to appreciate his rural surroundings and the blessings of agriculture. It was this special appreciation that lead him to expand his interests into agricultural land in the southern United States in the early 1990s. At the same time, he leveraged his passion for fine wine into his own wine import business, furthering his appreciation for California wines.
Each time Nef traveled to the U.S., his desire to grow his own wine became more intense. He discovered Paso Robles in the mid-1990s and quickly became enamored with the emergent wine country. Here, where the Pacific coastline unfolds into rugged ranchlands and cowboy ambiance, a new generation of California winemakers was turning Paso Robles into one of the world’s most dynamic winegrowing regions.
Nef was inspired to embark on his own idea for a Paso Robles winery, one that would honor his European roots while embracing the unique growing region in order to pursue his dream of producing world-class wines.
In 1996 Nef selected longtime friend and business associate Hans – R. Michel, a Swiss expatriate, as managing partner. A year later, the duo planted the first of what would later become six vineyards in Paso Robles, and soon thereafter Vina Robles was born. Winemaker Kevin Willenborg joined the team in 2012.
The Vina Robles Hospitality Center, a sprawling facility that brings together classic California Mission-style design and modern European elegance, was opened in 2007. In the summer of 2013, the Vina Robles Amphitheatre celebrated its grand opening and now hosts 30 world-class artists April through October each year. Nef's ultimate goal was realized in 2019 with the opening of the state-of-the-art Vina Robles Winery, built to take the wines to the next level and beyond.