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A Hope Family Tradition: 30 years and growing

Published May 2011
VINO Magazine

Nobody in the Hope family could have guessed how far their namesake would take them – that it would one day encompass a celebrated string of wines known round the world.
Hope Family Wines has steadily grown in Paso for the past 30 years, now encompassing Treanna, Liberty School, Austin Hope, Candor and Westide Red.
The farming family relocated from Bakersfield to Paso Robles in ’78 on the advice of an old family friend who suggested planting apples and grapes.
“That’s just what we did,” said Austin Hope Winery winemaker Austin Hope, a third-generation farmer. The family quickly learned that apples were out, so grapes – by default – became their signature crop. “From there, it kind of evolved into what it is today,” said Hope. “We really had no idea.”
At the time, wineries in Paso Robles were scarce and most growers supplied grapes to Northern California. All that would eventually change, and Hope’s father helped push the local wine industry forward as a founding member of the Paso Robles Wine Alliance and as an entrepreneur. After building a tasting room off 46 West, the family dove headfirst into the world of wine. Still, it was a collaborative effort.
“We hired a few winemakers and we had them make the wines for us. We really didn’t have much knowledge of the wine industry,” said Hope. However, a passion for wine began to brew in the young farmer.
“I already knew the grape side of things because I had grown up in it and it was part of life, so when the wine side of things came around I got really excited,” he said. Hope soon landed a gig with the Napa-based Wagner family at Caymus Vineyards.
“That’s really how it got going for me,” said Hope. ”I got intrigued and bit by the wine side of [the industry], and saw full-scale production. I was fortunate not only to work the harvests for [Wagner], but he let me follow him around and see all aspects of the wine industry. From then on I thought, ‘This is really something I really want to do.’”
The Hope family also began custom crushing for then Wagner-owned label Liberty School, which would in 1995 become part of Hope Family Wines and serve as the young winemaker’s first big break.
With a three-person staff and the dream of making wine, “away we went,” said Hope. “Now we’re 40 people, five labels and known worldwide. I don’t think anybody had any idea where it was going to go today, so we all kind of sit back and look at it now and think about how lucky we are.”
These days, Hope is sharing that appreciation with his wife and two daughters Ainsley and Avery. At just 5 and 7-years-old, the girls may be showing an aptitude and passion for the family business.
Hope recalled a day in the vineyard performing some routine leaf-pulling and shoot removal.
“My older daughter was asking what we were doing, and I explained to them why we take the leaves,” said Hope. “It came back up a few weeks later and I said something about it, and my 7-year-old explained that ‘Oh yeah, they’re pulling leaves to get better tannins and more air circulation in there.’ I thought, ‘No way – you’re 7-years-old and already getting it.’”
Hope Family Wines has always been about family, and that includes employees and the entire Paso Robles Wine Region as a whole. Hope said he’s excited about Paso’s ascent.
“I think the biggest excitement right now is that Paso Robles is not only on the map, but it’s on the international map and we’re starting to receive the respect that we have all worked for over the past 30 years,” he said. “It’s really our time to shine.”
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