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Paul Hobbs, Napa Valley

'Truffle Hunter' Paul Hobbs was named most influential winemaker in California.

Raised on a farm on the east coast of the United States, Paul Hobbs grew up in a tee-total household but this did not stop his first taste of wine being Chateau Y'quem.

It is tempting to say 'and the rest is history' and leave it at that, but there is so much more to this man. Paul came to winemaking via studying to be a doctor and this scientific background and attention to detail has helped hone his approach to crafting wonderfully precise, complex wines in California, and around the world. He has famously been called the 'Steve Jobs' of wine by Forbes magazine and it is clear he is a driven perfectionist whose hard work has paid off with numerous 100 points scores from the critics. However, to stop there would do Paul an injustice.

Notwithstanding his mainstream winemaking training at USC Davis, Paul has been a long advocate of low intervention methods. Since the late 1980's, long before it was popular, Paul was using wild yeast to ferment and organic vineyard management techniques to get the best from his vines and protect the land. Like his wines, he is a complicated, multi-layered man and across all his ranges there is an elegance and lightness of touch that makes you realise there is a truly talented winemaker at work here.