Getting to Know the Man Behind McPrice Myers

This is part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the American wine community from across the United States. Vintner Magazine will share business and personal insights from winery owners, vintners, marketing managers, sales directors, QCQA staff and others to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

McPrice “Mac” Myers — Owner/Winemaker, McPrice Myers — California — Paso Robles AVA

VINTNER: When you started making wine commercially, what was your vision for your career, brand and company? How did that evolve over time and what contributed to its evolution?
MYERS: My vision from the start was to make small-lot wines, from unique, singular sites on the Central Coast… Planting a flag in Paso Robles really helped, it was Rhône focused, with high quality Rhône farming, and really establishing itself the future of New World Rhône wines. There’s also great camaraderie here in Paso, when I began and still today. In terms of evolution, continuing to find and work with different sites, and the launch of my Beautiful Earth and Proprietary series also really opened up the playbook and created real depth and longevity for what we’re trying to do here.

VINTNER: Your portfolio now includes multiple series meant to appeal to a broad swath of consumers. At what point was the decision made to diversify in that way, and what advice would you give to vintners who are looking to expand their brand into multiple labels?
MYERS: The decision was made in the very beginning to make premier wines and eventually value-focused wines. Unlike a lot of people, making value-driven but high-quality wine has always been a goal of mine — value wine is what got me hooked on wine way back in the day. I also knew I wanted to diversify the portfolio so we could get the wine out there and into as many people’s glasses as possible. I like to make an honest product and for the everyday person and the value driven — and our premier wines — are a part of that. [Advice:] Vineyard sources are key, and solidify partnerships and relationships with growers. Establishing long-term relationships with growers that are sustainable will provide a good base, and you know they are not going anywhere.

VINTNER: At one point, you made the decision to move everything to its current property. What led to that decision, was it a good move, and what were some of the challenges associated with moving an estate?
MYERS: The decision to move out here came after I purchased the fruit from the previous owner and saw a ton of unrealized potential for the property, including establishing an estate vineyard, which was always a goal. The vineyard is currently 22 acres and was planted in 2007 and 2008. We planted more this year, and over the next five years, we’ll be planting 25 new acres.

VINTNER: What challenges did 2020 bring with COVID-19? How did it change the way you did business, and what adjustments did you need to make to stay on track?
MYERS: Like many, we quickly shifted to dial in and grow our online/digital marketing. With the closures, we were without a brick and mortar business, so we had to become content creators. We also knew it was an opportunity for us to make changes in our business and establish new channels and programs that would last beyond COVID. Fortune favors the bold so we got cracking on plans for a new hospitality center and created new tasting experiences and wine club programs, just to name a couple.

VINTNER: The Grenache grape has a lot of significance for your winery. What makes it so noteworthy and how do you showcase it in your wines?
MYERS: In 25 years, as the vines here get even older, Grenache is going to be the best known/highest quality grape in Paso Robles. Period. The thing that gives Grenache a bad reputation is sadly there is a ton of it grown for pedestrian wines — that pigeonholes it. But when done correctly, it’s part of the holy trinity of wine grapes: Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir and Grenache. Grenache has an ethereal grace and yet delivers a bit more weight and power. It’s floral with almost potpourri notes with leather and spice. It’s really aromatically complex, perfume-y, and once it hits the palate it delivers a delicious suppleness. As Manfred Krankl famously says: “Grenache delivers what Pinot Noir promises.”

VINTNER: It looks like some big changes are in store. What is the timeline for opening the new hospitality and tasting facility, and how will this help you better connect with your new, regular and wine club customers.
MYERS: We are breaking ground in April 2022. In the most basic way, it will raise the tasting atmosphere to the level that our wine and hospitality have long been operating. So it will be nicer digs, and more inviting, but the focus will always be the wine and of course remain ostentatious free. It will also allow us to provide multiple tasting experiences to our fans.

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