by Fred McMillin
for February 17, 1998

Victor Hugo Roberts


1982—David and Christina Crawford Koontz buy a 475-acre San Luis Obispo ranch for a vineyard-winery. Christina invites her old high school chum Stephanie Rosenbloom and husband Lawrence to join in the adventure. As both couples lived and worked in Los Angeles, winemaker Victor Hugo Roberts did the on site work.

1987—The Rosenblooms take over the winery. Who continues as winemaker? Victor Hugo Roberts. Also, there is a new infusion of bucks from a new partner-investor, none other than "Jeopardy's" Alex Trebek.

1997—Victor is still the winemaker, and "has provided the foundation for our award-winning releases."

...from Anthony Dias Blue, Robert Balzer, the Rosenblooms, et. al.

The Rest of the Story

Victor has done alright. His wines were served at the inaugurations of both presidents Reagan and Bush. One wine remained a mystery to me. Zinfandel was planted as early as 1982, yet for about ten years the Pinot Noir and Cabs got more notice. However, the Zin seemed to be coming on. The "Wine Spectator" said the 1990 was very good with special qualities. Critic James Halliday started talking about the estate-grown Zin with words like, "lovely... bursting with bright berry fruits." I put the '94 in a recent tasting and it whipped eight other reds, six of which were more expensive. You can find what Victor has achieved with Zin in the last 15 years for only $12.

The Wine

1994 Zinfandel, Paso Robles, Estate Bottled
Creston Vineyards, Creston, CA.
Quality—My 15 tasters found it rich and gave it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Price—$12 (bargain)


Co-founder Christina Crawford Koontz is the daughter of someone you will well remember, Joan Crawford.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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