Andy Beckstoffer is one of the early and most important leaders in the evolution of the Napa Valley to world-class grape growing region. A native of Richmond, Virginia and Graduate of Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth, Andy joined Heublein, Inc. in 1966 and played a critical role in advising the company to enter the super-premium wine segment of the California wine industry, including its purchase of Beaulieu Vineyards and United Vintners, owners of Inglenook and Italian Swiss Colony wines.
In 1970, with his family moved to California, Andy established the Vinifera Development Corporation for Heublein, directing all aspects of vineyard farming as its President. With his subsequent purchase of the company, Andy assumed the ownership of Melrose Vineyard and the lease of several other vineyards in the Napa Valley and Mendocino, vineyards still owned by the family-owned Beckstoffer Vineyards today.
As a Founding Director and the second President of the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, Andy forged an early, historic agreement on grape pricing that tied the price of grapes to retail bottle price. Thus began a new era in which grape quality and land preservation were brought to the forefront of the grape grower industry. To this day, the Napa Valley Grape Growers continues to thrive in its mission to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards.
Andy has made a notable contribution to the overall quality and perception of Northern California grape growing. In 1989, he led the Napa Valley Grape Growers in establishing the Winery Definition Ordinance, which requires that 75% of grapes used in Napa Valley wines must come from the appellation. And, in 1994, as Founder and first President of the Rutherford Dust Society, Andy encouraged and promoted the highest quality standards in grape growing and winemaking in the Rutherford Viticultural Area.
Today, Beckstoffer Vineyards owns and farms over 3,600 acres of highest quality grape growing properties in three Northern California winegrowing regions – the Napa Valley, Mendocino County and the Red Hills of Lake County, which holds significant promise for the cultivation of Cabernet grapes. The company’s commitment to excellence, innovation and to its people is a benchmark for the industry as a whole and a testament to Andy’s vision, his belief in the future of the industry, and in the community in which he and his family have established such strong roots.
Andy lives in the Napa Valley with his wife Betty, to whom he has been married for over 50 years. In 2000, Andy and Betty were named Citizens of the Year for their dedication and active participation in the community. And, in 2010, Andy was elected into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame, the first grower to be honored with this prestigious wine industry award.