Neil Collins, a Bristol, England native, embarked on a remarkable winemaking journey that has left an indelible mark on California’s Central Coast. Initially trained as a chef, Neil transitioned into the world of winemaking, honing his craft under the mentorship of luminaries like John Munch at Adelaida Cellars and Ken Volk at Wild Horse.
His pivotal moment came when he crossed paths with Robert Haas and the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel during the early days of Tablas Creek’s inception. Intrigued by the project, Neil offered his expertise and immersed himself in the art of winemaking at Château de Beaucastel for a year.
Before long, Neil was entrusted with the role of winemaker at Tablas Creek, where he has steadfastly overseen the organic vineyard and winery since 1998. His winemaking philosophy revolves around the belief that exceptional wines are born from exceptional grapes, emphasizing the importance of nurturing grapes through a natural fermentation process.
Beyond Tablas Creek, Neil is the creative force behind Lone Madrone winery, a venture he shares with his sister Jackie and wife Marci. Neil’s commitment to his roots extends to Bristol’s Cider and Bristol’s Cider House, where he pays homage to the cider traditions of southwest England.
Neil’s dedication and expertise have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by his accolades, including being named San Luis Obispo County Winemaker of the Year in 2013 and Paso Robles Wine Country Wine Industry Person of the Year in 2019. His culinary background, winemaking prowess, and commitment to tradition continue to shape the Central Coast’s wine landscape.