Jun 10, 2017
Scheid named 2017 Leader of the Year by CAWG

California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG)  has named Al Scheid of Scheid Vineyards as its 2017 Leader of the Year.

The Leader of the Year award recognizes a grower whose record of exceptional leadership has benefitted California’s wine industry and is an inspiration to others. The recipient has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to issues of significant importance to winegrape growers and has achieved lasting changes to promote and protect the interests of California winegrape growers.

Al Scheid is the chairman of Scheid Vineyards Inc. in Greenfield. His leadership legacy is that of a visionary pioneer who co-founded two influential organizations, the California Association of Winegrape Growers and Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association; was instrumental in building a successful Central Coast winegrape growing industry; and grew his own namesake company into a fully-integrated winery operation. He was also part of a group that pushed for the creation of the California Grape Crush Report, an invaluable industry tool.

According to Scheid Vineyards’ website, Al Scheid first purchased property in Monterey County in early 1972. Monterey wine grape growing was in its infancy and Al was drawn to the region for its untapped potential. Back then, Scheid Vineyards was called Monterey Farming Corporation and it was originally structured as a limited partnership.

The tax laws at that time allowed investors to offset losses against regular income. Al, a graduate of Harvard Business School and an investment banker and entrepreneur, was running his own investment company and became intrigued with the idea of vineyards as a tax shelter vehicle – heavy investment on the front end and no income until at least five years into the project.

After determining that it was a sound plan and Monterey County was an ideal region, Al scouted for vineyard ground, formed the Vineyard Investors 1972 limited partnership, and found a customer for 100 percent of the grape production before even one acre was planted. This was soon followed by the Vineyard 405 limited partnership and Al Scheid’s career in wine growing had begun.

Sources: CAWG, Scheid Vineyards; photo by Scheid Vineyards

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