Winemaking

Curtis Hascall

Curtis Hascall was introduced to Shale Oak Winery while working for Kevin Patrick Riley. He was impressed with the project, and found owner Al Good’s values and sustainable vision to be completely in line with his own. The transition to becoming Shale Oak’s winemaker was a natural one, as Curtis has had a hand every vintage since the first in 2008.

Born in Watford, England, Curtis intended on becoming a master beer brewer when he grew up. He moved from the San Francisco Bay area to San Luis Obispo where he became a food-science graduate of Cal Poly State University. His focus on making beer took a turn, however, when a friend hired him to drag hoses in the cellar at Norman Vineyards in Paso Robles. After working there for a few years, he took advantage of an opportunity to work a harvest at Cumulus Winery in Orange, Australia. He would have considered staying longer than the one vintage, but he found the beer in Australia to be too expensive and to frankly not taste that great!

Curtis is now happy to be making wine back in Paso Robles; beautiful wine country where better, more affordable beer is readily available.
 

Kevin Patrick Riley

Kevin Riley is a well-knownand experienced Paso Robles winemaker, who not only consults for a handful of local wineries, but has his own wine brand as well. He met Shale Oak owner Al Good when Al first came to the area. Their shared vision of making high quality Paso Robles wine in the most sustainable manner possible made them fast allies. Kevin was instrumental in helping Al put together an entire team of knowledgeable professionals, ultimately bringing the concept to reality.

An east coast transplant, Kevin grew up in Connecticut where he worked for years alongside his father and grandfather at their Greens Farm Spirit Shop. As they were the most successful wine retailer in the area, Kevin was exposed to many wines both domestic and imported. He became enthralled with the industry, and took full advantage of the opportunity, continually asking questions of visiting winemakers and learning all he could about every aspect. He learned about AVAs, varietals, winemaking techniques, vineyard practices, even label design and how to market a wine brand. But what intrigued him the most was the fact that it was obviously possible to make a great wine with little impact on the environment, and was surprised that not many wineries were paying attention to their carbon footprint. Kevin has always led his life in an authentic sustainable manner, in both the business and environmental realms, as taught by his grandfather. As his career path was beginning to crystallize, he recognized that he could fold his lifestyle into the wine business and be wholly satisfied.

Less than two months out of high school, Kevin’s father sent him to California to learn more about wine. He made his way to the Central Coast where he trained at several wineries, both small and large, while earning a degree in Agricultural Business with a minor in Viticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He knew wineries in Paso Robles were beginning to make great quality wines from their local vineyards, and that the region was on the cusp of making a true mark on the wine world map. He wanted to be a part of it, and between making Shale Oak wines, his own, and consulting for a few other clients, he is happy to say today that he is right in the middle of it.

Kevin lives on a nine-acre ranch in Paso Robles wine country with his wife, three kids, a yellow lab, three cats, and an unknown number of wild turkeys.