W. Andrew Beckstoffer, Founder and Chairman of Beckstoffer Vineyards, has been living in the Napa Valley for more than 5 decades but originally fell in love with the area during his years as a young executive with Heublein, Inc. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Andy, as he is known, cut his vineyard teeth with Heublein when he was tasked with overseeing the premium wine division in the 1960’s. With his distinct Virginia accent and boardroom suits that befitted the East Coast corporate world more than laidback California, Andy spent years traveling back and forth to California from the East Coast. One day, in 1970, Andy Beckstoffer decided it was time to own and farm his own vineyards, thereby establishing Beckstoffer Vineyards.
Best known for its six Napa Valley “Heritage Vineyards” that date back to the 1800’s, Beckstoffer Vineyards started out as a small farming company and now, with more than 4,000 acres of vineyards in Napa, Mendocino and Lake County, Andy Beckstoffer is considered to be one of the largest individual grape growers in California. He has also played a pivotal role in agricultural preservation and has been instrumental in protecting the Napa Valley. Beckstoffer’s leadership and vision led to the creation not only of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Association but the Rutherford Dust Society, an organization that pays tribute to the legacy of the grape growers and winemaking forebears.
Beckstoffer Vineyards has also contributed a great deal to local organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, Ole Health and to the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce. Calistoga employees were fortunate to receive a portion of the $100,000 Beckstoffer distributed for COVID-19 relief directly to service workers in need during the Spring shelter-in-place. The funds were primarily earmarked for hourly workers who lost their jobs due to layoffs during the pandemic including hotel housekeepers, dishwashers, waitstaff, busboys and more. The Chambers of Commerce in Napa, Lake and Mendocino County were tasked with determining recipients and checks were issued directly by Beckstoffer Vineyards to these individuals. Beckstoffer also donated a home cooked meal prepared by Napa Valley Heritage Catering to 400 firefighters stationed in Calistoga during the 2020 Hennessy Fire.
An accomplished athlete who attended Virginia Tech on a football scholarship, Andy has run three marathons, skis, rides horses AND has been skydiving a time or two! Always up for an adventure, Andy is also happy at home, relaxing in his garden with a glass of wine-California Cabernet Sauvignon his preferred choice-of course!
When Visit Calistoga spoke with Andy about what makes Calistoga different than other towns in the Napa Valley, he replied “Calistoga retains the Napa Valley charm as it used to be. And your new hashtag, This Is Calistoga, is bold, proud, and aggressive,” he added.
Andy reflected on his early days in business and carefully considered our question about what he would say to his younger self. “It’s going to be better than you think!” he then stated proudly. And 50 years later, Beckstoffer Vineyards continues to age gracefully, just like a fine bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Happy Golden Anniversary Beckstoffer Vineyards!