Dave and Lynne Teckman never planned to have a winery. Nor did they plan to run a bed and breakfast. They didn’t really even expect to live in California, much less Paso Robles. But a series of chance encounters led them to all of those things.
Thus the name of their winery: Per Cazo, which is Italian for “by chance.”
It started just a few years ago, on a weekend getaway from their temporary Orange County home when they met friends for wine tasting. As a successful businessman, Teckman and his wife had long enjoyed wine and ended up in a conversation with locals who knew the wine industry well and offered to help him get into the business.
“We’ve been into wine for the last 15 to 20 years,” Teckman recalled, “and you talk about it, and you finally meet someone who says, ‘You know, it’s actually not that tough — I can help you do it!’ ”
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At that point the Teckmans still had a home in Minnesota but were empty nesters with no reason to go back to the Midwest. So they agreed, “Let’s do it!”
That was their first chance encounter. The second came in the form of winemaker Steve Glossner, whom they met while searching for a property. Glossner is formerly of Justin Vineyards and currently makes wine under his own label Paso Port, as well as several other local wineries.
“We ended up not buying that property, but we liked Steve and asked him if he’d make wine for us,” Teckman explained. To the couple’s surprise, Glossner said yes.
More “per cazo” moments followed. The property the Teckmans did end up with had a large barn, which the previous owners had turned into a two-room B&B. The Teckmans had planned to convert that building into a winery, but since the rooms were furnished and ready to rent, they started renting them out.
“Once we started the B&B business,” Teckman said, “we really fell in love with it.” What started out as a six-night-a-month business is now providing them with income about 35 nights a month, as well as potential customers for their wines.
They still don’t have a winery or a tasting room, but that hasn’t slowed them down. Their de facto tasting room is the patio of their home next door. They provide private, complimentary tastings by appointment, in a setting flanked by large oak trees and a shimmering pool.
“It’s not like standing at a tasting room counter, slugging back half a dozen wines in 20 minutes and leaving,” Teckman explained. “People can slow down.” The average group spends 45 minutes tasting wines matched by the couple with gourmet cheeses. It’s a particular favorite among tour groups who appreciate the atmosphere.
This personal hospitality, along with the award-winning wines that Glossner is producing, has resulted in the couple selling out of several wines. This year they plan to produce about 1,000 cases, up from the 700 they produced last year. They buy grapes from eight to 10 vineyards, giving them the chance to “cherry pick” their fruit from several different microclimates.
With absolutely no winemaking background and no lodging experience, the couple is still taking each step carefully, but the business model is working so far.
“We’re not winemakers, we’re not growers, but we know how to find the right people,” Teckman said. And they also know when to take a chance.
Per Cazo Cellars
Address: 5325 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Owners: Dave and Lynne Teckman
Winemaker: Steve Glossner
Cases produced: 700 in 2009
Tasting room hours: By appointment