My grandfather at Korbel

Posted by on Jan 22, 2009 in Family History | 3 Comments
paul-heck-at-korbelThis March my grandfather, Paul Heck would have turned 91 years old. Even though I never met him there are things about his life and the way that he did business in the wine industry that I try in emulate in my own actions as I learn “the ropes.”
I think that what most people want to do in life. They want to find a craft, something that they are really good at, try to find a way to earn a living practicing that craft and find someone to share it with. Let’s face it, life doesn’t mean much if you can’t share it with the ones you love.
Finally and most importantly is to leave something behind for the next generation to carry on with.  In his forward thinking and love of the wine industry, my grandfather saw an opportunity in purchasing Korbel from the Korbel brothers.
The Korbel brothers first produced wine in 1881. In early 1954 Anton and Leo Korbel and the other members of the Korbel family sold the corporation to Adolf L. and Paul R. Heck, brothers and wine makers, originally from St. Louis and formerly president and production manager of Italian Swiss Colony. Adolf Heck became president of Korbel as well as the winemaker and Paul Heck, the executive vice-president.

Left to right: Pierre Jalbert, Ben Heck, Paul Heck


Life at Korbel was never dull, in fact Combat! (a popular TV series from the 1960s ) filmed a sequence at the winery. My grandfather and  brothers, were happy to host the cast and crew. The cast of Combat!enjoyed their trips to Korbel, especially since my grandpa  provided them with wine and started their mornings with Mimosas, which explains many of the expressions in these photos.

One benefit that Korbel received from hosting the episodes on their property was free demolition. There were a lot of old redwood stumps that my grandfather wanted removed to plant vineyard. So during filming that is exactly what you see. So, when next you view an episode filmed at Korbel and see one of the spectacular explosions, you’ll know that those flying splinters are not European Oak, but California Redwood.


  1. Patti Doherty
    October 4, 2010

    Have been hooking up with alot of old school friends. Paul Heck Jr sold my house for me in 2001. When I clicked on this page, it shows a picture of Paul, Pat and Pam with a horse. Wow, that really takes me back. We all went to Guerneville Elementary school together. I remember Pat and friends performed at the school right after the Beatles arrived in America.! I used to wait on Paul Sr when I worked at the “Bank of Sonoma County” in Guerneville. He was bigger than life. I absolutely adored him. He always brought a great smile with him when he came in. I know all the “history” of the Heck family. Just suffices to say, Paul Sr’s family suffered. I remember them all very fondly, Paul Sr., Anna Marie, Paul Jr., Pat and Pam 🙂

  2. Katey Bacigalupi
    October 7, 2010

    Hi Patti-
    Thank you so much for visiting the website and your wonderful comment. What great memories you have of my Grandpa and Uncle Pat! We have had some difficult times but its all been to make us stronger and we look towards the future, excited for whats to come! If you are ever in the area please contact us or stop by, I would love to hear some more stories!

  3. wine rack iron
    January 16, 2011

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts later on.


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