Founder and Winemaker Eric Jensen is regarded today as one of the most influential vintners and winemakers not just of Paso Robles, but the West Coast. Check out any one of the major critic’s vintage reports for Paso, and you’ll see his Booker Vineyard at the top of the page as one of the regional powerhouses. Eric’s My Favorite Neighbor is a celebration of the friendship and deeply rooted sense of community in San Luis Obispo County, continuing his groundbreaking exploration of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay throughout the region.
- Region: Paso Robles
- Winery Location: Willow Creek District
- Owner: Constellation Brands
- First Vintage: 2016
- Winemaker: Eric Jensen
Eric’s first career was as a very successful broker in real-estate trust sales, but soon grew weary of the city life and dreamt of heading to the rolling hills and rugged coastline of the Central Coast. He founded the Booker Vineyard was founded in 2001 when he and his wife, Lisa, purchased a vineyard in Paso’s Willow Creek District, eventually growing their land holdings to 40 hectares, including 24ha planted to a variety of grapes, primarily Syrah and Grenache.
The fruit was instantly considered among the best in the region, and was eagerly purchased by regional legends including Saxum Vineyards, Linne Calodo, and Clos Solène, among others. After making wine with Justin Smith (of Saxum) for five years and Stephan Asseo (of L’Aventure Wines) for two years, the Jensens decided it was time to create their own expression of the vineyard: Booker Wines. The 2005 Vintage was their first release with the wines being made by Eric with Justin consulting, and they were huge hits out of the gate with scores of 95 points from both Robert Parker and Jeb Dunnuck – an amazing debut!
In 2016, Eric founded My Favorite Neighbor (MFN), celebrating people, communities, and the moments made even better with a fantastic bottle of wine. These sublime wines were inspired by the close friendship between Eric and his original “favorite neighbor,” Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure Winery. The MFN wines result from a collaborative spirit shared between two passionate winemakers in the heart of Paso Robles.
Today, MFN pay tribute to neighbours everywhere. Harvested from the neighbouring vineyards that surround Booker in Paso Robles, and throughout the exciting San Luis Obispo County. As Eric says to eveyone who enjoys a bottle of MFN: “Welcome to the neighbourhood. We’re so glad you’re here!”
Eric sources fruit from vineyards throughout San Luis Obispo County, from Paso Robles to Edna Valley. They include Denner Vineyard, Atla Colina Vineyard, Gateway Vineyard, Parrish Vineyard, Lopai Vineyard, and Moon Springs Vineyard. Employing traditional winemaking techniques, backed by science-driven technology, allows him to create wines that consistently stand up to the most notable Cabernets in the world. No shortcuts, concentrates, or comprises—just simply delicious, high-quality wine.
Eric proudly describes himself as a ‘farmer-winemaker’. His first foray was to plant his Booker Vineyard with the help of local icon Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards. With an obsessive attention to detail, he focused on the two most important factors in curating a brilliant vineyard: canopy management, and crop load. Having quickly established Booker as one of the ‘Grand Crus’ of West Paso, he worked tirelessly under the guidance of Stephan Asseo (L’Aventure) and Justin to hone his winemaking skills, with the goal of producing his own label. He is now regarded as one of the best winemakers in the Central Coast.