Wine Country Personalities

Kathyrn Hall :

Celebrating the Dream

The morning fog gently lifts from the rolling Sacrashe Vineyard at HALL Rutherford Winery. At the crest of these Vaca foothills, one is rewarded with a spectacular view of the Napa Valley floor. "This is truly a dream come true," explains Kathryn Hall, who, with husband Craig, owns this boutique, private-access winery as well as the HALL St. Helena winery on Highway 29, which is open to the public. Kathryn has been involved in the California wine industry since her family first purchased a vineyard thirty-five years ago. She has had a distinguished career as a successful businesswoman, community activist, and most recently as the United States Ambassador to Austria. She now commits herself to producing extraordinary Bordeaux varietals--Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon-overseeing the winemaking process from vineyard to table. Craig and Kathryn own five estate vineyards across Napa and Sonoma counties, and these properties include some of the finest vineyards in California.

"I have always known that someday I would return to the business of winegrowing and winemaking. Wine in all its wonderful aspects has been a part of the great celebrations in my family as long as I can remember. Now, I have a chance to share that joy through my work and help create exceptional wine experiences for our guests. Wine is about special moments. It is a celebration of the senses and a celebration of the moment. We strive to create the best wine we possibly can--truly memorable, truly extraordinary. We want people to celebrate with our wines."

The new Exclusive Experience featuring HALL allows private access to the hilltop winery with an intimate tour and sommelier wine tasting for two, including barrel tasting of their rarest red wines.

Modern art and architecture also play a key role in Kathryn Hall's personal life and at her wineries. HALL Rutherford showcases numerous works of contemporary art in a modern winery that balances history, vanguard winemaking technology and gorgeous vistas. HALL St. Helena has embarked on an ambitious showplace of its own: Frank Gehry has designed a spectacular visitors center and gravity-fed winery to be complete in late 2009. The structures will meld the property's rich history with modern vision, all underscoring the beauty of the vineyards and the backdrop of the Macaymas Mountains. There is a sparkle in Kathryn's eye as she considers the project. "The buildings of Frank Gehry elicit joy and inspire the senses. As such they are the ideal environment for us as we strive to make wines that bring joy to special occasions. Constructed of wood and glass, the winery buildings will echo and glorify our beautiful natural setting in Napa Valley." Official groundbreaking for the project is July of this year and Kathryn and Craig have worked closely with Frank Gehry's design team to realize their vision.

An international career took Kathryn away from her wine aspirations for a time. After earning an A.B. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law, she began a public career as assistant city attorney in Berkeley, California. Later she joined Safeway Stores, where she was responsible for developing and administering one of the nation's first and largest affirmative action programs. Subsequently she worked as an attorney and businesswoman in Dallas, Texas, where she was president of an inner city development company and partner of Hall Financial Group, Inc. From 1997 to July 2001, Kathryn served as the United States Ambassador to Austria before returning to Napa Valley to begin living her dream.

"When my schedule permits, I love to host our guests at the winery, sharing our passion and connecting our visitors to what we do.” A large hawk soars across the pale blue canvas of late-morning sky and disappears behind a distant row of winter vines. "When I was still in diplomatic life, people used to ask me what I could possibly enjoy doing when my term expired. That was never hard to answer: I always knew where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I am living my dream. Just look around. I am living in the most gorgeous place on earth, making great wine with, and for, wonderful people. What could be better?"

For more information on Kathryn Hall and HALL Wines, please visit the featured winery listing on Click here