“Something about Napa, especially when coupled with the wine business, breeds a celebration of life.”-Craig and Kathryn Hall
Learning about the history of wine and the people behind the wine moves you to take a deeper look into the glass. Swirl it a little longer. Allow the aroma to envelop you. Feel the devotion in the flavor.
When you visit a winery, you take in the scenery, taste the wines and learn about its history. When you pick up a book, you take in the people. You live their story. You feel their passion.
Such is true of the book, “A Perfect Score“, written by Napa Valley modern-day pioneers, Craig and Kathryn Hall. It details their 20-year journey of sharing their passion for wine and art with the world. Every chapter shows the character of determination that drove the Halls to create art in a glass; the ultimate expression of the love and nurturing that goes into caring for every vine. Thus making them one of the most highly-regarded families in the industry.
The unwavering perseverance of Craig and Kathryn to produce high quality wines paid off in the form of the perfectly scored 2010 Hall “Exzellenz” Cabernet Sauvignon. Given a 100 point score from acclaimed wine critic, Robert Parker, this was the ultimate reward for all of the hard work and commitment that went into crafting a world-class product. Hall and Walt wines have received numerous accolades to include another 100 point award for their 2013 Hall “Rainin Vineyard” Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon.
“A Perfect Score” not only dives into the Hall’s passion for winemaking, but it also breathes life into their appreciation for art, culture, and the spirit of friendship. From the elaborate construction of the wineries, to the unique pieces of art, to the bottles of wine themselves; every aspect of Craig and Kathryn’s effort tells the story of who they are and what they value.
Raised in a family of grape growers in Mendocino County, Kathryn’s family supplied fruit to local wineries to include Beringer and Fetzer. She managed the family vineyards for many years before passing the torch to her brother, shortly after the death of their father. Kathryn continued to have a connection to the vineyards and the desire to produce her own wines. Craig was a highly successful real estate expert and financial entrepreneur from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He settled into Dallas during the 1980’s. They met in 1991 when Kathryn reached out to Craig during her campaign for mayor of Dallas. Their connection was inevitable. They married in 1993 and in a short time, Craig’s openness and support of his wife’s desire for winemaking ultimately became his own. In the late 90’s, Kathryn was offered the amazing opportunity to serve as U.S. Ambassador of Austria. She and Craig bundled up their family and relocated to Austria to spend the next four years in a new and exciting world. As an Ambassador, Kathryn worked diligently to support diplomatic relations between the US and Austria and showcase American culture by hosting musicians and artists of every kind. In support of community, she also held many parties at her residence, becoming a part of Kathryn’s legacy of bringing people together.
Although their time in Austria did not allow them to be hands-on with their work in winemaking, it was still very much in the forefront of their efforts. However, one devastating tragedy would shake their world and change the way most would see forging ahead. But the Halls would not be defeated.
The book details many years that were filled with the joys of success and the promise of a bright future. Other years were riddled with roadblocks and challenges that left Craig and Kathryn wondering if they would ever be able to see all of their dreams come to light. Despite local opposition and the unexpected collapse of the economy, they found a way to push through every obstacle with more determination than ever.
I have visited Hall St. Helena on two occasions. Once when bringing a friend to the valley for the first time. Again while volunteering for Auction Napa Valley. I’d always admired the view from the second-level tasting room. On my next visit, I will be equipped with a new found appreciation; a story of survival; of old made new again in “a perfect score” of love for the Napa Valley.