Featured Participants

Second Empire with Arkenstone Vineyards and Memento Mori and Maxem Wines

Arkenstone Vineyards

Arkenstone Vineyards was founded in 1988 when proprietors Ron and Susan Krausz purchased their unique Howell Mountain AVA property. The majority of the vineyards were planted in 1998, with additional planting taking place in 2009.  Arkenstone produces all of their wine on the Estate, entirely below ground, in state-of-the-art winery caves.  Their first release, after patiently waiting for the vineyards to reach maturity, was the 2006 Vintage.

Jake Krausz is the Estate Director of Arkenstone Vineyards - producing highly rated reds and whites from premium Howell Mountain fruit - Jake turned his passion for quality & his refined palate toward the pursuit of a rosé that can stand with and next to California's great wines.

With the goal of producing the best wine possible from this beautiful site, they chose to become a true Domain Estate, where the underground winery, completed in 2008, along with the Estate vineyards planted primarily in 1998, allow them total control over all aspects of winemaking.   In making this decision, they were thinking foundationally and long term, taking into account the stewardship that would be necessary to support thriving vineyards and a healthy ecosystem throughout the ranch for many years to come. 

You will hear winemakers say that paying attention to detail is critical, but Sam Kaplan, Arkenstone Winemaker takes it to another level. In the caves at Arkenstone, he has the luxury to do just that.  In 2006, Sam met Ron and Susan Krausz and was offered the opportunity to help create their dream --a new winery called Arkenstone up on a spectacular shoulder property of Howell Mountain. 

As Winemaker and overseer of the vineyards, Sam maintains the integrity and quality of Arkenstone wine.  The depth, complexity, and balance of the wines are evidence of the tremendous breadth of his abilities. Passionate about organic farming, he loves spending time walking the vineyards with the crews, taking note of the tiniest details that ultimately shape each vintage.  The maxim that Sam lives by: “Make the best damn wine possible and have fun doing it.”



Memento Mori

Memento Mori was founded by three friends, Adriel Lares, Adam Craun and Hayes Drumwright.   Memento Mori wine is named for a life-embracing philosophy born of a deep appreciation for the ties that bind.  Each of its three founders has triumphed over adversity and learned to value not only life but the passion and hard work that drive it, making them uniquely qualified to launch an uncompromising brand. 

They produce and offer only one wine.  Memento Mori is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California, sourced from only the best vineyards and the wine is made by one of the most talented young winemakers on the planet, Sam Kaplan.  Their singular mission is to craft the absolute best product possible.  “We will never cut corners. Ever.”

They researched grape sources for Memento Mori over the course of three years. Knowing that land is the key to quality, they considered buying a vineyard. But they listened to the varied experiences of some of the best vineyard managers, farmers, and winemakers, and their path to creating a wine of unique and extraordinary caliber became clear: they would select and source from the best sites.

They now source from four of the absolute best vineyards in all of Napa Valley.  All vetted over time, technique and by other elite producers.  In St. Helena, they chose two Beckstoffer Vineyards (Dr. Crane and Las Piedras). In Oakville, they chose Weitz Vineyard and Oakville Ranch. Each stands on its own and has consistently been the source behind many legendary wines. Momento Mori blends their unique characteristics--elegance, power, finish, and longevity--to create a perfectly balanced wine that seduces the palate year after year.

Adam Craun is an artist and entreprenuer who has come to appreciate the work and tenacity demanded by a life in pursuit of passion. He is the creative force behind the Memento Mori brand. At Boston University with Hayes, he was a top athlete on the swim team as well as a talented student of art and music, performing in a popular band. After college, unable to support himself through art alone, he went into a successful career in IT sales and management.   His passion for producing the world's greatest wine is both relentless and unwavering.   He likes to be everywhere at all times.   When he is not traveling the world and showcasing our wine, he regularly completes in road races, open water swims, and triathlons in his "spare" time.  And like the other two founders, is highly involved in charitable work.



Second Empire

http://www.second-empire.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/house_front.jpgThe Dodd-Hinsdale house (circa 1879) was originally built for Mayor William H. Dodd on a lot given to him by his parents in 1871. In 1993, Ted Reynolds and his family obtained an Option to Purchase the property and quickly went about developing a strategy to restore the property to its initial grandeur and set into motion the restoration project to transform the home into a restaurant.

Opened in 1997, Second Empire Restaurant, located in the elegantly restored Dodd-Hinsdale house, combines history, atmosphere, and gourmet cuisine for an unforgettable dining experience.

Their Main Dinner Menu changes every month and features Chef Daniel Schurr’s creations from the freshest seasonal ingredients. This menu is offered on the main floor dining areas and the Tavern.

Their delectable menu and polished service has won them the AAA Four Diamond Award, the DiRoNa Award and the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 1998 will assure you a truly unique dining experience.



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