A Perfect Score – The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery is the tale of the Craig and Kathryn Hall’s experience building a successful Napa Valley winery.
Planting The Seeds
A good book is usually a companion for me when taking cross country flights. During my recent trip to California, I grabbed a copy of A Perfect Score, by Craig and Kathryn Hall. The book has just been released by Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group.
I was on the way to the Wine Bloggers Conference and this was ideal reading material to set the mood. It’s easy to blow it with a wine book – either be too technical and dry, or too elementary. A Perfect Score hits the sweet spot, with engaging style and content no matter your wine sophistication. It’s also the tale of a building a successful business from the ground (or should I say soil?) up.
The Start of A Dream
Kathryn came from a family of wine lovers who owned and worked a vineyard in California’s Mendocino County. Craig, on the other hand, was an entrepreneur with a successful financial company who never drank wine. Kathryn, a successful lawyer, met Craig while she was running for mayor of Dallas.
The book weaves the tale of Kathryn’s time as US ambassador to Austria with the couple’s initial stumbling efforts to break into the Napa Valley wine business. The Austrian connection later resulted in the construction of an wine cellar featuring reclaimed brick from the Hapsburg Empire period.
“As Craig inched his way toward the small town of St. Helena, located in the heart of Napa Valley, he noticed an old winery with the look of a disheveled, ignored child who never has to take a bath.” The purchase of that property and its development enabled HALL wines to expand production and its notoriety.
The journey of the Halls has them overcoming challenges in the vineyard, financial crisis in the market downturn of 2008, and conflicts with Napa neighbors who would rather not share “their” valley with others. Their insight makes for tasty reading.
A Perfect Score lets you join Kathryn for an early morning tank walk with the winemaker and the leadership team as they discuss developing a brand identity for HALL wines. For Cabernet Sauvignon lovers in particular, you get a fascinating look at how award-winning Napa Cab is produced.
Of course, the crowning achievement is the perfect score of 100 attained by the 2010 HALL Exzellenz Cabernet Sauvignon. The journey to get there I found engrossing. I read almost the entire book on my non-stop flight from Detroit to Sacramento.
Other readers have equally enjoyed the book, which is the number 11 on The New York Times bestseller list to be issued October 2. The hardcover is $26 and it is also available as an eBook or audio book.
Uncork a bottle and enjoy this smooth yet robust book!