This month, Napa Valley wine consultant and community leader Paula Kornell will introduce the inaugural vintage of her Napa Valley Blanc de Noir, carrying on the work of her father, legendary sparkling winemaker Hanns Kornell.
Paula Kornell worked closely with her father at the family winery Kornell Champagne Cellars, established in 1958 and among the first in California to produce sparkling wine using the traditional method. Through a range of wines, Hanns Kornell helped generate domestic interest in sparkling wine — at that time called Champagne by most American producers, the company says. Paula Kornell's experience and knowledge gained through her father's tutelage, as well as her mother's love of sharing stories, food, and wine, are the stimulus behind Paula Kornell sparkling wines: a focus on authenticity and tradition from grape to bottle, it adds.
"This is truly a dream realized," Paula Kornell said in a statement. "Carrying on the family tradition is something I've thought about and worked towards for some time and I believe that my parents would be proud to see the legacy finally come to fruition."
The launch of her own wine brand follows Paula Kornell's 30 plus years' experience in the wine industry, including a term as president of the Napa Valley Vintners board and as board member for nine years. Her passion for her father's wines as well as for those of Napa Valley have inspired her to bring Napa's historic past back to life, the company says.
St. Helena, Calif.-based Vintage Wine Estates, a family of independent wineries and producers throughout Napa, Sonoma and the Pacific Northwest, will partner with Paula Kornell to bring the Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine to market. With deep roots in the wine business and an innovative approach to connecting consumers to the story behind the wine, Vintage Wine Estates will provide essential resources for Paula Kornell to revive her family's historic tradition of winemaking, it says.
"We are thrilled to be working with Paula to bring this deeply personal project to light," said Pat Roney, chief executive officer and founding partner of Vintage Wine Estates, in a statement. "The Kornell family story is so intertwined with the history of winemaking in Napa and Sonoma counties, and it is an honor to be a part of the next chapter."
Assisting Paula Kornell with winemaking is Robin Akhurst, winemaker at Vintage Wine Estates since 2015 and specialist at crafting wines that express the character and distinction of Napa Valley. Akhurst has a thoroughly global perspective on winemaking, cultivated through experience working harvests in Marlborough, Burgundy, and Australia, before settling in Napa Valley.
Following the launch of the 2017 Napa Valley Blanc de Noir Méthode Champenoise ($50 retail) this month, Paula Kornell plans to release a California Sparkling Wine Méthode Champenoise in spring 2020.