Three Decades Later, Daughter Follows in Footsteps of California “Champagne” Winemaker Hanns Kornell
St. Helena, Calif. – 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 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. Paula’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.
“This is truly a dream realized,” says Paula. “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’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 9 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.
Vintage Wine Estates, a family of independent wineries and producers throughout Napa, Sonoma and the Pacific Northwest, will partner with Paula 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 to revive her family’s historic tradition of winemaking.
“We are thrilled to be working with Paula to bring this deeply personal project to light,” says Pat Roney, CEO and Founding Partner of Vintage Wine Estates. “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 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. Robin 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 plans to release a California Sparkling Wine Méthode Champenoise in Spring 2020.
About Paula Kornell
Growing up on her family’s Napa Valley vineyard, Paula Kornell worked with her father until the closing of Kornell Champagne Cellars in 1992, after which she served as General Manager of Vichon Winery, then Carmenet in Sonoma County, and finally Oakville Ranch. Now principal of Kornell Wine Company, she consults with esteemed wine brands and appellations across Napa and Sonoma counties. She was 2009 President of the Board of Directors for the Napa Valley Vintners, filling a position her father held 45 years earlier. She currently serves as board secretary for the Queen of the Valley Foundation, and on the board of Napa Humane.
About Vintage Wine Estates
Vintage Wine Estates is a privately held wine company founded by a group of vintner families with deep roots in the wine business. VWE owns a prestige collection of winery estates and brands—referred to as “our string of pearls”—signifying the quality and legacy of these iconic wines. They span the most significant winegrowing regions: Napa, Sonoma, California’s Central Coast, Washington State and Oregon. Labels include Clos Pegase, Girard, Delectus, Swanson, Cosentino, Cherry Pie, B.R. Cohn, Firesteed, Laetitia, Qupé, and an extensive portfolio of lifestyle and exclusive wine brands. VWE also produces the luxury spirits marques from the Splinter Group and No 209 Gin. An industry leader across all sales channels and dedicated to providing wine and spirits consumers with a range of wines from $10 to $150. www.vintagewineestates.com.