We have often said that Realm Cellar stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. In the macro sense this refers to the waves of people who saw the potential of Napa Valley, and through their hard work, grit, and optimism made it into the world-renowned wine region it is today. On a more personal level it alludes to the folks who have been our mentors and guides, people without whom Realm would not be what or where it is today.
In 2019 we launched our Speaker Series, inviting people who are friends and luminaries in their field to share their experience and perspective with the Realm team. The intent is to give our team members more context about Napa Valley, how it evolved and where it may be going, though we will also bring in people from other walks of life, artists, writers, Silicon Valley executives, etc. We started with two well-known people in Napa Valley who have also had a hand in Realm’s success: Andy Beckstoffer, who has sold fruit to Realm every harvest since 2002, and Bart Araujo, who has been a friend and confidante to Scott for years. The sessions started with a discussion led by Scott followed by Q&A from the team and a tasting.
Scott: “There are some interesting insights that come out. Andy Beckstoffer talked about Napa Valley history. It was fascinating for everyone to hear there was more Petite Sirah planted here in the late 1960s and early 1970s than Cabernet Sauvignon. When he was asked about the future, Andy said something along the lines of ‘Try to own something, try to own a piece of this valley. It could just be a home here, that would be fine. But just own a piece of this valley, because I think it grounds you in this place in a different way. If you're just a renter, you're just passing through; you don't have the same connection to the place.’ I thought that was pretty cool. Afterward we tasted a few To Kalon wines from different producers.”
Bart had a different angle and spoke more about what it takes to build a wine business. To paraphrase: “Realm has had some success. And that’s great. But you know, even with all I've done, I've always felt like I'm running just a little bit scared. There’s this notion of entrepreneurship and taking risks, but you want to make sure you're not blind to those risks. You can’t get complacent or lazy.” Amen to that. Bart brought some older Araujo wines from Eisele Vineyard, which was a rare treat to say the least.
We also invited Victor Reyes to speak. Victor is the visual artist who painted our Cave of Dreams. His talk was somewhat elliptical, but it was cool to hear him explain his process, how he spent twenty-one nights creating this mural. It’s not like he just closed his eyes and something ended up on the wall. There was a process, there was method to the madness; even if he couldn't totally explain it, you sensed it. He left a piece of himself in that cave; that is why we call it Victor’s Cave of Dreams.
We’ll share more about our Speaker Series in the future.