Vintners Kathryn Walt Hall, the former U.S. ambassador to Austria, and Craig Hall, owners of HALL Napa Valley, WALT Sonoma and SENZA Hotel, are one of the Napa Valley’s favorite couples—and they make some pretty darn delicious wine too. Whether you visit their art-filled winery on Highway 29 in St. Helena, where a 35-foot-tall stainless steel bunny created by artist Lawrence Argent and known as Bunny Foo Foo flies high in the front, or their elegant HALL Rutherford venue known its Chandelier Room featuring Donald Lipski’s magnificent “Chilean Red” chandelier adorned with 1,500 Swarovski crystals, we know you’ll have a memorable wine tasting experience. Walt Hall has been involved in the California wine industry since her family first purchased a vineyard in the 1970’s. She’s enjoyed a distinguished career as a successful businesswoman, attorney, community activist and ambassador. Her husband is chairman and founder of Dallas-based Hall Financial Group. Together they share with us their haute secrets to the Napa Valley.
Where were you born: (KWH) Berkeley, CA (CH) Ann Arbor, MI
How long in Napa: Since 1995 for both
Neighborhood: (Both) Our home is in the hills of Rutherford and we have a winery in St. Helena and St. Helena. We also have vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Occupation: (KWH) Vintner, Attorney (CH) Vintner and Entrepreneur
Favorite Restaurant: (KWH) Ad Hoc (CH) Ad Hoc
Best Sushi: (Both) Morimoto
Best Italian: (Both) Bistro Don Giovanni
Best dessert: (KWH) Creme Brûlée from French Laundry
(CH) Another glass of 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet anywhere.
Best place for a romantic date: (Both) Our Cave in Rutherford or just walking in our vineyards at Sacrashe
Best Sunday brunch: (KWH) Bouchon (CH) Gillwoods
Best place for a power business meeting: (Both) Auberge de Soleil
If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? (Both) SENZA
Favorite shopping venue/boutique: (KWH) Napa Style CH: Doesn’t Shop
Favorite place to buy jewelry/watches: (CH) Apple Watches online
Best Spa: (Both) Auberge de Soleil
Favorite Charity Event: (Both) Our HALL Cabernet Cookoff held each spring. This year, the food & wine pairing challenge is held on April 23rd with 100% of ticket sales supporting local charities. Also, we are actively involved each year with Auction Napa Valley.
Favorite Cultural Event: (KWH) Festival Napa Valley, formerly Festival del Sole
(CH) Annual Harvest Hounds Event every October at HALL St. Helena – the event supports our furry friends in the Valley in conjunction with Napa Humane.
Favorite Cultural Institution: (KWH) Festival Napa Valley (CH) Napa outdoors and hiking, Boothe State Park
Best Steakhouse: (Both) Cole’s Chophouse
Best Pizza: (Both) Pizzeria Tra Vigne
Best Lunch: (KWH) French Bread, Cheese, and a bottle of Kathryn Hall Cabernet at my home – all local products.
(CH)Agrees except for the cheese. Being a vegan, I prefer hummus.
Best Gym/Athletic Facility: (Both) We have a gym in our home that we like and use as much as we can.
Best Massage: (Both) Massage therapist Jocelyn Read
Best Limousine/Driving Service: Napa Valley Tours & Transportation
Best Museum/Exhibit: (Both) Hess and HALL
Describe your Valley in three words: (KWH) beautiful, romantic, growing
(CH) spiritual, authentic and special
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: (KWH) Hike the Table Rock Trail
(CH) Visit HALL St. Helena’s 1885 restored building, or Inglenooks restored buildings. In both cases learn about the history of those who led the settlement of Napa and the groundwork for it to become the great wine region it is today.
All-around favorite spot in the Napa Valley: (Both) Our home. We can spend time in the vineyard, enjoy views of the valley and do much of our work from our home offices.
Best Aspect of the Napa Valley: (KWH) It is rural and agriculture oriented yet polished and sophisticated.
(CH) It is a combination of the wonderful sense of place and beauty that is Napa and the self-selected down to earth real people that are our friends of many years from Napa. There are so many people we only see every so often but we have great long dinners and create special memories. That is what Napa is all about.