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A Perfect Score: The Art , Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery


A Perfect Score by Kathryn and Craig Hall

A Perfect Score by Craig and Kathryn Hall

A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery
Authors: Craig and Kathryn Hall
Publisher: Center Street, New York, Boston, Nashville
Copyright: 2016
ISBN: 9781455535767
Reviewed by Kathy Sullivan, Wine Trail Traveler

This review is based on a review copy. The 200 plus page paperback book is an easy to read book that follows the wine journey of Craig and Kathryn Hall who founded HALL and WALT Wines.

A Perfect Score begins with the story of how Craig and Kathryn met in Dallas, Texas. At the time, they were professionals outside of the wine industry. Kathryn’s careers have included: community activist, lawyer and US Ambassador to Austria. Craig is the founder and chairman of HALL Group based in Dallas. He has authored several books, and is a philanthropist and civic leader.

Kathryn’s interest in wine goes back to her childhood, when she grew up on a vineyard owned by her parents in Mendocino County, California. When Kathryn and Craig met in Dallas, Craig was enchanted with Kathryn, but knew very little about wine. Near the beginning of their relationship, Craig asked Kathryn if a rosé was made by mixing red and white wines. For wine lovers and wine enthusiast readers, this provides a bit of humor. Overtime, Craig became passionate about the wine industry.

Eventually Kathryn and Craig established HALL Wines in Napa Valley, which was later followed by WALT Wines. A Perfect Score details the Halls’ trials and successes, including: searching for their first vineyard, dealing with Napa Valley regulations, hiring great employees, the 2007-2008 economic downturn, financial strains, weather difficulties affecting the vineyards, selling wines, charity events and much more.

Craig and Kathryn wrote A Perfect Score together as a couple. It is written in such a way that it tends to draw the reader in as a part of the scenario. The reader gets a sense of the emotions that the Halls must have felt as they worked to create their dream. The center of the book offers several pages of black and white photos of various special moments for the Hall family.

In addition to the Halls developing the HALL and WALT wineries and vineyards, A Perfect Score devotes many pages to the importance of well-maintained vineyards, and the importance of the winemaking techniques especially in regard to creating great Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir wines. The book depicts the owners as very passionate about producing great wines.

Throughout A Perfect Score, the Halls mention many names of wine and political people they have met and who have been associated with as they developed their Napa Valley wineries. Familiar names mentioned in the book include the Mondavis and Senator Tom Daschle.

A Perfect Score culminates with the Halls receiving a 100 point score from Robert Parker in 2013 for their 2010 HALL Exzellenz Cabernet Sauvignon. As noted in the book, the 2010 year was a very difficult year for Napa Valley Vineyards. The Perfect Score details many of the steps the HALL staff took to mitigate the bad weather affects on the vineyards.

A Perfect Score emphasizes the hard work, risk taking, years and the money required to successfully be involved in the wine industry. Anyone who enjoys a good glass of wine is likely to appreciate the story of the Halls’ wine journey as it is depicted in A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery.

The Perfect Score is available online at Amazon and the Hall Wines online store.

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