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Press Scale Wine Group

Below is a sampling of recent press for the phenomenal wines and winemakers in the Scale Wine Group portfolio.

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Helen Keplinger

Helen Keplinger Winemaker of the Year 2023: A Wild Rollercoaster Ride

December 20, 2023

It’s been quite the ascent for Helen Keplinger over the last decade or so. Keplinger was exposed to wine as a child and later pursued an Enology degree at UC Davis. That was followed by stints working alongside some of California's most highly esteemed winemakers and jobs in Australia and then Spain. I met her about a dozen years ago, give or take, and have followed her wines since then.

Today, Keplinger continues to make her own wines and also consults for a small roster of clients. The wines have been superb for a few years now, but I was especially struck by what I tasted this year across all the various projects. The wines were so breathtaking I tasted them again in my office a few weeks later just to be sure. As often happens with great wines when they are taken out of physical context, a more clinical setting actually allows them to shine even more brightly. My initial impressions were confirmed, and then some. Her 2021s are quite simply sensational across the board.

- Antonio Galloni

Tor Kenward

Robb Report: The Man Who Helped Turn Napa Valley Into a Premier Culinary Destination Is Still Making Some of Its Best Wine Known for high-scoring wines and for jumpstarting the Valley's culinary scene, the Napa icon is still hard at work.

Robb Report
August 17, 2023

When origin stories of wine regions are discussed, it’s usually in the context of ancient or distant history, such as colonization by the Romans or vineyards planted by Cistercian monks. However, in the case of Napa Valley, whose grape-growing history extends back to 1839, one of the pioneers of the current tourism, hospitality, and culinary landscape is not only still on the scene but is making coveted, age-worthy wines from some of the valley’s finest vineyards. Napa icon Tor Kenward is known for the high-scoring wines he and his wife, Susan, produce alongside winemaker Jeff Ames at their Tor Napa Valley winery, which they established in 2001. Tor’s 2018 vintage received seven 100-point scores, five 99-point scores and ten 98-point scores, including four 100-point scores from different scoring publications for Tor 2018 Napa Valley Black Magic, a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant blend.

Robb Report: 9 Outstanding Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignons to Buy Right Now We usually look to Sonoma for Pinot Noir, but there are outstanding Cabs to drink too.

Robb Report
August 09, 2023

Cornell 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County California

Henry and Vanessa Cornell purchased 240 acres of land tucked away in the Mayacamas Mountains and planted 20 acres of vines. They hired Francoise Peschon and Elizabeth Tangney as winemakers and in 2015 invited the winemaking team, vineyard crew, and their families to live on the property year-round. Their 2018 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is composed of 98 percent Cabernet Sauvignon with one percent each of Petit Verdot and Malbec. It is aged for 20 months in 62 percent new French oak barrels. The wine has alluring aromas of cassis, purple flowers, and black plum with flavors of dried cherry, vanilla, and mocha. It has bold tannins and a touch of Indian Curry powder in the finish.

– Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, August 2023

Tor Cuvee Torchiana

Robb Report: The 9 Best Napa Valley Chardonnays to Drink This Summer Tor 2021 Cuvée Torchiana Beresini Vineyard Chardonnay Napa Valley California

Robb Report
July 12, 2023

Grapes for this fascinating Chardonnay are grown in a single three-acre vineyard that produces clusters much smaller than average, but the winemaking team feels that they make dense and rich wines because of the high skin to juice ratio. The team maintains that this produces “wines with structure wrapped around a core of dense fruit.” We couldn’t agree more—the wine is bright gold in color with intense aromas of white citrus blossom, white peach, and dried dandelion. It is full bodied with flavors of lemon curd, egg custard flan, and toasted hazelnut with a persistent velvety finish. Drink now or lay down for three to five years.

Wine Spectator Memento Mori Estate

Wine Spectator: Memento Mori Purchases Calistoga Estate

Wine Spectator
March 29, 2023

Memento Mori’s founders, along with winemaker Sam Kaplan, have decided to create their own permanent home. With the purchase of the former Stonescape estate in Calistoga, this new star among boutique Cabernet producers is following a similar path in trying to set itself up for a generational run.

The 17-acre property on Azalea Springs Way, at the base of Diamond Mountain and a neighbor to Checkerboard Vineyards, was formerly owned by Norman and Norah Stone, a wealthy San Francisco–based couple with a prominent art collection. The property dates to the 1880s and had been purchased by the Stones in 1991. They renovated the two original houses on the site and put in vines by 2001. The 2020 wildfires took one of the houses, but the second still stands. Also on the property is a 5,750-square-foot hydro-heated cave built specifically to house fine art.

– James Molesworth, February 2023

Grower Champagnes

Wine Enthusiast: Why Grower Champagne Should Be on Your Radar

Wine Enthusiast
December 30, 2022

Paul Launois Composition Brut Nature NV

Structured, yet expansive on the palate with pronounced orchard fruits of fresh Bosc pear skin, lemon verbena, mandarin orange oil, a vein of dried pineapple, hibiscus petals, salted fresh almonds and fresh brioche. There’s also a cut of acidity and firm chalky mineral finish that is electrifyingly refreshing and carries through its fine perlage. Cellar or enjoy it now with gently braised proteins and rich firm fish with a creamy herb sauce.


Decanter: Cornell Vineyards

December 14, 2021

"After more than a decade of experimentation, planting and zeroing in on their distinct Sonoma style, Henry and Vanessa Cornell released their first commercial wine in 2013. Today, their classically styled Spring Mountain Cabernets are firmly ensconced in California's top tier."

- Jonathan Cristaldi, December 2021

Memento Mori Forbes

Forbes: Memento Mori and Realm Cellars: Two Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Stars

September 21, 2021

“This is the story of two highly successful standouts, both of which excel with Cabernet Sauvignon yet come at it from different angles. Taken together, they showcase the fantastically high levels of quality and depths of profundity that America’s most famous region is known for… Memento Mori was founded in 2010 by Hayes Drumwright, Adriel Lares, and Adam Craun. The name, which translates from the Latin as “remember that you will die” or, alternatively, “remember you must die,” is a reminder to the three partners that success is about leaving it all on the proverbial field, and working to succeed no matter what the challenges.”

- Brian Freedman, September 2021

Cornell Logo

GuildSomm: Cabernet in Sonoma: Why Cabernet Sauvignon Deserves One More Spotlight in California

August 30, 2021

Cornell Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Fountaingrove District 2017

Founded by Henry and Vanessa Cornell, with Elizabeth Tangney as winemaker and Françoise Peschon as consulting winemaker, Cornell bottles some of the most alluring wines in the Fountaingrove District. The 2017 Cornell—only the fifth vintage—shows dazzling rosewater, violet pastille, and sandalwood aromatics, followed by flavors of tart plum, macerated black cherry, and blue fruit flavors. Exceptionally balanced and finely chiseled, the wine offers impressive elegance and purity.

- Bryce Wiatrak, August 2021

Memento Mori Flagship

Robb Report: Napa Valley’s Top Winemakers on Why You Shouldn’t Turn Your Nose Up at Red Blends

Robb Report
August 24, 2021

"If notes from a single violin can be exquisite, and the layers of sound from an entire orchestra grand, does it follow that a wine blended from different vineyards in Napa Valley, say, can actually be greater than the sum of its parts? Sam Kaplan, winemaker for Memento Mori, whose flagship wine is a blend of the best fruit from multiple legendary vineyards chosen off the top before he creates single-vineyard wines from those same sources, says yes. 'Blends make it possible to take the best from some of Napa Valley’s top vineyards and make something altogether new and entirely original. Though those sites can speak for themselves in single-vineyard designates, I love getting to play matchmaker with some of the best vineyard sources from throughout Napa Valley and tasting how phenomenal the final result can be in the bottle.'"

- Sarah Schneider, August 2021

Eden Rift Logo

Eden Rift 2018 Valliant Chardonnay (Central Coast)

Wine Enthusiast
August 14, 2021

"Toasty aromas of fine grained oak join with Asian pear, yellow rose and grapefruit pith on the nose of this bottling. The palate shows plenty of grippy texture, offering tangerine peel, seared apple flesh, a pinch of salt and an oaky tightness."

- Matt Kettmann

Francoise Pechon

Winemaker of the Year: Francoise Peschon By Esther Mobley for

SF Chronicle
December 12, 2019

Francoise Peschon’s terroir-first attitude represents the best shot a changing Napa has at staying relevant

Peschon represents the best chance Napa’s got at remaining vibrant. Best known as winemaker for Araujo Estate from 1993 to 2013, she is now a consultant, making the wines for Heimark, Cornell, Accendo, Matt Morris and Piedra Hill in addition to Vine Hill Ranch, plus a small label, Drinkward Peschon, which she co-owns with her best friend, Lisa Drinkward.

But unlike many of Napa’s premier winemaking consultants, known for imprinting a homogeneous style on all the wines they touch, Peschon has no signature stamp. She believes “a winemaker is a means to an end,” she says. “You have to justify the site.” Her wines, though mostly Napa Valley Cabernet, are each as distinctive as those individual Vine Hill Ranch barrels.

Cornell Logo

“People to Know”: Francoise Peschon

Wine Speed
October 17, 2019

Françoise Peschon was the long-time winemaker for the famous Napa Valley winery Araujo and is now the consulting winemaker for three small, exclusive estates: Cornell, Vine Hill Ranch, and Accendo (the Araujo family’s newest project in Napa Valley). Early in Françoise’s career, she worked at Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux. In 2000, Françoise partnered with her neighbor and friend to make their own wine, Drinkward Peschon. Françoise holds an enology degree from the University of California, Davis.

Karen MacNeil interviewed Françoise Peschon for WineSpeed in July 2019.

Collectible California Cabernet By Karen MacNeil for Decanter Magazine

October 17, 2019

95 PTS

To call them more feminine might be risky, but the great Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignons have a velvetiness that’s so hedonistic you feel as though someone just wrapped you in a cashmere blanket. Cornell, a breathtaking property in the Mayacamas Mountains, is owned by ex-Goldman Sachs executive Henry Cornell who spent years patching together pieces of virgin land in the mountains. The classically structured wines are overseen by Françoise Peschon (also Accendo) and they flow with slow mesmerizing savory, earthy and red fruit flavors.
Drinking Window 2020 - 2035

Cornell Vineyards Reviews Reviews from James Suckling, May 2019

James Suckling
May 09, 2019

The tightness and linear nature to this balanced and beautiful wine are so attractive. Bright and dense with lots of cabernet focus. Love the tannin and fruit balance. Drink after 2022, but already a beauty.

Blueberries and blackberries with licorice. Black truffles. So much blue fruit on the nose and palate. Full body and beautiful tannins that are layered and powerful. Drinking beautifully now.

Black licorice and black truffles. Fresh-herb and lavender undertones. Fresh and tight with very fine tannins. Medium to full body. Linear, focused and long. Still needs a few more years.

Beautiful aromas of blackcurrants, black truffles and conifer. Floral at the same time. Firm and super fine tannins that are polished and clean. Focused. Linear and tight. Just starting to come around.

Holiday Gift Guide 2018: The Best American Cabernet Sauvignon Wines By Courtney Schiessl for

December 07, 2018

As the nights grow colder, the warmth of a rich, generous red wine is appealing, and nothing delivers in that style more than a domestic Cabernet Sauvignon. But that category leaves the options for gifting wide open, from the fresh and restrained Cabernets of cooler areas to the rich and spicy ones of warm regions. Suitable for Secret Santas and bosses alike, American Cabernet Sauvignon is simply a classic.

Look to these 10 bottles for gifting options all season long, from the affordable but impressive to the splurge-worthy and unforgettable.


Band of Vintners ‘Consortium’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley, California ($35)

A group of six top winemakers and wine professionals “banded” together to create this Napa Valley Cabernet. It is more red fruited than many, with plump cherry fruit and strong notes of spice, both sweet and spicy.

Cornell Vineyards – Sonoma’s newest ‘Napa’ Winery By Tim Carl Nov 15, 2018 for the Napa Valley Register

Napa Valley Register
November 14, 2018

Cornell Vineyards is physically located in Sonoma, just a mile or so beyond the Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain American Viticultural Area off St. Helena Road. But given the team’s pedigree and the style of wine — big, voluptuous yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignons — one might just assume this is a new high-end, small-lot Napa Valley wine producer.

Over nearly 20 years, the creators, Henry and Vanessa Cornell, have quietly built a foundation that might not only produce exceptional wines but may also hold a key for creating an ethos where care for both the land and the people working on it go hand in hand

“We purchased the first property here back in 2000, which was 115 acres, but we’ve been fortunate enough to add to that and now own about 250 acres, 20 of which we’ve planted in grapes,” Henry Cornell said. “But we believe that the first vineyards were planted here back in the late 1800s, when a stagecoach road traversed the property. When we got here those vineyards had laid fallow since Prohibition.”

Although a few well-known wineries are near the Cornell Vineyards — Fisher, Pride and Philip Togni — the area remains less explored than the valleys on either side.

Napa’s Scale Wine Group finds a new balance for top sommeliers Tim Carl Aug 2, 2018 Napa Valley Register

Napa Valley Register
August 02, 2018

Napa’s recently launched Scale Wine Group assists small wine producers to showcase their products.

Working as a hired sales and marketing team, this group of wine experts provides a collection of selected, mostly local, wine brands the ability to obtain broader exposure throughout the United States. Other companies do this type of outsourced work, but what’s unique about Scale is that their team includes some of the world’s leading wine sommeliers.

“Our goal is to help our clients have a greater voice out in the marketplace,” said Desmond Echavarrie, a certified Master Sommelier and the founder of Scale. “We basically fulfill the role of being national sales managers and directors of sales for smaller brands who don’t have the resources or experience to compete with some of the more established brands.”

The Scale Wine model provides not only access to a broader wholesale network, it is also a sort of screen that provides an expert’s stamp of approval on the client brand’s quality.

Sonoma’s Rugged Terroir VIDEO: Interview with Winemaker Graham Wehmeier on Location at Cornell Vineyards

Wine Siren
February 18, 2018

Straddling the Mayacama mountain range are 20 stunning acres of well-refined vineyards cultivated with meticulous care. The location is Sonoma County’s Santa Rosa high atop Spring Mountain. Cornell Vineyards is perched between 1600 and 1900 feet. This is the land where clouds pass so close you can almost reach out and touch them. Where terrain and weather are untamed. A frontier of wild yesterdays where stagecoaches once traversed.

The vineyard was re-established in 2001. Cornell focused efforts on a number of developmental and exploratory years. This due in part to the difficult and diverse terrain. With modest terracing, strategic planting with vines in balance with the land.

“Quite simply, these are gorgeous mountain Cabernets endowed with real class and pedigree.” Antonio Galloni

The Best Red Wine Holiday Gift Ideas

Food & Wine
December 31, 2017

2015 Band of Vintners Consortium Cabernet Sauvignon ($40) This is the second release from a group of seven winemaker friends whose goal is to produce a Cabernet from top Napa Valley sites at a modest price. They’ve succeeded brilliantly with this peppery, cherry-rich bottling.


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