A Second Home Vineyard: Craig and Kathryn Hall Lead the Way With New Book That Debuts a Bestseller

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All photos courtesy of Hall Wines

Do you dream of a second home with a vineyard, a place to unwind with a wine country lifestyle? Kathryn and Craig Hall, who split their time between Dallas and Napa Valley, have penned a memoir of their journey from purchasing a dilapidated Rutherford winery to seeing a Hall-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon receive a perfect score from Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker, arguably the world’s most influential wine critic. Officially debuting Sept. 13, 2016, A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery by Craig and Kathryn Hall (Center Street/$26) will rank 11th on the October 1 New York Times’ Nonfiction Hardcover list.Hall Wine

Here’s a glimpse inside the book and the authors’ wine country home:

At a reception on the release date, Sept. 13, at the Hall Financial Group’s headquarters in the KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, the Halls hosted the book’s official launch, gifting guests (including lucky me) with signed copies and a bottle of the latest vintage of wine from the vineyard that inspired it.


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Kathryn and Craig Hall at a September book launch reception at KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts.

Married since 1993, the couple is well known in Dallas. Michigan-born Craig has a long history here as CEO of Hall Financial Group, a development firm with office, hotel, and residential projects and financial holdings across the country. Included are major initiatives now underway in North Texas: the 18-story KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts in the Dallas Arts District, soon to be complemented by luxury residences and a boutique hotel; and Hall Park, a 162-acre office complex in Frisco.

But it’s a return to Kathryn’s family business that’s the subject of the book. Born Kathryn Walt, the high-power attorney who served as U.S. ambassador to Austria and co-founded the North Texas Food Bank, she grew up in a family making wine in Mendocino. After the couple married, Kathryn felt called to her roots. In 1995, they scoped out Napa and purchased a vineyard known as Sacrashe in the Rutherford AVA. With determination and love over the next two decades, they developed remarkable wines that led to success and accolades, including the rare honor of receiving a perfect 100-point score from leading wine critic Robert Parker for their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon bearing the name “Hall Exzellenz.”


Along the way, they maintained a strong marriage, raised four children, and built a stunning David Schwartz-designed second home set in the Rutherford vineyard …

Not surprisingly, Hall Wines has a strong following from Dallas. Visitors can tour and experience wine in beautiful settings punctuated by magnificent art at Hall Wines locations in Rutherford and St. Helena in Napa Valley and at Walt Wines in Sonoma, where they make Pinot noir and Chardonnay under Kathryn’s family name.

Works of art, such as this bunny sculpture by Lawrence Argent, punctuate the setting.
Works of art, such as this bunny sculpture by Lawrence Argent, punctuate the setting.


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The 16,000-square-foot wine cave at Rutherford, built of Austrian brick.


Hall Wines
A dazzling Swarovski Austrian crystal chandelier hangs in event space at the Rutherford Winery.


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It’s easy to understand how they fell in love with the views.

Writing a book together about their wine-making ventures seemed a natural progression in their journey. “I hope this book has something to offer to anyone with an interest in the wine business,” said Kathryn at the book launch party. “It’s been a great pleasure for us. And, I hope you will enjoy our wine.” The book is available at area bookstores, on Hall Wine’s website, and on Amazon.

Craig and Kathryn Hall

What’s next? The Halls just kicked off a 45-stop book tour across the U.S. with appearances from Washington, D.C., to Seattle. And, oh yes, and there are grapes to harvest, crush, and make into award-winning wine, not to mention a real estate project or two in the works.