Kapcsandy Family Winery, in Yountville, was founded in 2000 when Lou and Roberta Kapcsandy and their son Louis Jr. purchased the historic 20-acre State Lane Vineyard. The vineyard for decades had been the source of grapes used by Beringer Estate to make the much-admired State Lane Cabernet Sauvignon. Phylloxera destroyed the vines in 1999, so in 2001 the Kapcsandys hired winemaker Helen Turley and her viticulturalist husband John Wetlaufer to assess the property. The vineyard was replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Helen Turley made the first vintages in 2003 and 2004. Tony Arcudi is the consulting winemaker today. Lou Kapcsandy’s journey from penniless, European refugee to the founder of a widely admired California winery reads like a movie script. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Kapcsandy fled Hungary after the Russians invaded in 1956. Admitted into a New Jersey refugee camp, he got a job working the night shift at a Brooklyn bakery while completing a degree in chemical engineering. He later served in the U.S. Army and was also a member of the San Diego Chargers professional football team before pursuing his career in petroleum and pharmaceuticals process engineering. He became the head of Baugh Enterprises, a large commercial contractor based in Seattle, before retiring in 2003. The estate’s Cabernet Sauvignons have impressed critics, including Robert M. Parker Jr., who rated the most recent vintages at 100 pts. Parker has complimented the Kapcsandys for their “perfectionist philosophy.”
Yountville AVA is just west of Stags Leap and north of Oak Knoll. It is centered around the town of Yountville, named for George Yountville, who planted the area’s first vineyard in 1836. The district received appellation status in 1999 and it includes 4,000 vineyard acres. It is known for tannic Cabernet Sauvignon that has a reputation for aging well. Dominus Estate, formerly Napanook Vineyard, is one of the most prestigious producers in Yountville, and in all of Napa Valley.