Hestan Vineyards: The Estate

Behind every bottle of wine there is a story, there are people and there are places. Each winery has its own unique story and Hestan is no exception to the rule. Hestan Vineyards was founded in 1996 by Stanley and Helen Cheng ("Hestan" being the result of the combination of their names) who purchased this 121-acre property on the eastern slopes of NapaValley with the goal of growing and making wines to satisfy their tastes in Bordeaux-style wines. They began planting grapes in 1997, adding blocks over the years. Today, 56 acres are planted with all of Bordeaux’s principle red varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. 

If you are familiar with brands like KitchenAid, Anolon, Farberware and Bonjour, then you already know a little bit about Stanley Cheng, the CEO of Meyer Corporation (America's No. 1 cookware company). Knowing this and loving all Hestan wines, it was a true honor for me to be asked to photograph their estate and vineyards a couple of weeks ago. That morning I hit the road around 5:30am because I wanted to get there before sunrise when the light is most flattering. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of those Napa Valley overacast mornings. Regardless of the weather, the winding country road to the property was already telling me that there was something memorable awaiting. 

There is something extremely special and quite magical about this place. From rolling hills covered with row upon row of grape vines to an 11-acre lake (their reservoir) in the middle of the property. When I first got there I really didn't know where to start photographing! There was beauty everywhere I looked! This is the type of place that invites you to take a break and just feel the energy and nature that surrounds you, and that's precisely what I did first. I explored the property... walked... observed... admired the reflections of the sky and the trees on the lake... the lovely scent of fresh cut grass... the breeze... the sound of the birds and the wind... the picturesque landscape. The place was full of life with hundreds of colorful flowers planted around the house and roses everywhere you looked! The more I walked the property the more I was immersed in the sights and sounds of Italy, perhaps somewhere in Tuscany. 

You can tell that Stanley Cheng, like most entrepreneurs, never sits still for very long and is always thinking about his next project. Besides his work life, he has been developing his multiple passions and showcasing them in every corner of the property. A paved landing strip for launching his model airplanes as well as a skeet shooting pavilion, which also works as an event space with beautiful views of the lake. There’s also a five hole course incorporated into the vineyard design with paved pathways that allow golf carts to explore the property.

Besides the owner's house there is another main building  in the property called "The Barn". The Barn is where a dynamic collective of chefs (including acclaimed chefs from Michelin starred restaurants) vintners, pioneering software developers and meticulous designers gather to share meals and ideas. Just imagine the wonderful aromas that come though that door! The Barrel Room is also inside this building and it has access to a beautiful terrace with breathtaking views of the vineyards and the rolling hills of Gordon Valley down to the lake.

Here are some photos from that day. Enjoy!


Hestan Vineyards Tasting Room

Nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley, among vineyards between the Mayacamas Mountains and the Napa River, the town of Yountville has become one of the most acclaimed destinations for foodies from around the world. Award-wining wineries line Washington Street along with restaurants, cafés, shops, art galleries, and museums. Yountville is called the “gourmet mile” for good reason. It is home to more Michelin Star restaurants and chefs per square mile than anywhere else in the world. However, Michelin Star or not, the food here is amazing! It is truly a place where wine and food are celebrated as an art and Hestan Vineyards tasting room is a perfect example to showcase that.

Stanley and Helen Cheng, the owners of Hestan Vineyards (the name Hestan is a combination of the couple's first names) opened their tasting room on July 2013 and it became the 16th wine tasting room in the town of Yountville. This family-owned estate winery offers 3 wine labels created by two of Napa Valley's most talented winemakers, Thomas Rivers Brown and Jeff Gaffner, and all are inspired by the wines of Bordeaux. Besides serving wines from the winery’s limited production, they also showcase gourmet cookware from Cheng’s global company and hand-hammered copper pieces from Italy’s Ruffoni family. 

If you are passionate about wine, food, architecture and design, this place has it all! Hestan's tasting room offers a memorable wine tasting experience while bringing up modernity and elegance. Designed by the architect Farro Essalat, this unique, bright and modern space demonstrates a contemporary architectural design with beautiful glass walls and a gorgeous material combination that includes wood, steel, hand-forged copper, concrete and granite.

When I first moved to the Napa Valley, Hestan was one of the first tasting rooms I visited and I remember immediately falling in love with the wines, the space and the atmosphere. It was a true honor to capture some of this character through photography!

From more info about Hestan Vineyards, here is a link to their website, www.hestanvineyards.com.