More than just revered for its world-class wines, Napa Valley is legendary for its warm hospitality. This authentic, welcoming atmosphere always comes from the true passion for wine of the people behind the estates; no one exemplifies this more than Susan and Duane Hoff, founders of Fantesca Estate & Winery.
Susan and Duane met in college, when Susan was working for her small family business, Sound of Music. The small electronic chain quickly grew and Duane soon joined the family business, which became known as Best Buy. The duo continued to grow with the company and held executive positions at the Minneapolis-based operation. By 2004, The Hoffs were ready for a new chapter; they fell in love with a 53-acre estate in the Spring Mountain AVA of Napa, which they purchased and named Fantesca Estate & Winery.
The Hoffs realized they had something special in their Spring Mountain estate and knew they needed a highly skilled winemaker to bring out the full potential of this Napa Valley site. They tapped famed winemaker Heidi Barrett to join Fantesca in 2008. Barrett, who came to the estate after her tenure at Screaming Eagle, brings her deft touch to the estate cabernet sauvignon and the All Great Things Red Blend, as well as Fantesca’s Russian River Sonoma Chardonnay.
Fantesca continued to build its superstar team when former sommelier and wine expert DLynn Proctor joined as Winery Director in 2018. One of the stars of the wine documentary SOMM, which follows aspiring professionals on their journeys to become Master Sommeliers, Proctor was also a finalist in The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Société Mondiale du Vin “Best Sommelier in America Competition.”
On the Spring Mountain estate resides an elegant winery, tasting deck, olive trees, and a honey bee hive, where the winery produces small batches of jams and honey as gifts during the holiday season. In addition, a spectacular mountainside cave, believed to be an abandoned silver mine, creates a naturally temperature-regulated resting home for aging wines and hosting playful barrel sample tastings.
Fantesca’s 10-acre Spring Mountain vineyard is home to cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. Various blocks of different expositions and soil types give their estate wines a beautiful complexity and elegance. Originally planted in the 1860s as part of Caroline Bale’s dowry to Charles Krug, the site is that of Napa royalty.
When thinking about which wines to produce, the Hoffs knew they wanted to stay very focused on a limited selection to craft the highest-caliber wines. From the Fantesca vineyard comes two of Fantesca’s signature wines: the Spring Mountain cabernet sauvignon and the All Great Things Red Blend. In Russian River Valley, the focus turns to elegant chardonnay and King Richard’s Reserve, a compelling pinot noir.
As Fantesca continued to grow and garner accolades, the Hoffs felt strongly about creating special tasting experiences for their collectors; today, events are central to Fantesca’s ethos. Over the next few months, several unique events give visitors the opportunity to intimately explore the wines beyond the tasting room.
Wednesday, November 13 – Saturday, November 16, 2019
An extraordinary gastronomic experience, 9 Stars gives guests a memorable tour of three of the Hoff’s favorite Three Michelin-starred restaurants. The first evening, participants will enjoy an 11-course tasting menu at Sonoma’s much-buzzed about SingleThread, helmed by acclaimed chef Kyle Connaughton, followed by an evening stay and breakfast the following morning at the SingleThread Inn. That day, Susan and Duane Hoff, along with vineyard owner Pam Bacigalupi, will provide a tour of Bacigalupi Vineyard, and the subsequent tasting at Fantesca Estate and Winery will bring the vineyard experience full-circle. After, the group will settle into their accommodations at Meadowood Napa Valley. Dinner that evening will be at the revered The Restaurant at Meadowood with chef Christopher Kostow, along with sommelier-guided pairings. The next day, a private jet will escort diners to New York City, where a completely different vibe awaits. After a night’s rest at the The Pierre and a day of free time to explore the city, the event will culminate at Le Bernardin for the final, memorable Michelin-starred dinner.
Thursday, February 20 – Sunday, February 23, 2020
There’s no other celebration like Mardi Gras; for Susan and Duane Hoff, who were were honored as King and Queen of the Krewe of Mid-City in 2017, the fête holds special meaning. The Fantesca couple will host guests for four days during the beloved celebration, starting with dinner at famed restaurant R’evolution. The following evening’s Bal Masque is one of the most elegant affairs of the weekend; party-goers will dine and dance at this formal event. The celebration culminates with the big parade, where revelers will ride the Fantesca float during the procession.
Friday, May 1 – Saturday, May 2, 2020
The thrill of the races can get anyone’s heart pounding and the Hoffs bring the magic up close with their Kentucky Derby experience. The VIP suite is located right on Millionaires’ Row, offering optimal views of the action. In-suite hospitality, VIP Fast Track passes, and gift bags will complete this exciting viewing party.