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Cornerstone Cellars

our winemakers

Cornerstone is excited to have Charles and Kari putting their passions into all of our wines. They’ve built a reputation for themsleves as truly accomplished winemakers and we’re thrilled to have their creativity and craftsmanship on our team.


charles thomas

For over 30 years, Charles Thomas has been a dynamic force in winemaking in Napa Valley. Driven by his involvement and passion for great vineyards, his relentless pursuit of excellence has fostered innovative viticultural and winemaking practices.

Charles was responsible for the Robert Mondavi Reserve and Napa Valley wines from the 1980's to 1994. The first twelve vintages of Opus One were produced under his care. He redefined Kendall-Jackson's Cardinale, and launched Lokoya and Verite. For five years, he produced exceptional wines at Rudd Oakville and Edge Hill.

Most recently, he directed the modernization of the vineyards at Quintessa, creating wines of unprecedented quality from the estate.

"Charles Thomas...one of California's best winemakers."
—James Laube, Wine Spectator

"Charles Thomas, an articulate, brilliant man... A star winemaker."
—Robert Parker

KARI AURINGER

Kari Auringer has been creating outstanding wines for over 14 years, including working on the team to create many of Napa's Cult Cabs such as the 100-point Scarecrow, Lindstrom, Hollywood and Vine and Keever.

When Kari became winemaker for Cornerstone Cellars she was, in fact, coming home as, for most of the vintages of the 2000s, Kari was assistant winemaker to Celia Welch, who made the wines of Cornerstone Cellars from 2000 through 2007. Kari's fingerprint is already on almost a decade of Cornerstone Cellars wines. Over the last decade she has contributed to the fame of some of the Napa Valley's most luminous names including Scarecrow, Lindstrom, Keever, Kelly Fleming and Corra and has been singled out as a rising star in Napa Valley winemaking. Kari believes her success is a combination of dedication, hard work, talent and working with great people. Kari puts it best when she says, "I am thrilled to be part of the team at Cornerstone Cellars. We are committed to producing great wines from great vineyards, and making the kind of wines that we want to drink, wines that are a reflection of the vineyard, the vintage and the variety."

Kari describes herself as a hands-on winemaker and gladly immerses herself in all aspects of the winemaking process from vineyard to bottle. Her style is one that embraces routinely rolling up her sleeves and staying intimately involved with every step of the intricate process, from vineyard sourcing and hands-on berry sorting through the countless details of winemaking, sensory analysis and the infinitely nuanced art and science of blending. If you don't find her tasting barrel samples in the winery, she is probably out kicking the dirt in a vineyard.