Napa Valley winery tasting rooms might currently be closed to the public, but that doesn’t mean each hasn’t found new ways in which to connect with members, fans, and the community. At Theorem Vineyards, owners Kisha and Jason Itkin are focusing on kindness and community. In partnership with their favorite Calistoga caterer, Chef Josh Mitchell of Heritage Catering, the duo recently sponsored ‘Free Family Friday Dinner,’ at which they provided meals to local families in need. “We hope that other wineries step-up and keep this weekly event going,” says Kisha, president of Theorem and the visionary behind the complete refurbishment of their historic vineyard estate.
When she and Jason first visited the Calistoga Diamond Mountain AVA property they would eventually own, it was love at first sight. “It may sound clichéd, but something about that spectacular property called to us,” says Kisha. “We could not necessarily articulate the feeling, but Jason and I both knew that we were meant to do something together on this special site…and to become part of this community. There is something truly magical about it and almost every day we continue to find ourselves in awe of new things we discover and things we’ve seen a hundred times. This place never stops speaking to us.”
Perched on the northern slope of Diamond Mountain at 1100 feet above sea level with sweeping views of Mount St. Helena, Theorem Vineyards (named with a wink towards Jason’s legal profession) is the result of the Itkin’s many years of restoration and renovation. The Houston based couple recognized the potential when they purchased the property in 2012. Frequent visitors to Napa in the years prior, they understood that the site’s unique location with its special blend of minimal fog, abundant sunlight, and volcanic soils would yield greatness in the vineyard and their finished wines. Their efforts included the rescue and restoration of several historically significant buildings (including a one-room schoolhouse) dating to the mid-1800s, the building of a new cellar, and the preservation and replanting of the vineyard which had suffered from neglect. With the help of consulting winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown and Vineyard Manager Josh Clark, they slowly coaxed the vineyard back to greatness. Their flagship Voir Dire (another wink to Jason’s vocation) and Hawk’s Prey Diamond Mountain Estate Cabernets are a delicious testimony to their efforts.
“Our biggest challenges have yielded the biggest rewards,” says Kisha, whose scientific background lends itself well to her role at Theorem. “We are a premium boutique winery, but we are also a small, family-run business. Our team does it all from start to finish, whether designing the labels or packing wine for shipment, we have our hands in everything. Our focus is always on producing the best wines and most unique experiences for our supporters. We want to keep pushing the envelope as to what a Napa Valley winery can become. Our vineyards have so many unique micro-climates that it gives us the freedom to create truly individual, high-end wines. We are not interested in trying to conform to any wine industry norm; we only want to showcase the best characteristics of what we can grow and produce. And when you see someone have that ‘a-ha’ moment when they first visit the winery and taste the wines, it is the best reward a winery owner can have.”
Theorem currently produces approximately 1,100 cases with goals to increase that number. Their wines are mostly shared with their mailing list and those who visit the stylish, by-appointment-only Diamond Mountain tasting salon where visitors can choose from a range of touring and tasting options including a customized VIP wine pairing picnic lunch prepared by Chef Mitchell, caterer for the Itkins’ ‘Free Family Friday Dinner.’ Theorem wines can also be found on the menus at select restaurants such as Napa’s Press, Sol Bar, Acacia House, and The French Laundry, Forestville’s The Farmhouse Inn, and San Francisco’s Niku Steakhouse and Luce.
“Our motivation in founding Theorem goes beyond a love of wine,” says Kisha. “We fell in love with the land and this community and we are so happy to be able to give back. Over time, we hope our children will be imbued with our same sense of wonder — that they too find as strong a connection to this land and community as we have.”