ó When Craig and Kathryn Hall decided to write a book
about their winemaking journey, the couple agreed that
every word, every passage had to be blessed by both of
the 66-year-old Dallas real estate developer, tends to
the former ambassador to Austria who grew up with
winemaking in her blood, had to remind him that they
really did want people to read, and savor, their
business love story.
a result, "A Perfect Score," released this
month in Dallas, is much shorter than it could have
unabridged version had a lot of Craig-isms with Kathy
strikes," he says.
were telling stories that needed to be told in a
different way," she says.
better not told at all," he concludes.
198 pages, the couple ó no ghost writers here ó
traces how theyíve gone from newly rooted vintners 20
years ago to proprietors of Hall Wines and Walt Wines,
which have earned two perfect scores from Robert Parkerís
us, wine is so much more than whatís in the
glass," Kathryn says, sitting in the conference
room of the Hall Group in the Dallas Arts District.
"Itís about this love of a winemaking area, this
love of the experience and memories that you create.
Thatís been absolutely essential to grow our brand
over a 20-year period. We thought, ĎWe can tell this
story. The book is a new window.í"
got "a respectable six-figures-plus" from the
publisher, Hachette Book Group. It took a year and a
half to write and about a year to get through the
thought the bookís title was slightly ostentatious.
Kathryn and their book agent, Jan Miller, disagreed.
was outvoted," he says. "We toned it down with
the subtitle: The Art, Soul and Business of a
an interview, the Halls banter good naturedly with a
slightly competitive bent. There are no small
personalities here. But that is also the tie that binds.
balance each other," Craig says. "We are
totally different in our styles. And it does cause
stress and isnít 100 percent smooth. But stepping back
a bit, this made (the book) better."
book is about our experience: my love of wine and the
business. Craigís love of me. Heís learned to love
wine and love the business," she says.
book got to a point where it had a life of its
own," Craig says. "It became part memoir, part
cathartic and emotional. It was like putting a ribbon
around an important gift box."
sloshes some of the 2012 Hall Coeur cabernet sauvignon,
which has a 94-point rating, as he pours samples.
reminds Kathryn of a tale thatís not in the book about
the first time she let Craig handle wine at a tasting.
And it wasnít just any tasting.
1997, Kathryn was serving Hall wine at a benefit at the
United Nations in New York to ban land mines. She left
him manning the bottle for less than five minutes, only
to return to a table soaked in red and Craigís blue
dress shirt looking like tie dye.
had trouble getting the cork out of the bottle, and it
went boom like this," Craig says, demonstrating his
struggle. "I was a little freaked out. There were
heads of state whoíd come there to drink our
canít take him anywhere," she says.
going to think about a story like this to tell about
you," he says to Kathryn. After looking at each
other knowingly, they decide to reveal a mistake in the
doesnít have a middle name, but Kathryn gave him one
years back: Risk.
plans to legally change his name and use Craig R. Hall
to differentiate himself from the 25-plus other Craig
Halls on Twitter.
it wasnít until she was reading the passage about that
for their audio version that she discovered the book
says her middle name for him is Leverage. Itís kinda
like risk but not really. Kathryn has no idea how that
favorite recollection from their journey makes her tear
family owned a vineyard in Mendocino County, Calif.,
north of Napa, that she ran for 10 years while it was
being held in a trust after her parentsí death. When
the trust dissolved, the vineyard unexpectedly went to
was very, very sad," she says. "So Craig said,
ĎItís going to be fine. We will find a vineyard, but
itís going to be ours. And itís going to be better
than ever.í That was very moving for me. It still is.
It was life-changing. Here is Craig, who never liked
wine, and heís willing to make a commitment thatís
crazy for him."
says he watched her reading that passage from the sound
studio and saw the tears. "That made me feel pretty
Halls now own just under 4,000 acres, but only about 600
are planted with vines. The rest are pretty much left to
nature. The wine is made from a 50-50 split of their
grapes and those they buy from 130 other vineyards.
in the 4,000 is 2,300 acres zoned for agriculture that
the Halls bought in 2005. Some locals are up in arms now
that the Halls have shown intentions to build a winery
on part of it. The controversy has the couple
and I think of ourselves as environmentalists. Our Texas
friends think of us as crazy, tree-hugging, liberal
Democrats," he says.
totally OK with that moniker, by the way," she
launches into why the protesters are completely off
rolls her eyes. "This is a part that I cut in the
book. Who wants to sit through this long story?"
continues with his story unabridged.