Ron and Susan Krausz
Raised in Northern California and Minnesota, respectively, both Ron and Susan Krausz had their feet firmly planted in California soil in 1988 when they purchased the Howell Mountain property that was to become Arkenstone.
After living and working in Berkeley and the Northern California peninsula, Ron and Susan felt drawn to St. Helena, with its tightly knit community and agricultural roots. Visits to the area and the fortuitous availability of the Howell Mountain property led them to the purchase that would change their lives. With a young family in tow, they moved to the Valley and carried on with their careers, as ideas for the potential of the property began to build in their minds.
Following the urging of a good friend steeped in the wine business, Ron and Susan had the property evaluated in the early 1990s by an internationally respected vineyard consultant from New Zealand. When the consultant raved about the potential for growing very high-quality grapes, and strongly suggested planting vineyard, Ron and Susan, with the knowledge that this would require a long-term commitment and a radical change in their lives, had to take a step back and reevaluate. Further exploration of other Howell Mountain wineries (and having heartily enjoyed their Howell Mountain neighbors stunning wines over the years) assured them that the investment, while by necessity needing to unfold slowly, would be well worthwhile. Aside from some minor (well maybe sometimes major) stresses throughout the project, they have never regretted that decision.
With guidance from friends and experts, including early vineyard consultation, Ron and Susan, along with an incredibly dedicated team, spent the next 20 plus years, with great thought and care, planning what is now Arkenstone Estate Winery. With the completion of the vineyards, the impressive underground winery caves and the tasting room looking out over the vineyards, the Krausz family as well as the entire Arkenstone team is daily seeing the fruits of their labor in bloom. The culmination of their work reflects the love of family and friends, deep respect for the land and a lifelong enjoyment of wine.
Jake’s first role at Arkenstone was as a teenager, pulling rocks and planting vines in the steep vineyards on his family’s Howell Mountain Estate. Exposed to viticulture and viniculture from that young age, he has since honed his palate and knowledge of wine from around the world. Today Jake’s role includes being the national brand ambassador for Arkenstone, and enjoys traveling the country to share his family’s wines.
Before re-joining Arkenstone’s team in an official capacity, Jake’s first career was in the music industry, where he spent several years performing, producing and recording. Inspired by his love of wine, he decided to return to Napa Valley and join the family business in 2010. After passing the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Certified Sommelier exam, he spent a year as part of the vinification team, participating in every aspect of wine production from grape to bottle. He worked his first full harvest with winemaker Sam Kaplan in the fall of 2010. In the years since, he has taken on all brand ambassador responsibilities for the winery and transitioned into his current role as Estate Director.
As a small, family-owned winery, everyone at Arkenstone wears many hats, and you are just as likely to find Jake in the vineyard tasting grapes, hosting guests at the Estate, or on a visit across the country sharing Arkenstone’s unique wines.