Friday, December 5, 2014



The history of Aril wines is a love story. A love story about a beautiful little vineyard perched above the Napa Valley. And a love story about a wine that changed their lives.

Joanne and Harmon met in Telluride, Colorado, where he was running a popular restaurant, and she was heavily involved in the Telluride Foundation. They began to talk of food and wine, and then of many other things. What started as a romance grew into a strong partnership and a dream. Harmon had run a winery in Napa, and Joanne had always loved the classic Syrahs of the Rhone Valley and Provence…wines enjoyed by connoisseurs and French Kings.

The dream grew into reality via a small property in the hills above the Napa Valley with just a tiny block of the finest Syrah vines. As a symbol for the winery, Joanne selected the pomegranate tree that they planted there in the garden. Aril is the deeply red cover of the seeds of the pomegranate, a color that Joanne finds in the heart of their Syrahs.

The wines are not products, but journeys from the vine to the bottle, and each journey is a unique experience to be enjoyed with friends and loved ones. Aril is our passion, and we are pleased to share it with the world.

Eric Stiefeling is the Managing Director for Aril wines. Born in New York City, he developed a love for wine after moving to California in the mid-1980s. He is a past president of the Golden Gate Wine Society, and the wine director for the Pine Creek Sporting Club in Okeechobee, Florida. Making frequent trips to Napa Valley, Eric soon became a fixture at commercial wine tastings.

Prior to his pursuits in the wine industry, Eric worked in the securities industry at Chapdelaine and Company, a municipal bond brokerage firm in New York, before joining Rauscher, Pierce, Refsnes Inc. in San Francisco. At the age of 26, Eric’s entrepreneurial spirit gave him his first taste of the food and drink world when he purchased The Attic. He turned that small restaurant in New York into a thriving business.

In addition to his work at Aril, Eric remains active in the Napa Valley’s wine culture. He served as Chairman of the Beverage Committee for Auction Napa Valley in 2010 and co-chaired the organization’s Barrel Auction for Auction in 2014.



Our focus is crafting small production vineyard designate wines from distinctive growing sites.
As custodians of the earth, we respect Mother Nature and farm our estate vineyards sustainably to produce wines that reflect a sense of place. The idea is that when visitors walk among our vines they can feel the fog, catch the scent of the soil, touch the tiny berries and taste in the finished wine a connection with these elements.

Meticulous vineyard management followed by minimally-invasive winemaking techniques allows us to produce wines that express their vineyard origins with finesse, complexity and authenticity. Paul Hobbs wines are fermented with native yeasts, aged in French oak, and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Megan Baccitich, director of winemaking at Paul Hobbs Winery and CrossBarn Winery, works alongside renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs to produce chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon from some of Napa and Sonoma’s most esteemed vineyards.

Growing up in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, Megan was surrounded by wine from a young age. A lifelong lover of science and nature, she planned to study biology in college until a part-time high school job at a wine-focused restaurant inspired her to pursue winemaking. Megan went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science, Enology degree from Fresno State University. She interned at Ferrari-Carano where she completed her first vintage, followed by a second internship in Dry Creek Valley in 2002. After completing her internships, Megan accepted a full-time position as assistant winemaker at Taft Street.

In 2006, Megan joined Paul Hobbs Winery as assistant winemaker. Megan quickly rose from assistant winemaker to winemaker and in 2013 she was named director of winemaking for both Paul Hobbs Winery and CrossBarn Winery. Megan works alongside Paul Hobbs to ensure a seamless metamorphosis from vineyard to bottle, making wines that showcase the vineyard site and are allowed to form themselves in the winery.

“Paul’s farmer mentality has shaped my winemaking style and the entire company culture,” says Megan. “We take a back-to-the land approach and we view great sites with a genuine child-like enthusiasm and curiosity. This passion keeps my job interesting.”

Megan lives on a 100-acre vineyard estate in the Russian River Valley with her partner Ben, their dog, Rio and three barn cats. In her free time, she spends her time outdoors, snowboarding and hiking.


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