Axios Winery - Kalaris
Napa Valley AVA
Boutique wineries such as Kalaris Wines are a necessity in the world of competitive wine.
The personable owner of Kalaris Wines, Gus Kalaris, took a rather unusual route when founding his first Napa Valley winery, which he called Axios.
Kalaris is no newcomer to the wine industry. The Washington, D.C. native founded Constantine Wines back in 1986 and successfully guided the distribution company into one of the country’s premiere resellers. Constantine Wines’ current portfolio lists many of the more important producers of wine around the globe.
So, why enter the incredibly competitive world of winemaking in California’s Napa Valley?
“I guess you would have to start when I saw a young child,” Kalaris recounted. “Coming from a Greek family, I was always around wine and was given small sips during meals. I had a real love for wine and our Greek culture encompassed that feeling. I also dreamed of becoming involved with a Napa Valley winery at some level.”
Kalaris, now 61, confirmed that by the age of 10 or 11, he found a way of increasing his enjoyment of the great grape. “My father was an ordained Greek minister and was always given wine by his parishioners and companies he worked with. I managed to sideswipe some of the bottles and greatly increased by enjoyment of wine.”
The success of his distribution business led to Kalaris’ entry into the wine industry.
“When I finally had the money to afford it, I thought it natural to try and own a winery that could produce world-class wines,” he recalled. “I finally found a perfect spot near Calistoga that fit my needs and I located a winemaker whose ideas and goals were similar to mine.”
To be sure, the arrangement with winemaker Bob Egelhoff has worked to perfection with a host of high scores and multiple awards for the association.
The first Axios release came in 1999 when the company produced a minuscule 250 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon.
“We decided to make Axios a one-varietal brand, Cabernet Sauvignon, and make it as fine as possible,” continued Kalaris. “We utilized several grape sources and Bob worked his magic with the fruit.”
What followed is worthy of a Hollywood script. Axios Cabernet Sauvignon garnered a number of high-90 scores from leading industry periodicals and the rest is history.
The ongoing success of Axios Wines has spawned several other labels including the ‘Kalaris’ label that is our Platinum selection for this month. All labels are served by winemaker Bob Egelhoff, but have different roles in Gus Kalaris’ extensive portfolio.
“Why mess with success?” he pointed out. “The only thing that has changed since the start is the fact that we now use more of the Atlas Peak fruit for our final blends. The grapes are incredibly consistent and the resultant wines are always of world-class caliber.”
“Our operation is really quite simple,” he continued. “We have contracts with vineyard owners who farm to our specifications. Bob oversees the farming and controls the yields. During the winemaking process, we utilize around 75% new French oak and produce a wine that is well-balanced but not super flashy. The wine will withstand the test of time like many of its Bordeaux chateaux cousins.”
Gus Kalaris’ Cabernet Sauvignons have found their way to the tables of the last three administrations at the White House. “You could say it’s a non-partisan wine,” jested Kalaris. “The important thing is that the While House staff knows and enjoys our wines. It is an honor and we are quite proud they have seen fit to include us on a number of occasions.”
Gus Kalaris has realized his dream as a youth of owning a top Napa Valley winery. His winery umbrella includes a number of small entities such as ‘Kalaris Wines.’ Each comes complete with a tribute to his Greek heritage.
Boutique wineries such as Kalaris Wines are a necessity in the world of competitive wine. They offer the consuming public an opportunity to sample small production wines that have specific goals and tastes. This month’s selection, the Kalaris 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon,, Napa Valley, is a perfect example of an award-winning wine destined for greatness. It is emblematic of the excellence expected from California’s premier source for the varietal.
Hats off to Kalaris Wines, Gus Kalaris and Bob Egelhoff, for a job well done. You can enjoy Kalaris wines along with our other finest wines in our Platinum Wine of the Month club.
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members
I am honored for our 2013 Cabernet to be enjoyed by distinguished Platinum Wine Club members. I am certain this wine, whose origin comes from some of the same vineyards as our Axios, will thrill your palate.
2013 was an exceptional vintage at Axios and Kalaris Family Vineyards. This inky, purple wine is supported by silky, well-integrated tannins providing the hallmark Kalaris exceptional balance. This wine is fruit-forward and opulent, with a rich, velvety mouthfeel and a finish that seductively lingers long after the final sip.