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Winemaker profile: Sam Kaplan

From helping his father with his small vineyard in Oklahoma to being consultant and co-owner of multiple wineries across California, Sam Kaplan’s ‘valiant life’ in Napa wine’s top tier has grown to the point that now he’s ready to start giving back.

Vida Valiente is much more than just another winery for Napa winemaker Sam Kaplan. Over the past 20 years, Kaplan has become the shepherd of a growing number of blue-chip Napa wineries, including Arkenstone, Memento Mori and Vangone.

His newest project is a joint philanthropic venture with his wife Nancy, along with Memento Mori co-owner Hayes Drumwright and his wife Susana Cueva Drumwright.

Scroll down to see Jonathan Cristaldi’s recommendations of 16 Sam Kaplan wines to try

Both the Kaplans and Drumwrights are aware that part of their individual successes can be attributed to generous mentors – people who gave them an inch, as well as the resources, to turn it into a mile. Which is why the spotlight at Vida Valiente (Spanish for ‘valiant/brave life’) is on charitable giving.

Launched in conjunction with California’s Stanford University, the Vida Valiente Foundation provides money and mentoring to new university scholars who don’t have the privileges of an affluent family or support circle.

Cristaldi’s pick: 16 Sam Kaplan wines to try

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