Lake County, CA – When brothers-in-law Ali Namdar and Kambiz Safinya purchased the Sonatina Vineyard, hidden away in a corner of Lake County in Northern California, they did so specifically because this unique property would produce exceptional grapes. When they chose highly respected Vineyard Manager David Weiss, California native and the owner of Bella Vista Farming Company, they did so because of his intense attention to detail and respect for the vines and the land. And when they needed a winemaker to make their wine they chose Denis Malbec, former winemaker at the renowned Château Latour in Bordeaux, and his wife and winemaking partner, May-Britt. They knew that they had created a multinational, multicultural team that would take their Lake County wine to a new level of elegance and sophistication.
“When we purchased the vineyard we felt that we had found a hidden treasure, a pearl in the sand so to speak, and we are proud of what it has become,” Namdar explains.
Vineyard Manager David Weiss, owner of Bella Vista Farming Company and a graduate of Stanford University with an engineering degree, owns vineyards as well as pear orchards, and has served as director on several association boards, including the Lake County Winegrape Commission (LCWC) and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG). Weiss states, “Our farming philosophy at Bella Vista has always emphasized a sustainable approach to cultural practices. Working with the Xurus team has been a genuine pleasure because everyone is dedicated to maintaining the highest level of quality with the least amount of interference in the natural process.”
Proprietors, and Persian businessmen, Ali Namdar and Kambiz Safinya are brothers-in-law. They purchased and developed the Sonatina Vineyard in 1998 as an extension of their combined love of music, art and wine. The creation of a wine brand that would reflect those passions was inevitable.
“Winemaking is one of the world’s oldest art forms,” says Namdar. “The finest winemakers have a gentle hand, like a world-class musician or a master artist, and they respect the fruit and the characteristics that come from the vineyard’s terroir.” Safinya adds, “The Malbecs embody that philosophy, making them the perfect fit for our team. They have the expertise of the finest French winemaking traditions and practices, as well as the understanding that viticulture and winemaking are different in California. Together, they and David Weiss are the heart of this project.”
The story behind the Xurus Name and Label is inspired by the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, where the rooster, or xurus (pronounced ‘khoo-roos’), was the companion of the guardian angel whose role was to protect humankind from the dangers of night. The xurus’ crowing signaled the transition from the evil of darkness to the goodness of daylight, and as early as 3000 BCE dawn was celebrated by Zoroastrians with a morning cup of wine poured from a rooster-shaped pitcher.
Namdar says, “When the time came to select a name for our brand we considered close to one hundred ideas in four or five languages. The name needed to honor the philosophies of all involved, as well as the long tradition of winemaking and wine consumption in ancient cultures.” Once Xurus was chosen the label was created to celebrate the centuries of elegance, art, culture and joie de vivre associated with an appreciation for wine. The concept of the rooster was incorporated into the top of the elaborately drawn border as two intertwined roosters, signifying the close relationship and collaboration of the brothers-in-law.