Fantesca Estate & Winery

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Fantesca Estate & Winery
Fantesca Logo.png
LocationNapa County, California
Key people
  • Susan Schulze Hoff (co-founder)
  • Duane Hoff (co-founder)
  • DLynn Proctor (director)

Fantesca Estate & Winery is a boutique winery in the Spring Mountain District AVA of Napa Valley. The proprietors, Susan Schulze Hoff and Duane Hoff, are former executives of Best Buy Company.[1] Since April 2008, Heidi Barrett has been the estate's winemaker.[2]


Fantesca's property was originally the dowry of Caroline Bale, when she married Charles Krug in 1860. Even then, it was recognized as prime mountain vineyard land. A Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard made by Hannah Weinberger won one of the first awards for a wine from the Napa Valley in 1889.[3]

Susan Schulze Hoff is the daughter of Best Buy Chairman and Founder Richard Schulze. She began working in the family business at the age of 18 and, after 23 years, retired from the post of Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer in 2006.[4] Duane Hoff began as a department manager at Best Buy and held the post of Business Development before his retirement. In February 2004, the Hoffs purchased the estate and cave, which had been developed by Robert Yeakey. At the time of purchase there was an inventory of 2002 vintage wine in barrel, which the Hoffs hastily finished and branded for a 2005 release.[5]

In 2018, Sommelier DLynn Proctor, who is known for an American documentary film SOMM: Into the Bottle was appointed as Director at Fantesca Estate.[6]

Name Origins[edit]

The Fantesca name comes from the female character La Fantesca (who was part of an Italian comedy group, in theater performances of Commedia dell'arte). She was both the lover and equal companion of the character Harlequin and could always be counted on to charm her audiences.[7][8]

Grape Varieties[edit]

From a 53-acre (21 ha) property, the 8.6-acre (3.5 ha) vineyard is cultivated with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.[5]

Featured Wines[edit]

Fantesca features not only the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, but a Chardonnay and a red blend called All Great Things (made by Heidi Barrett). It also features a Pinot Noir, made by winemaker Tony Arcudi.

Each vintage of the blend All Great Things has a different photograph with a different theme:

  • "Honor" for 2011[9]
  • "Duty" for 2012[10]
  • "Mercy" for 2013[11]
  • "Hope" for 2014[12]

Mardi Gras[edit]

Susan and Duane Hoff have taken part in and been celebrating Mardi Gras since 2001, with the Krewe of Mid-City- originally at the encouragement of friends.[13][14] In 2017, just in time for the Hoff's 29th wedding anniversary, they were named Queen and King of the Krewe of Mid-City.[15][16]


  1. ^ Gabler, Ellen (March 30, 2006). "Best Buy heir quits corporate post to be a winemaker". Minneapolis / St. Paul Bisiness Journal.
  2. ^ Lander, Jess. "Heidi Barrett of Calistoga: Napa Valley's queen of cabernet". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  3. ^ Gilbert, Ph.D., John (April 2016). "Facts and Figures Gathered in Our On-going Research on California Women Winemakers". Santa Clara University.
  4. ^ "Best Buy heir quits corporate post to be a winemaker". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b Kaiser, Emily, The Minnesota Daily (2007-04-30). "Couple balances home life and winery". Archived from the original on 2007-09-11.
  6. ^ "Proctor Joins Fantesca Estate & Winery as Director | The Beverage Journal". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Fantesca Estate & Winery – A Close Escape to Tranquility & World Class Winemaking". The Wine Ho - Napa Food & Wine Blog. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Characters from Commedia dell'Arte: Colombina". Atelier Marega. 2014-12-08. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  9. ^ "Honor" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Duty" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Mercy" (PDF).
  12. ^ "Hope" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Mardi Gras - Fantesca Estate & Winery". Fantesca Estate & Winery. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  14. ^ Staff, "Mid-City royalty calls New Orleans third home". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  15. ^ Stockwell, Tom. "St. Helenans Duane and Susan Hoff to be named King & Queen at Mardi Gras". Napa Valley Register. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  16. ^ "A Day in the Life of Mardi Gras Queen Susan Hoff of Fantesca Winery". Haute Living. 2017-03-08. Retrieved 2018-03-06.

External links[edit]