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Walnut Creek Magazine

From Dilapidated to Dazzling: The Ackerman Heritage House in Downtown Napa

Apr 03, 2018 10:36AM ● By Fran Miller

BY FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER

Napa Valley vintner Lauren Ackerman (pictured) never intended to enter the home restoration game. But after being inexplicably drawn several years ago to a dilapidated historic home in downtown Napa, the Ackerman Family Vineyards proprietress not only entered the game, she became a champion. The prize? A painstakingly restored, beautifully furnished, and modernly equipped Queen Anne Victorian that she shares with the public via a variety of events including chef-led wine lunches and dinners, wine tastings, afternoon tea, and wedding ceremonies and receptions. Her remodel success story has become everyone’s victory.

Over a five-year period, Ackerman repaired, refurbished, and reimagined what is now called The Ackerman Heritage House at 608 Randolph St. in downtown Napa. Originally built in 1888, the home suffered from severe neglect and deferred maintenance, but through the ramshackle disrepair, Ackerman was able to see its potential. In addition to overseeing the restoration of stained glass windows, original hardware, wood doors, floors, and crown moldings, Ackerman authentically furnished and decorated the home by sourcing its Victorian era contents from antique stores around the world and via e-Bay. (In order to fully understand the time period and its social and material proclivities, Ackerman immersed herself in a six-week Oxford University course on the era.) Each art piece and antique features a unique story, from the silver flatware and the antique china place settings, to the 1880s era books that chronicle world discoveries and historic times. 

A fully equipped, modern kitchen makes the historic home accessible for immersive food, wine and private event experiences. The property also includes the Ackerman Family Vineyards tasting room - The Aviary - in a restored carriage house in the home’s garden space. The public is invited to tour the home via a number of exceptional, by-appointment-only experiences, including:            

Afternoon Tea: As the only true and authentic afternoon tea in downtown Napa, this traditional English tea service includes savory tea sandwiches, pastries and cakes created by a former French Laundry trained pastry chef. One Sunday of each month, or by private bookings. $55 per person plus tax. Tickets available via Cellar Pass: https://www.cellarpass.com/ackerman-family-vineyards-profile, or by email: wineconcierge@ackermanfamilyvineyards.com.

Food & Wine Pairing Lunch with Chef Kelly MacDonald: Chef Kelly, former executive chef for the Napa Valley Wine Train, presents a three course, locally sourced, seasonal meal paired with Ackerman Family Vineyards and Lloyd Cellars wines in the home’s gourmet kitchen where guests can watch him at work. $195.00 per person; $170.00 for Club Members, plus tax and gratuity.

The Royal Experience: Chef Kelly customizes an exclusive dining experience including a tasting in the chef’s kitchen and a lavish 10-course seasonally focused meal paired with Ackerman Family Vineyards and Lloyd Cellars wines. $695 per person, plus tax and gratuity, for up to 14 guests.

Wine Tasting: Ackerman Family Vineyards and Winemaker Rob Lloyd’s Lloyd Cellars wines can be sampled at the Ackerman Heritage House’s refurbished carriage house, The Aviary. Tastings feature Ackerman Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignons from their Certified Organic vineyard in Napa Valley’s Coombsville appellation and Lloyd Cellars Carneros Chardonnay and Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. $65 per person.

Ackerman Family Vineyards Current Release Tasting: Experience the discerning terroir of the Coombsville appellation with Ackerman Family Vineyards limited production wines from their certified organic vineyard. $75 per person.

Ackerman Family Vineyards Library Vertical Tasting: Designed for serious wine enthusiasts, this unique opportunity includes several library vintages from Ackerman Family Vineyards dating back to the iconic 2005 vintage. $95 per person.

Lloyd Cellars Collection: Experience Lloyd Cellars Chardonnay and Pinot Noir selections from Los Carneros and the Santa Rita Hills. $55 per person. 

Tastings at The Aviary at Ackerman Heritage House are by appointment only, Monday through Sunday from 10:00am - 4:00pm and are 60 to 90 minutes long. 

For more information about wine tastings and the culinary events listed above, visit: www.ackermanfamilyvineyards.com or http://www.ackermanheritagehouse.com/aviary or call (855)238-9463.