When Ashes & Diamonds first came onto the local wine scene in late 2017, its singular modern architecture and rabble-rousing programming disrupted Napa's lineage of stodgy wineries, where your baby-boomer parents might feel at home drinking a big cabernet in a dated, amusement-park-like setting.
Such an eye for nonconformity may have been forged during proprietor Kashy Khaledi's coming-to-America era—his family immigrated from Iran at a particularly impressionable time during Khaledi's youth and, as a result, the now-40-something scion of the biz (his father is the founder of the well-respected Napa mainstay Darioush Winery, located less than 10 minutes away by car) remains a die-hard fan of what his adopted hometown of Los Angeles offered—namely, punk music, skateboarding, and baseball.
Through the gaze of all that is perpetually cool in California, Khaledi has been able to bring a fresh (slangfully speaking) winery experience to the valley, making Gen Xers and Millennials feel more comfortable with the culture of wine, a historically intimidating potable.
Khaledi tapped L.A.'s mistress of midcentury modern style, Barbara Bestor, to design a campus that's an impossibly Instagramable futuristic throwback (if you can imagine such an architectural oxymoron)—all straight lines and round portholes.
Winemakers Steve Mathiasson and Diana Snowden Seysses are taking a stripped-down approach to the wine, using natural yeast and applying minimal intervention, trusting in the process—an M.O. for life that seems to resonate with Napa's new generation of oenophiles.
For the sixth installment of 7x7's "People Will Talk" podcast, Khaledi sat down with us to chat about all the ripples he's set into motion to break up the "Napathy," with some pop-culture name-dropping—as only a former Capitol Records and MTV executive could effortlessly accomplish—thrown in for good measure.
Tune into the podcast on iTunes.