Paula Kornell


Growing up on her family’s Napa Valley vineyard, Paula was the girl who sold prunes, walnuts and peacock feathers in front of the tasting room at Hanns Kornell Champagne during summer months. When she wanted to spend time with her father, winemaker Hanns Kornell, she jumped on a horse and joined him for a ride or worked alongside him in the winery.

After college and a stint in Manhattan, Paula returned to Napa Valley to work with her father until the closing of the family winery in 1992. She has worked with many of the greats over her wine industry history including Joseph Phelps and Robert Mondavi. In 2013 Paula started her own business; Kornell Wine Company—a St Helena-based wine consultancy and brand management firm. Her current clients include renowned and up-and-coming wineries and appellation groups in both Napa Valley and Sonoma County. She was recently retained to oversee the operations of Parallel Napa Valley working with distinguished winemaker Philippe Melka. Other wineries in her portfolio include Diamond Mountain’s Wallis Family Estate working with winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown.

Kornell also leads the appellation group from the newly recognized American Viticultural Area of Moon Mountain along the Mayacamas Range of eastern Sonoma Valley. Deeply connected to her community, she chaired the 1992 Napa Valley Wine Auction, now known as Auction Napa Valley, and served as a co-chair in 2005. She was 2009 President of the Board of Directors for the Napa Valley Vintners, filling a position her father held 45 years earlier. Currently Paula sits on the Foundation Board for the Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa.  Paula is a founding member of the Lust for Life, a group of women vintners who have adventure trekked around the world.

Given the choice between dessert and a cheese course, she’ll go with cheese every time. Epoisses is a perennial favorite.