In 1980, Robert Kamen, the screenwriter of such films as Taps, The Karate Kid series, The Fifth Element, A Walk in the Clouds, The Transporter series and Taken, purchased 280 acres of the southwestern slopes of the Mayacamas Range in Sonoma County. This remote mountainous property was rugged, overgrown and extremely rocky: virgin territory with no roads or power. It was isolated, wild, beautiful and full of potential. From the beginning, Robert had a clear concept of what he intended for his property. First and foremost was the desire to plant the highest quality Cabernet Sauvignon.
Viticulturist Phil Coturri was brought into the project to develop and oversee the master plan. Robert and Phil shared the philosophy of preserving the wildness of the place with as little intervention as possible. This led to the commitment to organic farming, a rarity in those days. The result? Soils at Kamen Estate vineyards have never been exposed to chemical fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides.
Initially, Kamen fruit was sold to premium Sonoma wineries. In 1996, a devastating fire tore through the property destroying half of the vines along with Robert’s home. Where others would see this as a tremendous setback, Robert’s credo, “Everything happens for a reason”, held sway. The fire forced him to focus not on what had been lost, but on what could be gained. A major replanting began as soon as the ground cooled. Cutting edge viticultural techniques were employed, new selections of Cabernet clones were chosen and different rootstocks were used. The first release of Kamen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was in 1999.
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