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Memento Mori Appoints Lauren Van Ness as Director of Sales


Boutique Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon specialist expands its talented team 

NAPA, Calif. (June 14, 2021) — Acclaimed Napa Valley winery Memento Mori today announced a new addition to its team with the appointment of Lauren Van Ness as Director of Sales. Known for its 100-point Cabernet Sauvignon flagship blend of some of Napa Valley’s most hallowed vineyard sites, Memento Mori’s latest hire reflects the boutique winery’s recent string of successes and subsequent demand for its wines.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lauren to the team,” said Memento Mori founder, Hayes Drumwright.  “Her impressive hospitality background and serious wine chops make her especially equipped to curate the memorable experiences we value at Memento Mori. We can’t imagine a better advocate for our wines.”

Van Ness joins Memento Mori on the heels of the label’s triumphant showing at last weekend’s Premiere Napa Valley, where its top-selling auction lot was one of just two that sold for over $1,000 per bottle.

As Memento Mori’s first Director of Sales, Van Ness brings a great deal of experience to her role. Most recently the General Manager for ACME Fine Wines in St. Helena, she first fell in love with Memento Mori’s wines during her nearly nine-year tenure at The French Laundry.

As Maître D’ and Director of Private Events for the world class Napa Valley restaurant, Memento Mori always topped her recommendation list for guests looking to discover an exclusive bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon crafted from heritage vineyards sites with an extra dash of underground industry buzz around it.

“I was initially attracted to Memento Mori’s striking labels, but then I learned about the heritage vineyards, talented winemaker, and inspiring backstory behind each bottle,” Van Ness said. “It resonated with what initially attracted me to wine – the relationships and memories wine can create, and later evoke. I couldn’t be more excited to join this incredible team.”

A Colorado native, Van Ness discovered her love of food and wine while competing as a member of the United States Alpine National Ski Team, traveling to Chile, New Zealand, Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Austria for competitions. Immersing herself in these remarkable settings with their various cultures, she became especially charmed by restaurants, the dedicated individuals that operated them and the lasting memories she took along with her following the best meals. After retiring from skiing, she earned her BA in Communications at The University of Colorado in Boulder. She then dove headfirst into the hospitality industry and never looked back.

Along with General Manager Genevieve Echavarrie, Van Ness will lend her hospitality expertise to further curate the guest experience at Memento Mori’s tasting salon in downtown Napa’s Tannery Bend district.

About Memento Mori

Memento Mori was founded by Hayes Drumwright, Adriel Lares and Adam Craun, three childhood friends who have together overcome serious health scares, family tragedy and times of trial with their unyielding zest for life and making every moment count to its fullest. A shared love of wine is a natural consequence of that passion, which inspired Memento Mori. An artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death, they interpret Memento Mori as “Remember to Live” – an ethos that’s palpable in every bottle. While Memento Mori wines capture the essence of the famed single-vineyard sites from which they are sourced – Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, Beckstoffer Las Piedras, Vine Hill Ranch, Weitz Vineyard, and Oakville Ranch – the winery’s flagship crown jewel is its Napa Valley designate blend. Superstar 100-point winemaker Sam Kaplan translates each vineyard site into balanced, terroir-driven wines that tell the story of Napa Valley, culminating in wines of intense, concentrated flavor and aromatics that reflect craftsmanship above all else.

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