Recently Cornerstone Winery founder Dr. Michael Dragutsky and his wife, Beni, spent time in central Arkansas tasting and dining with other wine lovers. Living just up the road in Memphis, Dragutsky, when not practicing medicine full time, is promoting and sharing the story of his exceptional wines and mission.
Cornerstone Cellars was established in 1991 when founders Dragutsky and Dr. David Sloas crushed their first cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain. Today Dragutsky and Sloas are joined by managing partner Craig Camp and winemaker Jeff Keene (as well as other Memphis-based partners).One shared goal, which Dragutsky speaks of with passion, is creating “compelling, exciting wines that speak clearly of the vintage and variety from which they were born,” believing “excellence is not enough.” He has overseen Cornerstone Cellars’ growth from the first year production of 300 cases to its diverse production in Napa Valley and Oregon with several varietals totaling more than 10,000 cases.
The care a winery dedicates to the production of its wines usually is an indicator of the quality in the glass. Cornerstone wines are created using “minimal, gentle wine making [techniques] relying more on nature than technology.” All of the grapes used are grown in organic or sustainably farmed vineyards. The winery offers a range fitting every wine drinker’s wallet, from “The Cornerstone,” a premier expression with only 90 cases produced (a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot), to “Rocks,” a value-priced everyday drinking wine.
- 2011 Stepping Stone Rocks White by Cornerstone, California (about $19 retail)
- 2011 Stepping Stone Rocks Red by Cornerstone, California (about $19 retail)
- 2010 Stepping Stone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by Cornerstone, California (about $45 retail)
- 2010 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $83 retail)