INTRIGUING VINTNER

Napa Valley vintner and community leader Lauren Ackerman never intended to enter the home restoration game. The creator of award- winning Ackerman Family Vineyards wines and recipient of the 2020 North Bay Women in Business Award became inexplicably drawn several  years ago to a dilapidated historic home in downtown Napa. While simultaneously maintaining a non-profit career (she has served  on the boards of Justin Sienna High School, Copia, The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, Blue Oak School, The Napa Valley  Community   Foundation, the Napa Valley Arts Council,  The Institute of International Education, and NapaLearns) she painstakingly restored, beautifully furnished, and modernly equipped a downtown Napa Queen Anne Victorian that she shares with the public via a variety of events. Over five years, Ackerman created what is now called The Ackerman Heritage House at 608 Randolph Street. Originally built in 1888, the home suffered from severe neglect and deferred maintenance, but through the ramshackle  disrepair,  Ackerman was able to see its potential. In addition to overseeing the restoration of stained- glass windows, original hardware, wood doors, floors, and crown moldings, she authentically furnished and decorated the home by sourcing its Victorian-era contents from antique stores worldwide via e-Bay. To fully understand the time period and its social and material proclivities,   Ackerman   immersed   herself in a six-week Oxford  University  course on the era. Each art piece and antique features a unique story, from the silver flatware and the china place settings to the 1880s era books that chronicle world discoveries and historical  times.  She said, “Along the way, I came close to giving up about four times, the last time being when the earthquake hit in 2014, and it damaged the interior that I had just finished completing. I am proud that it can be an example of Napa’s history and that people can experience what it might have been like more than 130 years ago in downtown Napa.”

 

Article By: Fran Miller