Wine Star: Sonoma Vintner and Screenwriter Robert Kamen

The Karate Kid and Taken writer gets his own Hollywood ending. He only had to reach the Moon (Mountain District)

Wine Star: Sonoma Vintner and Screenwriter Robert Kamen
Screenwriter and Sonoma winery owner Robert Kamen shared his classic-rated 2019 Lava Block Cabernet. (Rick Wenner)
Oct 28, 2022

Among California vintners, Robert Kamen’s story is, fittingly, among the more fascinating. Over the course of about four decades, Kamen—who is profiled in Wine Spectator’s Oct. 15, 2022, issue—established successful careers both as a Sonoma winegrower and as a Hollywood screenwriter, penning The Karate Kid and Taken, among other blockbusters (not to mention his karate training and other thrilling adventures).

In a laughter-filled seminar, Kamen said that his wine career began with a visit to an isolated mountain site in 1979, not far from the town of Sonoma. “There was no road, no electricity, no water,” Kamen said, “I bought it for the view … of the whole San Francisco Bay.” That site would become Kamen Estate.

Though Kamen admits that he “knew nothing about growing grapes” when he bought the land, his success as a producer is undeniable. His winery in the Moon Mountain District AVA (where he and his wife, Evonne, live) has consistently produced outstanding-rated wines. Kamen brought one of them, Kamen Cabernet Sauvignon Moon Mountain District Lava Block 2019 (95 points, $175), to the Wine Experience. “[It] comes from this one place that is nothing but rocks,” he said. “That’s it.”

Kamen also had the opportunity to meet a “pen pal” for the first time. Two years ago, Kamen was contacted by Wine Spectator editor and publisher Marvin R. Shanken, and the two stayed in touch. “[My] biggest thrill here is I finally got to meet Marvin in person!”

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