We often are asked...how did you get into all of this? We usually just smile and say, "Well it has been quite a ride!" Here is our story...
Albert Katz and Kim (not yet a Katz) first met at UC Berkeley some time ago. Albert was studying California politics, and in particular the history and its use of water for irrigation- the 'seed' of his interest in small-scale farming.
One thing lead to another, and after marriage and the arrival of our first daughter, we were jumping in and opening our own restaurant - both of us were in our mid twenties. We had a sensational run for ten years with our elegantly small dinner house serving 'local' and fresh California style cuisine. We both were deeply moved by our visits to the fairly new Chez Panisse Restaurant & Cafe down the road in Berkeley, and in hindsight we realize how much our meals there influenced us.
After their early years of marriage, starting a family, and owning a “gem of a neighborhood restaurant” in the San Francisco Bay Area where Albert honed his culinary skills, the Katz clan moved to the Napa Valley.
Albert and Kim had taken an inspiring trip to Italy where they tasted many new things, but it was the olive oil that really hit them. As luck would have it, the olive oil production in Northern California was just about to bloom and a large part of it started in the Napa area. Quite serendipitous! Albert became one of the founding members of the California Olive Oil Council in 1993 during this time.
In the late 90s, we met our farmer friend, Jim, and together we began our education of growing Tuscan and Italian varietal olive trees in California. Now, more than a decade later, we have mature groves that are CCOF certified organic in the historic and agriculturally rich Suisun Valley. Our olive oil making skills have also been well honed, and in 2011 when we received the first ever "Best of the Best" Gold Medal at the Yolo County Fair, - out of more than 140 competitors - we knew we were on the right track.
Jim also is a wine maker, so the next step was learning how to make truly authentic vinegar using his viniculture expertise. Albert had always wanted to try his hand at making an 'agrodolce' style elixir, and after many trials and errors, the first successful barrel of KATZ Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Vinegar was born. Now KATZ offers five distinct varietals of vinegar.
Kim's hand came into play when she designed all the packaging and the overall 'look and feel' of KATZ. It turned out to be a bonus that her passion and love of design was a very needed component for establishing a successful family company.
For their next chapter, the Katz family is planning a tasting room on a property near their olive groves in Suisun Valley so that their cherished customers, many whom have become friends, can drop by and visit.