Our Tasting Room will be closed Friday, August 26th for a Private Event.

ABOUT US

A love of nature, commitment to the craft of winemaking and the combined energies of a joyous family embody the creation of Château d’ Estienne Vineyard and Tasting Room.

Our Family


Iman and Rasha Kahwaji are the owners and operators of Château d’ Estienne. For both, this project is a labor of love for the land and a desire to create a space where people can come together and share a beautiful experience over wine and food.
Château d’ Estienne is a family-affair, with their children, Seyvene and Estienne Kahwaji, [ and the namesake of the brand!]. A love of all things of the land and being in nature makes this a shared passion for the Kahwaji family. Estienne means crown in French and the whole family sees the château as their “Crown jewel”.

Founder & Owner

Dr. Iman Joseph Kahwaji

I have deep roots in farming dating back to my childhood. Both of my grandfathers owned land that was farmed year round with multiple crops and orchards. I learned to appreciate farming through its various steps, from soil preparation to harvest. And walking the fields with my grandfather in the early hours of the morning remains among the happiest memories of my childhood. Even though my passion was to become a physician to heal people, my love of the farm and the land never withered.
As a practicing pediatric cardiologist, where knowledge and commitment are key, I am using the same skills to take on an established vineyard and renew its vibrancy to produce the highest quality grapes and wines.
This passion for the land led me to purchase the property that is now Château d’ Estienne in October of 2020 and begin the process of building a world-class tasting room and wine portfolio.
With passion for wines, I have traveled the Amador and Eldorado County for the past 3 years looking for the perfect spot to reconnect with nature. I found it at the picturesque rolling hills in Eldorado County that has the perfect micro climate for wine grapes.

Rasha Kahwaji

I grew up in a small town surrounded by amazing fields and beautiful views. Helping in the family business pointed me to start a career in accounting, but from my volunteering over the years I came to realize event planning is in my future.
I am passionate about creating memorable moments and believe happiness is essential to a successful life.
When we decided to buy the vineyard it brought back many memories and I am so excited to share a unique experience with our guests to make their wine tasting experience unforgettable.

Owner & Event/Sales Manager

Winemaking

When we found the vineyard property of our dreams, the next step was finding an equally excellent winemaking partner.

 
We were thrilled to create a strong relationship, and shared vision, with Marco Cappelli and have him become Château d’ Estienne’s official winemaker.
Creating an integrated vision for the wines and our brand, Marco will be working side by side with both of us on the farming of our land, wine style, and portfolio decisions.
We are so delighted to be working with this talented winemaker and welcome you to learn more about him below.

-Iman and Rasha

Winemaker Marco Cappelli

Marco received his formal training from UC Davis with a Bachelors degree in Enology and once receiving his diploma, promptly set off for Europe for “hands on” training. What followed was a year in Italy, and then 6 months in France, working with wineries in famed regions. Learning the logistics and intricacies of winemaking in Old World styles.
Italy helped Marco refine his palate and resulted in a deep dive into the magic of food and wine enjoyed at most meals. In France, he learned the particulars of how soil, climate and human factors combine to inform a wine’s personality. All important parts of the winemaking process.
NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Upon return to the US, Marco began working in the cellar at Saintsbury in Carneros, learning the ins and outs of an established California winery. Becoming a part of the rich Napa Valley wine community led to the role of winemaker with Swanson Winery, where he was for 17 years.
TODAY
Now living in the Fair Play area of El Dorado County, Marco enjoys the pace of the region and spending time with his wife, son and daughter.
Winemaker
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