Stark Advantage
The Best Way to Tour Napa Valley


Published On: February 20, 2023

Scotti Stark moved to Napa Valley from Texas shortly after Food & Wine Magazine bestowed the Best Sommelier award on his team at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston, Texas. He began his journey in Napa in 2004 as the Director of Sales at Revana Family Vineyard, and today he runs Stark Advantage, a concierge and wine sales business.

He explained, “I had a big Rolodex of clients from my days in Texas. They started coming out to see me, and I suggested wineries to visit.” He knew that people could get more from their trips with specialized guidance. “Most people come here blindly and set up their own itineraries or allow hotel concierges to assign them. I get to know the client more personally, which allows me to make every itinerary unique and customized.”

Branding himself the “Connector-in-Chief,” the business quickly evolved to a full-time gig with Scotti forging relationships with restaurants, hotels, drivers, and, most importantly, smaller, very high-end wineries, those that typically produce less than 500 cases a year.

“I work with wineries that depend on their mailing list and are only visited by invitation or referral. At these wineries, you’re often hosted by one of the principals—the owner or the winemaker.”

If guests want to visit some of the best-known wineries, Scotti doesn’t mind. “Of course, I’ll set them up wherever they want to go, but 99 percent of the time, after taking them to boutique wineries, they are delighted. ‘We’ve never been to a small winery like that before—we want all of our experiences to be like that!’” For his curated services, pricing depends on the group size but is generally around $150 per person.

Stark Advantage has expanded its services over the years. “I also facilitate private wine dinners where I will take some of my brands to people’s homes, and they’ll have people over so I can advise and educate them on the wine. I hope to sell wine, and they hope to show their neighbors or other wine-buying friends what they don’t otherwise have access to.”

The pandemic certainly affected his person-to-person business, but he was able to rely on another skill: wine selection. “Fortunately, people drank a lot, and my phone rang off the hook, which was great. And that’s how I could stay in business because people were still ordering and having the wine shipped to them.”

When asked what sets Stark Advantage apart from its competition, Scotti said, “There’s some pretentiousness in this business, but I think that’s unfortunate. I think eventually, people’s palates evolve, and they start to enjoy more expensive, more sophisticated wines. It doesn’t matter where they are on their wine journey—as long as they support the wine industry and are willing to try new wines, I’m happy.”

Scotti is also the owner of cult favorite Harumph Wines in St. Helena, California.