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Arpad Molnar

Arpad Molnar,
Co-founder and Managing Partner

When Arpad came across the coffee table book, Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, it literally changed his life. “That was my ‘go for it’ moment when I decided to pursue endeavors in agriculture full time,” says Arpad. “Forests, vineyards, and entrepreneurship combine all my loves: nature, weather, growing, long-term thinking and creativity.”

During the wonder years, Arpad spent weekends riding three-wheelers over mounds of pumice at the family vineyard where his dad grew grapes for Napa Valley wineries. In the early '90s, he and his brother Peter moved to Budapest, Hungary and began exporting barrels from a cooperage which sourced wood from the storied Tokaj forest. Today this cooperage, Kádár Hungary, is the company’s exclusive supplier of oak and is owned by the Molnar family, in partnership with the Taransaud cooperage. Arpad teamed up with Peter and winemaker Michael Terrien to found Obsidian Wine Co., after discovering an old abandoned walnut orchard half a mile above sea level in the high Mayacamas Range of California’s North Coast; an ideal site, they suspected, to grow mountain fruit. They vinified their first 98 cases of Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon in 2002, and their first Poseidon Vineyard Chardonnay the following year.

Before beginning his entrepreneurial adventures in wine, Arpad graduated from UCLA and Harvard Business School. Along the way, he picked up skills in strategy, operations, and finance, working for GE, The Boston Consulting Group and the obligatory technology start-up.

When he’s not managing Obsidian Wine Co., Arpad can be found behind the controls of a Diamond Star DA40. “I have a deep passion for piloting. Besides the joy of flight itself, piloting requires care, judgement, planning, and discipline. But flight also means ultimate freedom—you get to chart your own course. Part science, part art, it’s a unique combination—not unlike building a barrel, making wine, or growing a company.”

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