New York


Horyou had the opportunity of sitting down with Nilou Safinya, VP of Customer Service at Xurus, a small family-run luxury wine business with a vineyard located in Lake County, CA. “My father [Kambiz Safinya] and uncle [Ali Namdar] started the company back in 1999 when they planted the first grape,” Safinya said. “Initially they sold grapes to other winemakers, then in 2007 they began to make their own wine.” According to Safinya, her father and her uncle had always wanted to work together, and wine is something they are both passionate about. So together, they decided to create Xurus.


In Zoroastrian philosophy, the creator’s energy is represented by fire and the sun, both enduring, radiant and life-sustaining. The rooster, or xurus (pronounced ‘khoo-roos’), was the companion of the angel that guarded humankind at night. The xurus’ crowing signaled the transition from the evil of darkness to the goodness of daylight. As early as 3000 BCE, this time of day was celebrated with a morning cup of wine poured from a rooster-shaped pitcher.

The name and label of Xurus Wine celebrate centuries of elegance, art, culture and joie de vivre. The dual roosters in its logo signify the close relationship and collaboration of the two founders.

The vineyard is managed using sustainable practices to preserve the environment in which it is located. Native plant growth is controlled between the rows of grapes with a no-till practice and scheduled mowing. Fruit thinning occurs early in the growing season, leaving only the finest clusters to ripen through the summer. “The fermentation is based on the Bordeaux style of winemaking, which means the sulfites used are natural and not made in chemical factories,” Safinya said. “There is much attention to detail and quality, to the extent that each grape is hand selected.”


The family has always endorsed social-good and displays a commitment to charity work. “My father is a businessman and a physicist. He is quite a unique person in that he also has artistic inclinations,” she said. “My uncle shares the same dual passion as a writer and a businessman. They are both appreciators of all arts and culture. As a family we are very socially conscious, always aware of social challenges and try do our part in supporting charities.” This past May, Xurus was a partner at the Horyou Foundation Gala during Horyou Village at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. “The idea of participating in a charity gala was something my father was very interested in,” Safinya stated. As Xurus grows, they hope to increase their ability to continue donating their products to charities and social-good causes, events and fundraisers.


Horyou asked Safinya for her opinion on the importance of company commitment to social good. She explained: “In an ideal world, most companies would have a social-good component in their structure. How people and companies give can be different based on the industry, the commodity and the capacity. Whether it’s through financial giving, in-kind donations, socially-conscience business and hiring practices or active engagement with the broader global environment – I do think we each should do our part in being socially responsible for the greater good.”

By ToniMarie Illuzzi

    Michèle and Michel Auer

    Written by Cintia Pino. English article can be read here.

    En passant par Versoix en bordure de Genève, la nouvelle galerie “Boléro” située à proximité immédiate de la gare nous accueille avec l’exposition “Les trésors de la Fondation Auer pour la photographie.”

    Les deux monuments de la photo que sont Michèle et Michel Auer accueillaient les gens à coups de petits fours dans une ambiance conviviale. Cette exposition est en place jusqu’au 7 juin et présente l’histoire de la photographie dès 1839 à nos jours, à travers les plus grands trésors de la Fondation qui comprennent des appareils et des tirages originaux de photographes historiques et contemporains.

    La Fondation Auer a pour objet de conserver et promouvoir la collection existante, de faire des expositions, d’acquérir objets et œuvres photographiques, de mettre à jour et de diffuser l’Encyclopédie Internationale des Photographes. Ils éditent des ouvrages contribuant à une meilleure connaissance de la photographie, diffusent l’œuvre de jeunes artistes, d’artistes oubliés ou méconnus, et organisent des stages ou des workshops, accueillent des chercheurs, artistes, élèves et stagiaires.

    À Hermance tous reconnaissent le plus haut toit du village, la Fondation. C’est là qu’un magnifique travail d’archivage, conservation et répertoriage prends place, durant 4 expositions chaque année. Du à la dimension incalculable de la précieuse collection entretenue par Michèle et Michel Auer, elle n’a jamais pu être exposée intégralement d’un coup, mais au Boléro nous trouvons des petites perles bien représentatives de son patrimoine.

    La prochaine exposition, “Louis Stettner, 40 ans d’amitié Paris New-York,” débutera le 30 mai à Hermance, un jour qui marque aussi l’anniversaire de notre amphitryon, le gourmand de la photo, Michel Auer. Chaque exposition fait naître un carnet avec les tirages du photographe concerné, des chefs-d’œuvre susceptible de collection qui en sont à ce jour à leur douzième volume.

    A la suite du SIGEF 2014 et l’exposition « Les Peuples du Monde », Horyou et la Fondation Auer se sont rapprochés. Si Horyou n’est pas spécialisé en soi dans le monde de la photographie, elle reste un sujet d’une universalité sans concessions. C’est un sujet universel, reflet de diversité et issu d’une fascination générale pour la représentation de l’existence, rien que cela. En plus de refléter l’histoire, transmettre des émotions, immortaliser un moment, la photographie amuse aussi. Comme témoin de notre existence elle peut montrer la réalité ou bien la distordre, mais sans nul doute qu’elle concerne tout le monde.

    Horyou Documentary Screening


    “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” -Kofi Annan

    ACTIONS: Recently, the Horyou team started a new initiative in the United States by visiting universities in New York and California. The first school visited was the Tisch School of The Arts at NYU, followed by Chapman University and the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California (downtown LA and Orange County). It was very rewarding to experience the understanding and enthusiasm of students regarding the importance of social networking with a purpose.

    California Presentation

    We had the opportunity to discuss and share different views on the use of social media in todays modern World. Questions such as: How can the creation of positive content facilitate the process of social commitment via social networking? To what extent is social networking creating a positive impact in society, locally and globally? Students were diving in! They shared their thoughts and aspirations, but they also discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead when using technology for good.

    THE FUTURE: The sharing of knowledge, exchanging of ideas, conversation starting, and the promotion of social good are a fundamental part of what Horyou promotes. In the coming year, Horyou is planning to explore the world of academia by sparking innovative conversations among students and youth regarding social networking with a purpose, when applied to a cross-cultural setting in different fields of expertise.


    Each presentation aims to explore this concept, while creating space for open discussions and the exchange of ideas, creativity, and much more. Horyou wants to encourage younger generations, to become involved with technology in constructive ways, while promoting and reciprocating knowledge and sharing ideas.


    Horyou considers this initiative a valuable exchange. Therefore, the team will continue on a global sphere, bringing social networking with a purpose to the classroom. More news to come!

    Horyou Screening California

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