“We’re on the cusp of harvest,” enthused Kirk Venge in mid-August. “It’s going to be busy and exciting and I cannot wait for it to begin!”
The winemaker appeared remarkably calm for a guy soon to be juggling pick-date, fermentation, and other decisions for his wineries—southern Calistoga’s Venge Vineyards and Sonoma County’s Croix Estate—and the dozen elite brands that hire him as a consultant. “I’m having the time of my life,” he declared.
Loving It From The Start
Then again, the Rutherford native and St. Helena High grad does know the drill. Born the same year (1976) as the Judgment of Paris tastings that raised the Napa Valley’s profile, he’s the son of Nils Venge, famous for earning the first 100-point score critic Robert Parker bestowed on a wine from these parts. Before entering kindergarten, the younger Venge was already performing farming and cellar chores—and loving it. Counting his grandfather, Per Venge, a wine-and-spirits importer, Venge is part of his family’s third generation in the wine business.
Standing amid his 12½-acre Calistoga estate’s Bone Ash Vineyard, Venge . . .