Kirk Venge’s solid foundation and passion for winemaking began at a very young age. Growing up in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley surrounded by some of the best wines and appellations in the world, his childhood memories are steeped in vineyard farming, winemaking and the fragrance of a wine cellar. Some of Kirk’s earliest memories of the winery are when he was four years old helping his father Nils with basket-pressing Cabernet from the family’s Saddleback Vineyard, and manning the pump switch on late night barrel racking projects. A game the two of them played was for Kirk to smell and guess the varietal of wine in a glass when Nils would pal around amongst his peers.
After graduating from St. Helena High School, Kirk attended the University of California, Davis to pursue a degree in viticulture and oenology, the study of vineyard management and winemaking. While at Davis he developed his craft interning with Mumm Napa Valley as experimental winemaker for five harvest seasons under the guidance of legendary sparkling winemaker, Gregory Fowler, making not only premium sparkling wine but Carneros Appellation Chardonnay and Pinot Noir table wines as well.
In November of 1999, Kirk left Mumm to work alongside his father in developing a winery for the Venge Family Reserve wines. Two years later, Kirk donned both his winemaking hat and a hard hat to supervise the entire restoration and building of Venge Vineyards at the historic Rossini Ranch property. Nine years later, in May of 2008, the Venge family sold the winery and property which allowed Kirk to take the label and branch out on his own and further his wine consultancy career.
Kirk’s talent and skill as a winemaker is reflected in the well-balanced wines he makes. His philosophy of “making wine in the vineyard” is found in every bottle. Forbes Magazine recently said “Kirk Venge, third generation Napa winemaker [is making] some of the most exciting wines being made in California right now.” Kirk knows there is no substitute to absolute quality and that the best wines can only come from the best grapes. He strives to share ideas with the winery's growers and work with them to develop the highest quality of fruit that each vineyard can produce.
In addition to Implicit Cellars, Kirk is currently the consulting winemaker for several boutique producers, including Hunnicutt, Macauley, Bacio Divino, JAX, B Cellars, Trespass, Tres Perlas, Mirror, Sky Devil, Eleven Eleven, and Promise, as well as making his own two brands, Venge Vineyards and Croix Estate.
~~ “Understanding the terroir of a specific vineyard—and the hidden potential of that site—is imperitive to the quality of wine that can be made.” Kirk Venge
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