Venge Vineyards

About

Our experience spans four decades of evolution in winemaking. Both traditional and progressive wine production techniques are embraced while remaining focused on our core belief: only fruit grown from select vineyard sources that is handled gently and naturally produces wine worthy of bottling under the Venge family name. We offer a private, non-public tasting retreat from the masses. We invite you to sit back and enjoy a relaxed tasting with us. Our seated tastings are private and held at our winery ranch house overlooking the valley. Each tasting features wines that are allocated and seats a maximum of six guests per reservation.

Location Description

Nestled into the eastern foothills of the Pallisades Mountain range.

Features

  • Producing high quality wines.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Winemaker

Farming and winemaking is in the blood of Owner and Winemaker, Kirk Venge, “When I was growing up, working in the vineyard and winery gave me a wonderful sense of partnership in my family’s way of life; it was hard work, but I loved it.”

Born and raised in Rutherford, Napa Valley, surrounded by fabled vineyards and wineries, Kirk Venge grew up instilled with his father’s vision of excellence. He learned the rhythm of winemaking as a young man, helping in the family vineyard throughout the growing season, experiencing the labor of harvest and the love of crush, and working alongside his father, Nils Venge, in the winery. Some of his earliest memories are of riding on the tractor with his father cultivating the Oakville Estate vineyard and dragging hoses throughout the cellar floor.

Kirk earned his degree in Viticulture and Enology at the prestigious University of California, Davis, graduating in 1998. He set out working diligently in summer internships as the experimental winemaker for Mumm, Napa Valley, where he focused on producing still Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. A post-graduation harvest in New Zealand and time travelling the great wine regions of Europe would prove him ready to take on making the Venge Family Reserve wines in 2003.

When Kirk acquired ownership and winemaking responsibility of Venge Vineyards from his father in 2008, he immediately purchased a 12.5 acre vineyard in the foothills of the Palisades Mountains in Calistoga, determined to found a new estate winery from which to build his Napa Valley legacy.

“My focus has always been the vineyard first. So when the Bone Ash Vineyard site became available in Calistoga, I knew the potential for growing and producing reputable Cabernet Sauvignon was already established in the neighborhood by Bart Araujo, Dr. Kenefick, and Fred Fisher. I believe this site will produce wines that are every bit as compelling as our Oakville Estate designations.”

It is his lifelong experience that is the driving force behind the quality of Venge’s wines.

History

The Venge (ven-ghee) family has farmed vitis viniferra varieties in Napa Valley for nearly a half-century. It is a journey that began when Knud Venge migrated from Denmark to the United States in the early 1900’s. Knud's son, Per Venge, found his passion in the wine and spirits industry and started Vencom Imports, focusing on the importation of Western European fine wines and spirits. It was Per's son, Nils Venge, who left the family business in the 1960's with a vision to study viticulture at UC Davis and establish the family namesake as an icon within the winegrowing community.

The family's viticultural roots flourished in 1976 with the purchase of a 17-acre vineyard in the Oakville District that was planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This fortunate development cast the family among the winemaking pioneers of Napa Valley.

Nils' son, Kirk Venge, gravitated to winemaking at an early age. He proved to be as talented a winemaker as his father, making wines in his own style, with a vision to build his own legacy in the valley. In 2008, Kirk achieved his lifelong dream and acquired full ownership of Venge Vineyards from his family. Today, Kirk continues the Napa Valley heritage, focusing on select vineyard sites that produce fruit worthy of bearing the Venge family name.

The Team

Sarah Venge:

Sarah is the anchor in our Venge Vineyards operation. In addition to managing her own practice as a consulting dietitian, she is committed to all functions of Venge with direct input on the long-term goals of the family business. An outstanding chef and winery host, she performs our most vital function: raising the next generation in Venge winemaking tradition.

Jason Williams, General Manager:

Jason is responsible for managing all aspects of the sales, marketing, and operations for Venge Vineyards. When Kirk asked Jason to join the effort in 2008, he promptly accepted, "My decision was unreservedly based upon my insight into the family and the dedication put forth over many decades. I knew farming and making wine was Kirk's blood and it was obvious to me that his commitment to the Napa Valley was inate. I was inspired by Kirk and Sarah's vision for the future of Venge Vineyards and resolved to be a partner in the winery's success."

Sheila Franks, Director of Sales, Marketing & Creative:

Sheila joined Venge officially in 2011 and comes with a long list of accomplishments in working for many prestigious properties, such as, Merryvale Vineyards, the Robert Mondavi Corporation, Far Niente Winery, Nickel & Nickel Winery, Lancaster Estate, and Cain Vineyards & Winery. Sheila is a vital member of our winery family and keeps every detail of the sales and marketing machine humming along. "I cannot think of a better place in the Napa Valley to be than Venge Vineyards & Winery. What we are doing with the new Calsitoga estate vineyard and winery provides me with an unparalelled opportunity to put all of my experience into action for Kirk and Sarah. This is such a special place and the Venge family is certainly one of the most gracious families I have ever worked with."

Practices & Techniques

Red Wine Production:

All Hands On Deck: Hand sorting is a family tradition and a required harvest activity for everyone at Venge Vineyards.

Go With Gravity: Using a gentle, state of the art Mistral berry sorting system allows the removal of any additional, unwanted raisins, shot berries, pips, and leftover foliage from the hand-sorted fruit. This secondary sorting system assures only ripened, healthy fruit makes it into the tanks. A conveyor belt gently transfers the fruit directly into each tank via gravity in preparation for pre-fermentation cold soaking. This eliminates the use of pumps that may serrate the skins and break the seeds. The result is prevention of imbalances in phenolic extractions and leaching of seed tannins into the free run juice.

Chill: In the tank, we cold soak the must and free run juice to gently extract additional flavors and color pigments from the skins.

Go Native: Utilizing a combination of cultured and wild yeasts for primary and secondary fermentation is standard doctrine. Fermentation is conducted in a combination of hand-crafted, Italian stainless steel tanks, concrete vats, and open top oak barriques. Once fermentation begins, gentle diaphragm pumps are used to move the free run juice over the must cap to assure a thorough soaking for extraction of vital phenolics. Extended macerations are common, generally lasting 18 to 27 days.

Barrel Down: A combination of new and once-used French oak barrels are used for red wine aging. The exception is our Scout’s Honor, which is aged in a combination of new American oak and used French oak barrels. Our red wines typically age 16 to 27 months in oak, depending on the varietal and the vintage.

Bottle As Is: Natural is better. Therefore, our red wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined.

White Wine Production:

Press The Flesh: We whole cluster press our whites and transport the juice via diaphragm pumps to hand-crafted, Italian stainless steel tanks. We implement a 48 hour oxidative settling to allow heavy phenolics to fall out and rack the wine to prevent browning of the whites. A combination of cultured and native yeasts are allowed to inoculate fermentation.

Stir It Up: The fermented wine is moved to neutral French oak barrels and allowed to undergo partial malolactic fermentation. Allowing only partial secondary fermentation preserves the wines natural acids, adding necessary verve and backbone to our white wines. We sur lie age our whites for 6 to 9 months, stirring the barrels weekly for three months to fill out the mid-palate of the wine.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Our farming experience spans nearly a half-century in the Napa Valley. We seek vineyard locations that possess the requirements for producing fruit of stature and compelling consistency: a temperate climate of warm days and cool nights, porous alluvial, hillside and mountain soils with balanced nutrient deposits, and ample degree days to promote prolonged hangtime for optimal maturation.

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Hours

Wednesday Through Sunday Only Not Open To The General Public

Address

4708 Silverado Trail
Calistoga, California 94515
United States

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