Kirk’s passion is infectious. He has a twinkle in his eye and a lilt in his voice when he speaks about wine. “We lived, ate, slept and drank wine as a family,” he recalls. Family vacations were work trips, promoting Nils’ wines and presenting winemaker dinners at places like the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. His dad launched Saddleback Cellars in 1985, the same year he got a perfect score from Parker. From the age of four, Kirk drove tractor, helped the picking crew and worked the bottling line.
Upon his return to the Napa Valley, Kirk went to work at Mumm, where he spent five years making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. His time there gave him the perfect introduction to Pinot Noir. There he was in charge of eight different clonal selections and worked with rootstocks and science and learned the delicate differences between the various clones and rootstocks. During his tenure at Mumm, he lived in a cottage on a property his dad had purchased while he was in New Zealand. The vineyard was in shambles and the two cottages on the property were “torn up,” but that’s where Kirk first launched Venge Vineyards. He lived on the property until 2003 and married in 2004.
Venge Vineyards – 4708 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, CA – (707) 942-9100