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 DRIVING FORCE
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.
IN THE VINEYARDS
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.
IN THE CELLAR
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.