Kirk Venge is one of the most recognized and sought-after winemakers in Napa and Sonoma. Born and raised in Rutherford, CA – Kirk was instilled with his father’s vision of excellence at a very young age. He learned the rhythm of winemaking working in the family vineyard alongside his father, Nils Venge. After graduating from St. Helena High School, Kirk ventured off to the University of California, Davis to pursue a degree in Viticulture and Oenology, the study of vineyard management and winemaking. During this time he developed his craft interning with Mumm Napa Valley as experimental winemaker for 5 harvest seasons under the guidance of legendary sparkling winemaker, Gregory Fowler. The experience not only included yeast, malolactic and scion and rootstock trials but the making of premium Carneros Appellation Chardonnay and Pinot Noir table wines as well.
After college and his fourth season at Mumm, Kirk spent the 1999 harvest working with John Belsham of Rapaura Vintners in Marlborough, New Zealand on the South Island. He went back to work for one last harvest at Mumm. In November of the same year, he left Mumm to work alongside his father in developing a winery for the Venge Family Reserve wines. Two years later, Kirk shared his winemaking hat with a hard hat to supervise the entire restoration and building of Venge Vineyards at the historic Rossini Ranch property. In May of 2008 Kirk took over as owner and winemaker of Venge Estate Vineyards and Winery, and relocated the Venge operations to its new winery in Calistoga, Ca.
In addition to his winemaking role at Eleven Eleven,, Kirk is also the Consulting Winemaker for several boutique producers throughout Napa Valley, including B Cellars, Bacio Divino Cellars, Hunnicutt Wines, Jax Vineyards, Mirror, Macauley Vineyard, Renteria Family Wines, Promise Wines, Summers Estate, & Trespass Vineyards.
“He’s the perfect winemaking consultant for brands with a clear vision of what they’re looking for because he has both the connections to the best grapes and the vinicultural know-how to pull it off in the bottle.” – Kim Westerman, Forbes, November 2020