Kirk Venge is the owner and winemaker of Venge Estate Vineyards, located in Calistoga, Napa Valley, and Croix Estate, located in Fulton, Russian River Valley. The Venge family’s roots in the Napa Valley date back to the late 1960’s, where farming, producing, and purveying fine wines was a part of the family heritage. Born in 1976 and raised in Rutherford, Napa Valley, surrounded by fabled vineyards and wineries, Kirk grew up instilled with his family’s vision of excellence in the wine business. He learned the rhythm of winemaking as a young man, helping in the family vineyard throughout the growing season, experiencing the drama of harvest and crush, and working alongside his father, Nils Venge, in the winery.
Kirk earned his degree in viticulture and enology at the prestigious University of California, Davis, graduating in 1998. During his college years he was eager to begin hands-on winemaking experience and with the help of Hugh Davies of the Schramsberg Winery family, found a harvest intern position as an experimental winemaker at Mumm Cuvee Napa Valley. Working under the guidance of celebrated wine guru Greg Fowler over five harvests, Kirk participated in a variety of viticulture and winemaking research trials, many focusing on Carneros Appellation Chardonnay and Pinot Noir production, in addition to Mumm sparkling wine.
In the spring of 2008, Kirk purchased his family’s stake in the Venge Vineyards brand and in August of 2008, with an investment from his mother, Diana Lin “Candy” Venge, purchased the 12.6 acre Bone Ash Vineyard, located on the Silverado Trail just south of the town of Calistoga. In addition to making wine for his namesake winery, Venge Vineyards, Kirk purchased the Robert Rue Winery located in the township of Fulton, the gateway to the Russian River Valley. Renaming the winery and the 10 acre vineyard, Croix Estate, Kirk now has his sights set on producing California’s most prestigious Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Coastal regions throughout California, under the new Croix Estate label, founded in 2012.
Kirk is now consulting Winemaker for several boutique wine producers throughout Napa Valley, and includes, newly founded 11:11 Wines, Beau Vigne, B Cellars, Macauley Vineyard, Hunnicutt Wines, Trespass Vineyards, Bacio Divino Cellars and the Janzen label, Jax Vineyards, Promise Wines, and Renteria Family Wines.