Venge Vineyards is in Calistoga, Napa Valley. It is owned by Kirk Venge, whose family emigrated from Denmark four generations ago. Originally in wine and spirits importing, the family became winemakers in the 1960s, when Kirk’s father Nils studied viticulture at the University of California at Davis. By the 1970s Nils was producing wine in the Oakville district of Napa Valley. He started Saddleback Cellars and became one of the valley’s leading winemakers. In 2008 the family sold their physical winery to the Foley Wine Group, although the Venge family kept the rights to the Venge name. Since then Kirk Venge has been producing Venge Vineyards wines in limited quantities. Most are Cabernet Sauvignons that earn high compliments from reviewers.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
This grape is grown in milder climates and produces a medium-to full-bodied wine. It is also known as Shiraz, but should not be confused with Petit Sirah, which was developed by crossing Syrah with Peloursin.