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Ellie Anest
 
September 22, 2021 | Ellie Anest

Meet our Winemaking Team

Eleven Eleven Wines was founded on a chance encounter. And while much of our origin was a series of similarly fateful events, every step of our journey thereafter has been thoughtfully taken to create a brand and wine portfolio that celebrates the everyday moments that make life extraordinary. This progression, however, would not be possible without the essential team members of the Eleven Eleven family—especially our incredibly hardworking and dynamic winemaking team. 

From the pre-season brainstorming sessions to the long hours in the vineyards, and through all of the production stages, Winemaker Kirk Venge, Director of Winemaking & Operations, Brett Weis, and Cellar Master Edgar De Haro have become Eleven Eleven’s ultimate powerhouse. As we get into the thick of harvest season, we thought there was no better time to introduce you to the team of hands crafting the wine!

Winemaker Kirk Venge

1) HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH ELEVEN ELEVEN?

Since even before the brand was Eleven Eleven. Back to Spring of 2012.

2) What drew you to working with Eleven Eleven, specifically?  

It was truly serendipitous and began like any good storyline. It began with bright-minded characters from all parts of California, filling the roles and glued with time and friendship. Later, I learned about the vision of what was yet to be named Eleven Eleven, and I loved every bit of it. I wanted so eagerly to be a part of something fresh and creative such as what this winery has grown to become.   

3) What's your favorite part about Eleven Eleven as a brand?  

My favorite part about the winery is that it serves more than itself. With every ounce of its being, this winery stands behind charity and action. Whether it is for our local hospitals, The National Ability Center, One Blue Ocean, Napa Valley Chamber of Commerce, or the Napa Valley Vintners, 11:11 does not stop giving, with gratitude, to so many important causes. I think that all of us here at Eleven Eleven enjoy knowing our talents and earnings are shared with projects and people in need, in order to fuel the greater good.

4) What's your favorite part about your job?  

Two things in fact! We all scribble the ideas in our minds out loud for everyone in the company to hear without ever any judgment. It’s a creative space to thrive.  The second is working with estate fruit and precision farming in a beautiful facility with a very talented team!

5) What's your favorite part about harvest and winemaking in general?  

The seasonality that working in this industry gifts you. No two years are alike, especially in the last four we have had! I enjoy thinking, and scheming, along with Ellie and Brett and the Hospitality Team, about what our customers enjoy and perhaps do not enjoy. We make wine for the thousands of collective voices of our customers and in winegrowing and winemaking, we can interpret and humbly weave that back into the artwork of a fabulous bottle of wine.

6) What do you enjoy doing in your free time?  

I enjoy many things and could go on and on, but the one that draws me in most these days is flying my Cirrus SR22T airplane. It commands practicing skills far beyond takeoffs and maneuvers. It’s a mind-bender at times and really demands that you be in the moment every second. In addition to that, when I’m on the ground, it's riding bikes with my family, hiking the coast, and visiting all of the storied wine regions around the world. Wine travel is a real passion.

7) Favorite wine and food pairings?  

11:11 Sauvignon Blanc and 2 dozen saline Myagi oysters upon the crusty picnic benches of Hog Island Oyster Company in the Summer! Let’s share the ’16 Laki’s Cab from magnum with glazed mallard at the duck club, just before Christmas…

Director of Winemaking & Operations Brett Weis

1) How long have you been with Eleven Eleven?

I have been with Eleven Eleven for over 6 years. My first day was the day the Tasting Room opened in March of 2015.

2) What drew you to working with Eleven Eleven, specifically? 

A fresh start, the imagination of what could be, and the people that were in charge of the vision

3) What's your favorite part about Eleven Eleven as a brand? 

The energy, creativity, and the desire to always be evolving. 

4) What's your favorite part about your job? 

I am lucky enough to say I make wine for a living. I am outside all the time in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I get to do this every day.

5) What's your favorite part about harvest and winemaking in general? 

The anticipation of the first fruit, the hustle and bustle of a busy harvest day, the smell of fermentation, and squeegees. I love squeegees. You can’t make wine without a great squeegee. 

6) What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

I love to ski, golf, play guitar, spending time with the kids, wife, dog, and friends, and watching every sport from F1 to Ping Pong. I am a die-hard World Cup Skiing fan. I watch or record every race and hope to one day travel to Austria to watch the Hahnenkahmm in Kitzbuhel. This is the Super Bowl of World Cup skiing. 

7) Favorite wine and food pairings? 

Riesling and sushi, and Syrah and smores.

Cellar Master Edgar De Haro

1) How long have you been with Eleven Eleven?

I’ve been enjoying my time at Eleven Eleven for two and a half years.

2) What drew you to working with Eleven Eleven, specifically?

I fell in love with the idea of working with different winemakers in our custom crush facility and learning from each of them.

3) What's your favorite part about Eleven Eleven as a brand?

The quality of our wines and the people behind them.

4) What's your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part about my job is that I get to work with a group of people that share the same hard-working values and dedication to making the best wines possible while enjoying the process.

5) What's your favorite part about harvest and winemaking in general?

My favorite part about harvest is the fermentation process. This is one of the most important steps to achieve the best flavor, aroma, and appearance of the wine. 

6) What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time, you will find me playing with my three daughters, taking my dogs for a walk, or watching sports. “Let’s go Dodgers!” 

7) Favorite wine and food pairings?

My favorite pairing is a classic Eleven Eleven Estate Laki’s Cabernet Sauvignon with a piece of ribeye. I also really enjoy some good barbecue ribs with our Destin Estate Syrah.

And that’s a wrap on our winemaking team! Whether it’s shopping our current release wines online, or stopping by for an intimate in-person tasting, we hope that you can soon enjoy all the fruits of this incredible crew’s labor and Make Your Moment® with us in the heart of Napa Valley!

 

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