For us and many wineries around Napa Valley, August through October marks our harvest season. The Valley comes alive with the excitement and rush of harvest. Tending to the grapevines is a year-round process, but this is the time when the vineyards and the wineries bustle with workers racing to pick grapes at their peak ripeness. This year has certainly brought its fair share of hurdles, but we're excited to dive into what the 2020 vintage looks like for all of us here at Eleven Eleven.
The 2020 Growing Season
For an update on the growing season, we reached out to our Associate Winemaker, Brett Weis, who said, “the growing season started off with a fairly mild spring that led us into ideal conditions for bloom and set. There were a couple cooling events, but for the most part, we were off to the races for what we thought was going to be a ‘normal’ ripening season.”
He continued, “June through August were steady and warm with no major heat spikes to speed things along until [mid-August]. Fires again have returned and, unfortunately, cast a thick layer [of smoke] across the valley. One thing I know is that we will make the best wines we can under the most difficult of circumstances.”
The Harvest of the Grapes
On August 21st, we harvested our first fruit of the year, our Sauvignon Blanc, followed by the second pick of our estate Riesling. Every year, we as a team pick grapes from some selected blocks on our Estate. Brett says, “this is truly the best team-building experience and proves to be extremely helpful for everyone. It gives insight, recognition, and respect for the land, the people, and the process that goes into a bottle of wine.”
Through September, we continued to harvest the remainder of our estate fruit, ending with the Cab Franc the last week of the month. Even though our Harvest finished earlier than years past, the wine quality was not compromised and the resulting wines we have in house are dark, dense, and full of flavor and character.
It is not lost on us how fortunate we are to have been able to harvest the majority of our fruit before any smoke damage from the fires. We are confident that a stellar 2020 vintage and many stories of this harvest will be enjoyed for years to come. We are fully committed to what the Eleven Eleven name stands for: quality, and of Making Our Moment Count.
We have been wearing our masks this year and our smiles are covered, but our team at Eleven Eleven has shown such resilience, perseverance, and teamwork. We are grateful for all the learnings 2020 has brought us!
For us and many wineries around the Napa Valley, August marks the beginning of harvest. Although this year has certainly brought its fair share of hurdles, we're excited to dive into what the 2020 vintage looks like for all of us here at Eleven Eleven from the blessing of the grapes and everything in between!
Our core belief is to Make Your Moment® whenever possible, wherever you are. When you visit us in our tasting room or crack open one of our bottles at home, our goal is to elicit those meant-to-be moments that highlight inspiration and delight. The work that goes into crafting our wines is an integral part of this intention, and we look forward to sharing this special moment of our winemaking process with you.
The Tradition of the Grape Blessing
Traditionally, August 6th is recognized as the day of grape blessings. This ceremony originated as what is considered to be the first harvest of the season. This fruit maintains a special place of honor for us as we head into the season, and this blessing is a way to show our gratitude to what the earth has provided us.
This is generally an ancient Christian custom as during the first week of August, the farmers used to gather the early fruits of their summer harvest (grapes, figs, etc.) and present them in the church to be blessed and give them to the congregation. These fruits are called the “beginnings”.
Each year, our team gathers as a group (safely and socially distanced, this year!) around a bin of new grapes to partake in this special occasion. Each person has their own unique way of pouring the wine, from a simple splash to a zig-zag or cross formation. This has been a tradition we have kept since we started the winery. Here you can see our Associate Winemaker, Brett Weis, pouring a previous vintage of our Rosé over new Syrah grapes!
Thoughts from Our Leadership Team
While harvest is always a busy, exciting time for the wine industry as a whole, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the fires affecting the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. As with any fire or natural disaster, it’s a little unnerving for all of us both personally, and making sure Eleven Eleven as a business is operating to the best of our ability.
We pride ourselves at Eleven Eleven on being a close-knit family, and the well-being of our employees and guests continue to be paramount. With COVID-19 on top of this, 2020 has presented an especially unique challenge both in and out of production and the tasting room.
As we slowly phase into autumn, winter, and the holidays that come with this season of life, we’re increasingly thankful for our family, friends, our Club 11:11 members, and loyal Eleven Eleven supporters like you!
You’ve booked your trip to Napa, now what? There are so many things to do, places to see, food to savor, and wine to drink! How do you choose? We’ve done some of the legwork for you by putting together our quintessential day in Napa Valley.
Coffee & Breakfast
Need a little wake-me-up? Start your morning with coffee and breakfast at Contimo Provisions. Our favorite is the breakfast sausage buttermilk biscuit! Conveniently located in downtown Napa at CIA Copia, this popular spot for locals and visitors alike offers mouth-watering bites to enjoy and fill you up before starting your day.
There’s no shortage of tasting rooms in Napa Valley. While many venture up-valley for their tasting experiences, downtown Napa has a lot to offer! Our beautifully designed tasting room is the perfect place to start your day. At Eleven Eleven, our passion for enriching life with friends, culture, great food, and wine inspires us to celebrate the everyday moments that make life extraordinary. Our beautiful estate is located just minutes from downtown Napa, but is surrounded by lush grounds and vineyard views. When tasting with us, you’ll experience our award-winning, single-vineyard wines and much more through one of our three thoughtfully curated tasting experiences that will entice your senses.
Our 45 minute 11:11 Experience offers a one-on-one hosted tasting of our current signature wines. Sip and learn about our wines that are produced in a classic, artistic style that embodies a belief in the purity and power of the varietal and its terroir.
Looking for something with a pairing and tour to get to know us better? The Copper Experience offers a 1-hour personalized tasting of our current signature wines with a cheese and charcuterie accompaniment, as well as a tour of our working winery by exploring our production facility and learning first hand how our wines are crafted.
If you want to discover the truest essence of Eleven Eleven with the most well-rounded experience, Make Your Moment® with our elevated 75-minute tasting. Hosted in an elegant private setting, you and your guests will have the exclusive opportunity to savor a vertical tasting of four vintages of our highly celebrated Laki’s Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, along with other varietals from our portfolio. In addition to past and current vintages, you’ll have access to a barrel sample of our newest creation. This experience includes a curated cheese and charcuterie accompaniment, as well as a tour of our winery.
All of our offerings are open daily by appointment from 10:00am - 4:00pm - don’t miss us on your journey to Napa! Click here to reserve your experience.
After your tasting, stick around to see what downtown Napa has to offer – there’s no shortage of boutiques and fun shops to explore. One of our favorites on First Street is Makers Market. You’ll find products that are sustainably made – either reclaimed, recycled, upcycled, or produced with ethically sourced materials. From jewelry to clothing (for men and women!) to home and personal accessories, there are a plethora of treasures to find in this special store. And, with your purchase, you’ll not only be helping a Maker live their dream, but a percentage of your sale proceeds are donated to local non-profits with which the makers are affiliated.
Indulge in Dinner
After a day of browsing and shopping, you undoubtedly will be ready for dinner and a drink. There are truly so many delicious options, we couldn’t narrow them down to just one! We’re lucky enough to have many restaurants that offer various types of cuisine, from Italian to Asian-inspired, classic American to Meditteranean and Vietnamese. We recommend visiting the Downtown Napa website to explore your options. Our personal favorites for flavorful Italian cuisine located on First Street is Oenotri. We love the classic Margherita pizza or linguine with clams! If you prefer a more classic American approach, we recommend Norman Rose. Also located on First Street, this restaurant boasts countless mouthwatering options we can’t get enough of. We love to indulge in the 5 Dot Ranch Cheeseburger or Fried Organic Egg Sandwich. And, you can’t order a main dish without their Truffle & Parmesean french fries on the side!
After dinner drinks
Once you’ve had your fill from one of Napa’s highly rated restaurants, finish off your night with a drink in a contemporary yet comfortable atmosphere. One of our go-to, late-night haunts is Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar at the Archer Hotel.
Sky & Vine sits atop one of the most beautiful hotels in Downtown Napa, and with a 180-degree view to boot! This bar offers a wide variety of both classic and trendy cocktails, wine, and beer. They also offer snacks, more substantial plates, and even Sunday brunch if you’re here through the weekend. With thoughtfully designed seating areas, a view of Atlas Peak to the east, and up-valley to the north, your time here is sure to be memorable! Feeling playful? They also have cornhole and shuffleboard for some fun and friendly competition.
No matter where you decide to spend your day in Napa, you can’t go wrong with our vibrant city’s many offerings. We hope you have the opportunity to visit our chic, welcoming tasting room during your visit; or, if you’re a local, grab your friends, and experience all we have to offer!
Founded by Ellie Anest and Aurelien Roulin, Eleven Eleven Wines was built on a shared passion for an enriching life with friends, culture, great food, and wine. As friends, Ellie and Aurelien envisioned creating a brand that celebrates the everyday moments that make life extraordinary.
How Ellie and Aurelien met
The pair met in circumstances that, in hindsight, seem fated: onboard an international flight. Their in-flight conversation sparked an immediate connection, highlighting a shared entrepreneurial spirit and aspirations. Over time and many more conversations about work, life, and dreams, a lifelong friendship grew. They weren’t sure how or when, but they were certain they would create something special together.
When Ellie and Aurelien first met they shared many common interests, including a strong work ethic, positivity, openness to trying new things and, of course, wine. With these qualities, they decided to begin their working partnership with a real estate investment alongside Ellie’s lifelong friend, Carol Vassiliadis. Out of pure coincidence, the land they purchased had a world-class vineyard on it. Shortly after, Aurelien connected with Kirk Venge - a friend and now winemaker for Eleven Eleven. Kirk, a coveted Napa third generation winemaker, serendipitously took on Eleven Eleven as his eleventh consultancy.
As the Eleven Eleven vision came into focus and with Carol on board, she offered her expertise and support. Carol’s business acumen, sharp aesthetic, and an artful eye for detail have given Eleven Eleven a special polish and poise. She supports many philanthropic endeavors of the winery and understands the complexities of merging business with pleasure, making Eleven Eleven as much a hospitality experience as it is a wine experience.
Why they chose the name “Eleven Eleven”
Aurelien describes the process by which he and Ellie chose the name “Eleven Eleven:”
“We chose the name ‘Eleven Eleven’ to represent the meant-to-be-moments in life that are worth celebrating. Just like looking at a clock at precisely 11:11 and feeling something special, Eleven Eleven Wines is the expression and celebration of the idea that what is meant to be will be.”
How the winery and tasting room was brought to life
The partnership trio founded Eleven Eleven in 2012. They first acquired Laki’s Vineyard, which consists of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the Oak Knoll AVA (American Viticultural Area) and a vineyard house. They then acquired Destin Vineyard in the same AVA that houses 16 acres of Syrah, Riesling, Merlot, and Malbec grapes, collectively. 2012 was the first harvest of the Laki’s Vineyard Cabernet, and winemaker, Kirk Venge, also joined the Eleven Eleven team as Winemaker.
In 2013 the partners acquired a 12-acre winery estate, also in Oak Knoll, which included an existing winery building. That same year, they began their development of wine production capabilities.
2014 was a particularly exciting year as the first Eleven Eleven wine was bottled – the 2012 Laki’sVineyard Cabernet, which later received a 90-point rating from Wine Enthusiast. The production facility opened in 2014 as well where they began making both Eleven Eleven and custom crush client wines. Construction on tasting room also began in this year.
In 2015 the team excitedly opened the tasting room and launched Club 11:11®, and in 2016 the construction of the 15,000 square-foot barrel hall was completed.
2017 was the year of the first harvest of the Eleven Eleven Vineyard and the first release of their Zinfandel. In 2018, the acquisition of state-of-the-art production equipment allowed the team to increase winemaking capabilities and efficiencies, sending Eleven Eleven Wines over-the-top with their high-quality wines.
Finally, in 2019, they acquired 3 acres of property adjacent to the winery to serve as a potential site for the extension of vineyards and countless new moments to be made.
Eleven Eleven Winery is now a boutique estate with nearly 3,500 square feet of unique indoor and outdoor tasting areas and lush grounds. The property is ideal for truly experiencing your moment and discovering Eleven Eleven wines.
We hope you’ll feel inspired to make your moment extraordinary whenever you drink our wines, visit our property, or simply see that special time on the clock. If you’d like to visit us, we welcome visitors by appointment daily from 10am-4pm. Cheers!