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Ellie Anest
 
October 31, 2019 | Ellie Anest

Harvest Interview with Cellar Master, Scott Kirkpatrick

We’re in the midst of harvest here at Eleven Eleven! With any harvest, it takes an incredible team of people to come together, work cohesively, and create special wines for you to enjoy throughout the year. With that, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to take some time and sit down with our Cellar Master, Scott Kirkpatrick, to understand what it really takes to complete a successful harvest. This candid interview is one you won’t want to miss!

What does the Cellar Master do at Eleven Eleven?

A large portion of my job revolves around organization and communication. We do a lot of Custom Crush in our production, which means that we process, ferment, and age wines for several different winemakers and clients in the Napa Valley. I am the point of contact between our winemakers and our cellar crew, so I organize and manage all the work that is done throughout the year. I also work directly with our Associate Winemaker, Brett Weis, as well as our Winemaker, Kirk Venge, on making all of the Eleven Eleven wines. Of course, there are many other things that fall into the job like inventory database management, safety training, writing tasting notes for each wine, and much more. There’s never a dull moment!


How do you prepare your team for harvest?

There are obvious ways to prep for harvest like cleaning floors, drains, barrels, bins, and tanks, servicing machinery, fixing hoses, etc. All of those things are very necessary and keep us busy in July and August. However, I think the hardest and most important part of preparing for harvest is being prepared mentally. Once the fruit starts coming in, the days start to get long and it can be difficult to maintain one’s energy and positive attitude. So, we make sure that we have enough staff and make sure that they are fully aware of the hard work that is to come. Thankfully, Aurelien and Ellie are so good about providing us with resources to help keep us going whether it is a mid-harvest massage, weekly lunch or breakfast, aromatherapy sessions, and more.


What are your main priorities for a successful harvest?  

The number one priority is always the continued safety of our employees, as well as making sure they always feel supported and are given the tools they need to succeed professionally and personally. Outside of that, it is all about attention to detail. We have so many fermentations going on throughout harvest (over 150) and each one needs constant attention, so we have to be vigilant 24/7. If we end up with beautiful wines that we and our clients can be proud of, then I would say that it is a great success.


As the first employee of Eleven Eleven, what has been your most memorable moment over the past five years?

There have been so many special moments along the way. From the epic anniversary parties, an earthquake, wildfires, the last five harvests, bottlings, company trips, to even a company dance routine or two, Eleven Eleven is never short on special moments. However, the moments that have been most special to me have been smaller ones where I have been supported in difficult situations, made to feel valued, and accepted as family.


What is your favorite part of the job?

As physically and emotionally challenging as it is, my favorite part of this job, and winemaking in general, is harvest. There is a real beauty to having your life intrinsically tied to the natural world and the growth cycle of vines. The vines work so hard throughout the year to produce and ripen fruit, and we are called to honor that work by the vines (and the people tending them) and make it into incredible wine. With each harvest, we get to be a witness to the constant transformation which still feels very spiritual and magical to me every year. We get to see green growth transformed into fruit, fruit transformed by fermentation into alcohol, and then that alcohol is transformed into a delicious wine through secondary fermentation and aging. It is still thrilling for me to watch and be a part of this natural evolution.

Have you had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labor by joining us for a tasting? We invite you to book a tasting with us and experience the wines we’re fortunate enough to create each year through a lively, educational, and elevated tasting. Cheers to another successful harvest!

Time Posted: Oct 31, 2019 at 3:56 PM
Ellie Anest
 
September 20, 2019 | Ellie Anest

The Intersection of Wine and Art

The marriage of wine and art was paramount when we designed the winery to reflect our shared passion for the arts. When building our winery, we wanted to create an ambiance that stimulated the senses as much as the wine itself. Over the years, we have carefully curated pieces that embody our passion for the art of winemaking to enhance the guest experience. With that, we’re excited to introduce our featured artists and celebrate their immense talent.

1. Amy Koumaras

We are thrilled to be showcasing the vibrant paintings of Amy Koumaras in our Napa tasting room. A self-taught, San Diego-based artist, Amy’s unique story began as a child. Amy says of her art, “I have been creating my whole life. Growing up I was fascinated watching my mother paint portraits. I loved to sketch as a child for friends. Early on I was interested in designing men’s clothing and particularly loved creating classic pieces. I love the freedom and personal expression painting allows me. Painting makes me feel alive and it is quite magical to complete a piece.”

Her early work is centered on the sensuality and strength of the female form. Her “Women” series, shown in several of the pieces on display, reflects femininity in the postures and subtle nuances of the placement of a hand or the tilt of the head.

Amy later turned her attention to abstract work using bold colors to saturate the canvas. From fiery reds and oranges to pensive blues and greens, Amy’s work always centers on the many passions of the female spirit.  

Ellie Anest, Eleven Eleven co-Founder, met Amy through the San Diego Greek Community and, after realizing that they have family friends in common, developed a lasting friendship. Believing that her artistic style would lend itself to the creative design of the winery, Ellie invited Amy to showcase her paintings. Amy drove from San Diego to Napa with a van filled with her art to meet with Ellie and Aurelien Roulin - Eleven Eleven’s co-Founder - who carefully selected pieces to display throughout the property.

2. Michael Holmes

We were so honored to have partnered with celebrated Napa native, Michael Holmes, as our very first featured artist at the winery with a collection of his paintings.  Today, Michael’s talents are displayed in our Tasting Room through his one-of-a-kind floral designs which allow us to continuously recreate the space with varying sophisticated, dramatic and whimsical arrangements.  

Michael’s creations span an array of artistic formats ranging from oil painting and sculpting to interior, floral, and event design.  Early in his career, the artist community in the Napa Valley recognized Michael’s abilities in the art of fine oil paintings, and they took him under their wing, which allowed him to learn from and work with the area’s most prominent and recognized artists. Michael has been painting and sculpting for over 45 years.  

Michael’s vast creative energy at an early age also led to his success as a floral and event designer, becoming the proprietor of Napa Valley’s most successful and creative floral boutique before graduating high school. Michael’s love of fine art, nature, and textures are also a strong influence in his sophisticated but casual lifestyle in interior design. He has a knack for combining the unusual, reclaimed salvage, history, and nature, then creating a fresh aesthetic design that integrates the indoors with the outdoors. 

Ellie and Aurelien were introduced to Michael through Aurelien’s friends, John and Carol Euser. This serendipitous introduction resulted in a lasting relationship with this talented designer, artist, and businessman, who continues to be a great creative advisor to our winery.

3. Stephen Fitz-Gerald

As a result of his collaboration with the winery, Michael Holmes introduced us to the distinctive works of metal sculptor Stephen Fitz-Gerald whom Michael had featured in his gallery. 

Stephen’s work can be found in the sculptures featured throughout our winery property. His figurative works, though stylized using high-tech materials and construction techniques, retain an ancient flavor that he attributes to an early exposure in childhood to the Greek sculptures of antiquity.

In addition to sculpting, Stephen’s works extend to the design and fabrication of functional decorative arts - from furniture to jewelry to outdoor structures, which likewise embrace the intersection between art and wine. He says, “I live in wine country, North of San Francisco amid the bucolic vineyards and quaint pastoral settings which produce that essence so prized by common folk and connoisseurs alike; namely wine . . . There is a predilection of Mediterranean themes here in architecture and ambiance, and viticulture forms a focal point for many of the decorative arts.”

4. Aurelien Roulin

Last but certainly not least, our custom made Stave Room was created by none other than Eleven Eleven’s own co-founder, Aurelien Roulin. When we first purchased the winery property, there were many used barrels left behind that inspired Aurelien to repurpose and artistically incorporate them into our interior design.

Each barrel was dismantled, power washed, and treated -- then, like piecing together a puzzle, Aurelien started the creative process by putting a few variations of the staves together to determine our favorite design. He subsequently built a prototype of the stave curtains, sketched a structural design, and constructed and transformed the space into what is now referred to as the Stave Room.

As you move throughout the winery property you will see various ways the barrel stave design is incorporated using different materials, such as metal, on the front winery gate, grand winery doors, and in the barrel hall.

Whether you're a local or visiting us from out of town, we hope you stop in and experience not only our beautiful wines but the thoughtful ambiance we’ve carefully created to elevate your tasting experience.

Time Posted: Sep 20, 2019 at 4:38 PM
Ellie Anest
 
August 23, 2019 | Ellie Anest

The Perfect Day in Napa

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. 
 

Wine Tasting

Eleven Eleven Wines tasting room seating areaThere’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.

Eleven Eleven Wines private tasting roomIf 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.


Browsing Downtown

Makers Market store in Napa, CaliforniaAfter 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

A dinner in Napa, CaliforniaAfter 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 and Vine Rooftop Bar at the Archer Hotel in Napa, CaliforniaSky & 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!

Time Posted: Aug 23, 2019 at 10:22 AM
Ellie Anest
 
August 2, 2019 | Ellie Anest

Eleven Eleven Wine Portfolio

Our winery was founded on a shared passion for enriching life with friends, culture, great food, and wine. With the astute guidance and skill of our Winemaker, Kirk Venge, we craft high-quality, 100% single varietal wines that allow the true expression of the vineyard to shine through. Our grapes are sustainably farmed, and the wines are unfined and unfiltered.

Whether you’re enjoying the wines by themselves or with the perfect food pairing, sipping on a glass embracing a moment alone, or relishing in time with friends, our wines are the quintessential way to Make Your Moment®. With that, we’re excited to deep-dive into our portfolio of wines!

Destin Vineyard Rosé of Syrah
Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley

The Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley is home to some of the most iconic vineyards in the world because of the near-perfect weather conditions and terroir. Destin Vineyard was the second vineyard we acquired as a brand, after Laki’s Vineyard (more on this below!). For our most recent 2018 Rosé of Syrah, we loaded the grapes into our press and squeezed them gently in order to not give the wine too much color. By picking earlier than we would for our estate Syrah from the same vineyard, we caught the grapes at the perfect moment when there was a delicate balance of acid, energy, and flavor.

In the glass, scents of tangerines, strawberries, and white flowers are invigorating in their freshness. The palate reinforces this with a strong backbone of acidity and flavors of peach and grapefruit zest. It’s a beacon to those hot beach days and perfect afternoons spent outside eating your favorite appetizers!

 

Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc
Rutherford, Napa Valley

If it’s possible for a wine to be fun and serious at the same time, then our Sauvignon Blanc embodies this duality. This bright, vibrant wine captures the essence of summertime. The delicious aromas of key lime and honeydew blend seamlessly with the invigorating scents of fresh jasmine and sweet pea flowers. Its refreshing quality continues on the palate where a focused acidity awakens the senses to find mouthwatering flavors of citrus zest. A beautiful floral quality stays for the entirety of the long finish. Like a long walk through fields of flowers and fruit trees, this wine will lift your spirits!



Dutton Ranch Chardonnay
Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

Our Chardonnay quickly became a house favorite due to its concentration and purity. Dutton Ranch, located in the Russian River Valley, is just shy of 15 miles as the crow flies, from the Pacific Ocean. This vineyard is so special because it is dry farmed, and the location allows the wines to show the distinct variation of micro-climates inherent of this famed wine-growing region. On the nose, this wine smells like Anjou pears, fresh herbs, and warm sunshine. Coupled with the mouth-watering acidity of fresh Golden Delicious apples, this barrel-fermented wine boasts an incredible richness that balances out the acidity and delights the palate. The distinct flavor lingers for an extremely long and enjoyable finish, while the bright acidity assures this wine will age well for years to come.


Bacigalupi Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

Heart-shaped and roughly 15 miles wide and tall, the Russian River Valley occupies a “sweet spot” that's cool, but not too cold. In the growing season, warm daytime temperatures plummet when fog regularly intrudes from the Petaluma Gap to the south and the Russian River to the west. Our Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir grapes were fermented without the addition of commercial yeasts, allowing the wine to naturally reveal what is so special about this vineyard. The inviting aromas of cherry pie, black plums, and dried rose immediately please the senses. On the palate, this Pinot Noir accentuates a core of dark fruit and cherry cola blended seamlessly with a soft acidity that extends the pleasure of each sip. This versatile wine is perfect for a gathering of friends whether seated at a formal dinner or around a campfire.



Laki’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley

Laki’s Vineyard was the first vineyard we acquired under the Eleven Eleven brand. From the powerful wines of 2013 to the low yields and bright wines of the 2015 vintage, each year has its own nuances while maintaining the core of beautiful dark fruit that makes this Cabernet Sauvignon the cornerstone of our portfolio. Multiple layers of lush fruit carry through the palate showcasing flavors of sweet black plums, boysenberry, and pomegranate that are intricately woven together by soft, velvety tannins. With delicious fruit flavors so lavishly displayed, this wine is approachable yet formidable with all the heft and structure needed to age. Whether poured to stand-alone or paired with a hearty meal, this wine is an occasion in and of itself.


Destin Vineyard Syrah
Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley

The Destin Vineyard lies at the foot of the Vaca Mountains outlining the eastern edge of the Napa Valley. Each year we designate a few of this vineyard’s best rows for our limited production estate Syrah. This dark-hued, multi-dimensional wine invokes aromas of exotic spices and white pepper followed by layer after layer of dark fruit. The flavors on the palate are a bountiful combination of delicious dark fruit with smoked meat, black pepper, and cedar. This gorgeous Syrah slowly unfolds in the glass while the unveiling of flavors and firm tannins allow it to age when cellared properly. Whether poured now or in years to come, this wine makes a lasting impression.

Looking for more? Have you visited our Napa tasting room yet? If you’re local or visiting the Napa area, we welcome you to book an appointment in our beautiful, artfully designed tasting room and get the full Eleven Eleven Wines experience. We offer three tasting experiences that make for the perfect way to begin your journey up valley or to visit on the way back into Napa. Our wines are also available for purchase online, here. We hope you have the opportunity to enjoy our wines as much as we do, and we look forward to hosting you in the tasting room!

Time Posted: Aug 2, 2019 at 9:18 AM
Ellie Anest
 
June 27, 2019 | Ellie Anest

History of Eleven Eleven Wines

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!

Time Posted: Jun 27, 2019 at 4:55 PM