Winemaker, Pellet Estate
Nils Timeline in Winemaking
1970 - Nils was a vineyard supervisor in charge of planting operations at Charles Krug Winery.
1972 - Nils was hired as co-vineyard manager in charge of 400 acres at Sterling Vineyards.
1973 - Nils took over operations at Villa Mount Eden as General Manager and Inception Winemaker. He made two Cabernet Sauvignons, the 1974 and 1978, which not only put Villa Mount Eden on the map, but are still talked about today.
1976 - Nils and his father-in-law purchased the property now known as Saddleback Cellars.
1982 – 1993 Nils moved westward in Oakville as a minority partner with Dennis Groth and formed Groth Vineyard where he resumed a position of general manager and winemaker. Here is where his expertise as winemaker became known worldwide when Robert Parker, Jr. gave the 1985 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve a perfect score – 100 points! The first ever given to a California wine.
Also in 1982 Nils produces his first label Saddleback Cellars to be released in 1983.
1988 - Nils earns the title "King of Cab." The release of the 1985 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve earns a perfect score! Robert Parker grants the first ever 100pts to a California wine.
1993 - Nils leaves Groth winery so that he can focus on Saddleback Cellars and consult for other wineries.
Country born: Usa
Education: Nils enrolled at the University of Davis where he went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Viticulture with a minor in Enology in 1967. When he returned to Southern California, Nils enrolled at L.A. State College to work toward a degree in International Business Law.
Years in the wine industry: 30+ years
Known as “The King of Cabernet,” legendary winemaker Nils Venge has been making stellar Cabernet Sauvignon, along with many other varietals. Nils’ philosophy on making wines is that they must reflect the best qualities that Napa Valley has to offer; sometimes a single vineyard, sometimes a single appellation, or a blend of appellations to make the best wine in a particular vintage. Despite his reputation as “The King,” Nils is a down-to-earth, cheerful, full-of-life kind of guy whose wines not only reflect the character of their region, but also seem to reflect his personality – bold, yet approachable, friendly and fun yet with layers of complexities.