Welcome to Elkhorn Peak Cellars, a hidden gem nestled in the southeast hills of the Napa Valley. As a family-owned and operated micro-winery, we take pride in producing exceptional wines in limited quantities, while maintaining a laid-back, non-pretentious approach to wine.
With our 8-acre vineyard established on a historic homestead, Elkhorn Peak Cellars is a labor of love led by the dynamic father-daughter duo, Ken Nerlove and Elise Nerlove. Since 1983, we have been quietly crafting world-class Pinot Noir and more, staying true to our roots and delivering wines that embody the essence of our south Napa Valley site.
With an annual production of less than 1,000 cases, our wines are truly exclusive. You won't find them in local restaurants or wine shops. Instead, we prefer to share the fruits of our labor directly with our loyal Wine Club members and through our website. We enjoy maintaining a personal connection with those who appreciate our handcrafted creations.
Elkhorn Peak Cellars is proud to be a Verified Napa Valley Micro-Producer.
Serving the Community
We are committed to preserving the legacy of small, family-owned farms in the Napa Valley. Since 2017, we have dedicated ourselves to serving on the Executive Committee of the non-profit Save the Family Farms. Our mission is to protect the livelihoods of these small, independent farms, ensuring they remain viable for future generations despite the increasing wave of corporate takeovers. In 2022, we achieved a significant milestone by successfully passing the Micro-Winery Ordinance in Napa County, a testament to our unwavering determination.
At Elkhorn Peak Cellars, we believe that greatness lies in attention to detail and a commitment to quality rather than mass production. We take pride in our deliberate choice to remain small, allowing us to focus on nurturing our small vineyard and meticulously handcrafting each bottle of wine.
Join us on this extraordinary journey as we continue to focus on the preservation of the family farm, and the production of limited-edition, ultra-premium Napa Valley wines. Elkhorn Peak Cellars is where passion, tradition, and exceptional craftsmanship intersect. Our fruit and our wine continue to be one of Napa's best kept secrets.
Meet the Team
GROWER & VINEYARD MANAGER
Meet Ken Nerlove, a seasoned grape grower whose passion for viticulture has shaped his life in the enchanting Napa Valley. With over four decades of experience, Ken's journey in the world of wine began in 1983 when he purchased the 28-acre parcel that would become Elkhorn Peak Cellars.
Driven by a thirst for knowledge, Ken pursued his education in Viticulture at the Napa Valley College in the 1980s, where he had the privilege of learning under the tutelage of Dr. Stephen Krebs. This invaluable mentorship laid the foundation for Ken's deep understanding of vineyard management and the art of cultivating exceptional grapes.
As Ken's expertise grew, so did his desire to give back to the viticulture community. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he became a partner to the NVCC Viticulture and Winery program, where he opened the doors of his own vineyard to aspiring students. Through hands-on vineyard training, he shared his knowledge and passion, nurturing the next generation of winemakers and grape growers.
Beyond the world of grapes, Ken's diverse interests showcase his zest for life. When he's not tending to the vines, you can find him immersed in his garden, cultivating a vibrant oasis of exotic roses. His love for restoration extends to antique pinball and slot machines, where he skillfully breathes new life into these nostalgic treasures. His passion for slots led him to launch Napa Slot Machines. And let's not forget his passion for classic cars, which provides him with an outlet for his mechanical prowess and appreciation for timeless beauty.
Ken Nerlove embodies the spirit of a lifelong learner, a visionary, and a guardian of tradition. His unwavering commitment to viticulture, coupled with his dedication to passing on his knowledge, has made an indelible mark on the Napa Valley community. Through his endeavors, he continues to shape the future of grape growing, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Allow us to introduce Faith Nerlove, Ken's dedicated partner and the bookkeeper at Elkhorn Peak. While she may often prefer to remain behind the scenes, Faith plays an integral role in ensuring the smooth operation of our business.
With meticulous attention to detail and a keen eye for organization, Faith keeps our financial matters in order, ensuring that Elkhorn Peak runs seamlessly. She takes charge of essential tasks such as bookkeeping, overseeing Wine Club shipments, and coordinating holiday gifts for our valued patrons.
During the bustling harvest season, Faith's presence can be felt as she eagerly lends a helping hand. Whether it's pulling nets or ensuring everyone's fed, her dedication knows no bounds. Those fortunate enough to taste her incredible sandwiches during these busy times are in for a treat.
Beyond her contributions to the family business, Faith finds joy in spending time with her beloved grandchildren and taking leisurely evening walks through the vineyard. These tranquil moments allow her to savor the beauty of the surroundings and further deepen her connection to the land.
Prior to dedicating herself full-time to the family business, Faith worked at Napa Valley Unified School District's Technology Department.
Faith was born and raised in Long Island, New York. She brings a vibrant mix of East Coast spirit and West Coast sensibility to her work. Her unwavering dedication, attention to detail, and nurturing nature make her an integral part of the Elkhorn Peak team.
The wines produced at Elkhorn Peak Cellars are done under the direction of Winemaker, Kent Rasmussen, one of the most respected Pinot Noir winemakers in the Napa Valley.
We met Kent in 1987 and developed a lasting friendship that goes beyond winemaking. Kent understands our philosophy around farming high quality, low yield fruit and really lets the growing style speak through our wine.
With an education from UC Davis and many years of experience, he has consistently helps us produce Pinot Noirs that we are extremely proud to share.
Fabian is a valuable member of our vineyard operations team. Having spent many years honing his skills in the vineyard industry, Fabian's invaluable expertise is a true asset to our team. We consider ourselves fortunate to have someone of his caliber working alongside us, contributing to the success of each harvest.
BUSINESS OPERATIONS & WINEMAKER
Introducing Elise Nerlove, a passionate advocate for wine, family heritage, and the preservation of Napa Valley's farming community. As the eldest daughter of Ken and Faith Nerlove, Elise's journey into the world of wine is deeply rooted in her upbringing and an unwavering commitment to her family's legacy.
Elise's initial foray into the wine industry began as the Associate Brand Manager at Gloria Ferrer, where her affinity for sparkling wine blossomed. IN 2018 she embarked she embarked on a transformative vineyard and cellar internship with famed Pinot Noir house, Failla in St. Helena in 2018.
Today, Elise proudly carries the torch for Elkhorn Peak Cellars, assuming various responsibilities with grace and finesse. As the manager of the Elkhorn Peak Wine Club, she fosters a vibrant community of wine enthusiasts while ensuring exceptional experiences for members. Elise also spearheads marketing and sales efforts, sharing the story and wines of Elkhorn Peak with a wider audience.
Working hand-in-hand with her father in the vineyard, Elise embraces the toil and intricacies of grape growing, nurturing the vines that bear the fruits of their labor.
In her spare time, Elise's commitment to community and the preservation of agricultural heritage remains steadfast. Through her involvement with Save the Family Farms, she fights ardently to secure a sustainable future for small-scale farmers, ensuring their voices are heard and their traditions endure.
Elise Nerlove's unwavering dedication, combined with her diverse skill set and profound love for wine and family, fuels her journey in the wine industry. With each step she takes, Elise leaves an indelible mark on the Napa Valley landscape, creating a legacy that intertwines tradition, innovation, and a passion for the land.
Lucas Nerlove is the youngest child of Ken and Faith Nerlove. Lucas's deep connection to his family vineyard, Elkhorn Peak, and the breathtaking landscapes of the Napa Valley have been instrumental in shaping his path as a visionary entrepreneur.
From an early age, Lucas demonstrated an innate understanding of the region's natural beauty, and his desire to create extraordinary outdoor spaces led him to establish Valley Yard Works in 2018.
What initially began as a landscaping and turf installation venture quickly evolved into a comprehensive enterprise dedicated to crafting remarkable outdoor retreats. Lucas and his team are driven by a shared commitment of meticulous attention to detail and unwavering craftsmanship. Their mission is to transform ordinary spaces into resort-quality landscapes that not only accentuate the inherent splendor of the surroundings but also serve as tranquil havens of luxury for their clients.
During the bustling spring months, Lucas eagerly lends a hand in the family vineyards too. His expertise in landscape construction and hands-on approach to problem solving is a tremendous asset to Elkhorn Peak. Usually seen behind the wheel of his mini excavator, Lucas skillfully maneuvers around our south Napa terrain, helping us with estate management and transport of many tons of grapes.
Lucas Nerlove's entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with his profound love for the land, has propelled him to success in the Napa Valley community. He work continues to leave an indelible mark on the Napa Valley landscape.
Introducing Maiel Forner, a dynamic and resourceful addition to the esteemed Elkhorn Peak team. Hailing from the rustic redwood forests of Humboldt County, Maiel's upbringing instilled in him a deep sense of self-sufficiency and a passion for sustainable living.
Growing up off the grid amidst nature's abundance, Maiel honed his skills in organic farming, food cultivation, and land management. His immersion in this unique environment nurtured his understanding of ecological balance and the importance of responsible stewardship. Maiel's commitment to environmental restoration led him to volunteer for a dedicated watershed restoration team, working tirelessly to restore old logging roads to their natural state, accelerating ecological recovery in the area.
Maiel pursued an education at Butte College, where he earned an Associate degree in Agricultural Science. Armed with this solid foundation, he embarked on a career path as a Farm Manager at a Cannabis Farm in Oregon, where he further honed his expertise in sustainable farming practices. This hands-on experience solidified his commitment to responsible agriculture and reinforced his passion for working in harmony with the land.
In 2021, the allure of Napa Valley beckoned Maiel, and he seized an opportunity to work as a Culinary Gardener at the world-renowned French Laundry restaurant, owned by the acclaimed Thomas Keller. Here, he immersed himself in the art of cultivating exquisite ingredients, enriching his knowledge and expanding his culinary perspective.
However, it was during the grape harvest at Elkhorn Peak in 2022 that Maiel's journey took an exciting turn. Assisting with the harvest awakened a deep connection to the vineyard and solidified his bond with the team. Now, Maiel proudly serves as the primary tractor operator at Elkhorn Peak, bringing his wealth of experience and expertise to the vineyard operations.