We are family-owned and operated, producing less than 1,000 cases of wine a year. We share our wine with our wine club members, through our website, and our wines are available in a handful of restaurants in the Napa Valley. We have no plans to go big; the emphasis is on growing and making limited production, ultra-premium Napa Valley wines. Our fruit and our wine continue to be one of Napa's best kept secrets.
Ken Nerlove has been growing grapes in the Napa Valley since 1983. He studied Viticulture at the Napa Valley College in the 1980's under Dr. Stephen Krebs, and eventually went on to become a partner to the NVCC Viticulture and Winery Technology program, hosting students at the vineyard for hands on vineyard training through the 1990s and early 2000s. Ken has always made it his mission to fight for the rights of the small producers in Napa. Most recently he holds an Executive Committee position for Save the Family Farms Napa Valley.
When he's not growing grapes, Ken can be found in his garden, restoring antique pinball and slot machines or working on classic cars.
All of 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.
Elise Nerlove Rutchick
CO-OWNER & JACK OF ALL TRADES
Elise Nerlove Rutchick is the eldest daughter of Ken and Faith Nerlove. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Business from San Francisco State University, and began her career in corporate marketing for the food industry before coming back home to wine in 2014. Elise worked as the Associate Brand Manager at Gloria Ferrer for three years, where she developed a passion for sparkling wine. In Spring of 2017 Elise took a vineyard/cellar internship position at Failla Wines in St. Helena, CA. Following the internship, Elise enrolled in classes at the Napa Valley Junior College to study viticulture. Elise is also studying enology and winemaking under the direction of Kent Rasmussen and Barbara Spelletich. Elise manages the Elkhorn Peak Wine Club, handles all of the marketing and sales, works in the vineyard alongside her Father, and is Elkhorn Peak's Assistant Winemaker.
In her spare time, Elise is an Executive Committee member for Save the Family Farms, fighting for the rights of small farmers in Napa Valley.
Faith is Elkhorn Peak's bookkeeper, and helps with Wine Club shipments and holiday gifts. Before she worked full time for the family business, Faith worked at the Napa Valley Unified School District's Technology Department.
Lucas is the youngest child of Ken and Faith Nerlove, and has a passion for plants. He runs his own landscaping company in Napa and helps out in the vineyards during the busy spring months and during harvest.
Monte is our 10 year old chocolate lab, and Elkhorn Peak's official winery dog mascot. Monte's hobbies include chasing turkeys and rabbits out of the vineyard and sleeping. His favorite time of the year is harvest. Monte reached stardom with a feature in the Winery Dogs of Napa Valley book, which we (of course) sell on our website here.
Interview with Ken & Elise, 2016.