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The Elkhorn Peak Story


1983: Ken Nerlove purchase an old sheep ranch in Jamieson Canyon, South Napa. At this time there are no vineyards in Jamieson Canyon. The initial plan is to determine if high quality grapes can be grown in this experimental vineyard location. Ken decides to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a decision determined by the microclimate of this area: the early morning fog, cool, consistent temperatures and bay side breezes make this location especially well-suited for the growing delicate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

One acre of Chardonnay and one acre of Pinot Noir are planted on the south-facing, gentle rolling slope at the front of the ranch.


The vineyard thrives, and Ken expands the vineyard over the next several years to 8 acres. The grapes are grown and sold to high-end wineries across Napa Valley.


1992: Nearly 10 years after planting his first vines, Ken starts a label of his own: Elkhorn Peak Cellars. The grape grower begins to produce high-quality Pinot Noir with friend and Consulting Winemaker, Kent Rassmussen. Elkhorn Peak is named after the Elkhorn Peak Mountain. At 1336' Elkhorn Peak is the tallest mountain in Jamieson Canyon and is located directly behind our vineyards.

"The name of the mountain, as told to me by the 'old timers,' came from Elks being common to this beautiful mountain range many years ago." -Ken, Grower/Owner

TODAY: We farm 10 acres of premium Pinot Noir grapes on our Estate Vineyard. We produce 800 cases of Elkhorn Peak Cellars Pinot Noir from our estate vineyards. We are able to share our wine with our Wine Club and through sales from our website. We are very happy and have no plans to expand; the emphasis is on growing and making limited production, ultra-premium wines. Our fruit and our wine continue to be one of Napa’s best kept secrets.


Ken and Elise, Summer 2020. Photo by Lyda Studios.
Ken and Elise, Summer 2020. Photo by Lyda Studios.

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