Eleven Eleven Winery
Napa Valley AVA
A glorious example of what is possible through vision and friendship
This exceptional winery had its birth on an Air France international flight from Paris to Los Angeles in 2010. A Frenchman, Aurelien Roulin, and an American, Ellie Anest, met and discovered a mutual passion for wine and a desire for creating extraordinary experiences for others. A friendship was quickly formed that morphed into the creation of Eleven Eleven Winery, our Diamond Wine Club selection for this quarter.
To start with, the numbers eleven eleven on a digital clock are usually referred to as the 'make-a-wish' minute. In the case of Eleven Eleven Winery, the numbers are meant to signify the time when all moments and elements come together, when the viewer takes stock of everything happening and enjoys the people they are with at that time.
According to Ellie Anest, the winery's label is meant to be "a representation of time. It is always eleven eleven somewhere and that means something special to someone. It is all very personal."
Aurelien Roulin's interest in wine traces back to his family who has been in the business for many years. Ellie Anest's father was a Nebraska farmer of Greek origin and both families tightly embraced the food and culture of their respective backgrounds. Wine was an integral part of their family lives and each family meal included wine and good friendship from everyone.
At one point, a supporter was brought in as an investor. Carol Vassiliadis was a friend (she attended San Diego State as did Ellie Anest) as well as a noted philanthropist who solidified the new winery project. Together, the three combined their business expertise and the Eleven Eleven Winery became a reality.
Several real estate projects were brought together including a remarkable property called Laki's Vineyard House in Napa Valley. The house became the cornerstone and eventually the winery site for the new endeavor. A custom crush facility was added to provide cash flow for the new winery entity that now boasts more than twenty clients who utilize the resource. At present, four vineyard properties are owned by the entity and additional grapes are sourced from topmost quality vineyards (including Dutton Ranch, and Bacigalupi Vineyard, both from the Russian River Valley AVA). The Oak Knoll AVA where Eleven Eleven Winery is located is among Napa Valley’s premier appellations and the source of the winery’s estate releases.
Highly regarded Napa Valley winemaker Kirk Venge (a University of California Davis enology graduate from the celebrated Napa Valley winemaking family) became the new entity’s winemaker. Co-owner Aurelien Roulin had an ongoing relationship with Venge who jumped at the chance to be the new winery’s first winemaker. “I had met Kirk in 2006 and had great respect for his accomplishments,” recalled Roulin. “When I met him at another time and told him about Eleven Eleven, he insisted on becoming our winemaker. It was just another example of what we call serendipitous significance in our winery’s development.”
The first release of around 830 cases of Eleven Eleven Winery came in 2014. Needless to say, Eleven Eleven winery was an instant success with a high number of scores and awards given to its incredible offerings since inception.
“We understood what a competitive market the wine industry was,” added Ellie Anest. “We knew that we were both hard workers and shared a clear vision of what we wanted to accomplish. We fit well together and our winery’s success is our passion personified.”
Eleven Eleven is still a boutique operation with a production of around 3,000 cases. “We intend to grow at a slow rate,” informed Aurelien Roulin. “It is our hope to grow to the 5,000 case-level, but we have set no timetable for that to happen.”
Eleven Eleven Winery is a glorious example of what is possible through vision and friendship. That three individuals from varying backgrounds could join together to produce wines at the most celebrated levels in the motivated atmosphere that is Napa Valley is another thing all together. To say that the three co-owners are having a ball might be an understatement.
“We all have great respect for each other,” concluded Roulin. “We all saw the opportunity the winery presented and decided to go for it. It hasn’t been all that easy and we still have a way to go, but all the signs are encouraging.”
It is our pleasure to present this wonderful winery to our Diamond Wine Club members. We are sure you will continue to read about Eleven Eleven and enjoy its wines for a long, long time to come.
Map of the area
Kirk Venge - Winemaker
Winemaker Kirk Venge is one of the most recognized and sought after winemakers in Napa and Sonoma. He is the owner and winemaker of Venge Estate Vineyards and the new label, Croix Estate, in addition to being the consulting winemaker for several boutique producers including B Cellars, Bacio Divino, Janzen, Beau Vigne, Hunnicutt Wines, Macauley Vineyard, and Renteria Wines.
Growing up in Rutherford, in the heart of Napa Valley, Kirk comes from a long line of winemakers dating back to his great grandfather. His winemaking focus has always been "vineyard first" and at Eleven Eleven Winery, he can utilize his best skills and creativity to show off the prime real estate with compelling wines.