Saddleback Cellars produces limited quantities of boutique wine in the Oakville AVA. Nils Venge grew up in Orange County before producing Saddleback Cellars’ first vintage in 1982. The winery was bonded the following year.
Before starting his venture, Mr. Venge worked at several top wineries for over a decade. These included Charles Krug, Sterling Vineyards, Villa Mount Eden, and Groth Vineyards. He continues to consult for Napa wineries such as Robert Keenan Winery, Del Dotto Winery, Plumpjack, Bacio Divino, and Moss Creek.
Nils Venge is quite well known in the valley, and has the distinction of being one of the few winemakers to receive a perfect 100 point score from Robert Parker. He received this rare accolade for his Groth Vineyards 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.
Saddleback currently has 17 acres of estate vines at their disposal. In addition to the Oakville property, they also sources grapes from several California AVAs. These include Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, Clarksburg, and Rutherford. Saddleback Cellars makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Viognier. Production is only about 4,000 cases a year.