Peter and Patricia Kitchak, Proprietors, have been married for more than 30 years and have been seriously interested in wine for more than 25 years. They started collecting the world’s top wines in the mid 1980’s and have assembled a formidable collection of fine wines. They started making wines in 2005, purchasing grapes from a number of Napa Valley vineyards and a Russian River Valley vineyard that year, including grapes from Beckstoffer’s To Kalon vineyard. In 2006 they purchased the Lake Cynthia Vineyard just north of the town of Napa and east of the Silverado Trail. In 2007 they commenced construction of a home and barn on the site which they completed just prior to the 2008 harvest. The barn was converted to a winery, and a tasting room and a crushpad were added in 2010.
Kitchak Cellars is a truly family operation. The Kitchaks make the wine with Peter being the head wine-maker and doing much of the work as a "cellar rat.". Patricia is in charge of hospitality and she packs and ships all of our orders.
Lifetime residents of Minnesota prior to their move to California, the Kitchaks dreamed of owning a vineyard and making their own wine for years. Peter who has a J.D. (law) magna cum laude degree from the University of Minnesota also has a Certificate in Advanced Winemaking and Viticulture from the University of California at Davis. Patricia is involved in all aspects of the business. She will periodically provide club members with her favorite pairings and seasonal recipes. Peter is also a Commandeur in the San Francisco chapter of the Commanderie de Bordeaux, a society of Bordeaux wine aficionados and has also been a Chevalier in du Tastevin, an organization of wine connoisseurs interested in wines from the Burgundy region of France. He is a member of the Napa Valley Vintners Association and a member of the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association.
Ralph Bashioum, M.D., Cellar Master, is a highly regarded plastic surgeon, with a practice in Minneapolis. Ralph also has a Certificate in Advanced Winemaking and Viticulture from the University of California at Davis and is a past Commandeur in the Commanderie de Bordeaux. A long time, close personal friend of the Kitchaks, he, together with Peter Kitchak, is responsible for overseeing the winemaking and blending activities at Kitchak Cellars Winery and has been involved in the style definition and initial blends of Vivace and Scherzo from Kitchak Cellars. Often accused of spending too much time in the cellar (what else should a cellar master do?), Ralph who spends a significant amount of time helping out at the winery is passionate about insuring that Kitchak Cellars creates the finest wines available in America today.
Kian Tavakoli, Consulting Winemaker, a resident of Napa, is in charge of making all of the Kitchak Cellars Wines. Kian is also in charge of wine making at CrushPad, one of the largest small lot winemaking businesses in America. Kian, who has a degree in viticulture from the University of California, Davis, has served a winemaker at Clos Du Val where he ran their red wine program – including their highly-acclaimed reserve bottling. Before joining Clos Du Val in 1996, Kian spent four years learning cabernet winemaking at Opus One. With twenty years of winemaking, operations and viticultural experience, Kian brings an exceptional background and a stellar combination of sensory and production skills to Kitchak Cellars wines.
Jose Navarro, Vineyard Manager, is a long time resident of the Napa Valley who’s primary responsibility is as the supervisor of all vineyard activities at Kitchak Cellars' Lake Cynthia Vineyard. Jose has spent more than 2 decades in Napa Valley vineyards, much of which time was spent as a vineyard worker and then supervisor at the famed Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars under the legendary Warren Winiarski. Jose’s experience at Stag’s Leap (which is only a few miles north of our Lake Cynthia vineyard) has served him well to insure that the quality of our Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes remain among the very best in the United States. Jose is also responsible for visiting other vineyards from which we purchase grapes to insure the receipt of the highest quality grapes and to insure that appropriate and ecologically sensitive viticultural practices are employed.
Garrett Buckland is our Consulting Viticulturist. He is a Vice President of Premiere Viticultural Services and was born and raised in the Napa Valley. Garret received his B.S. in Viticulture and Enology with honors from the University of California at Davis in 2004. While at Davis he worked for Foundation Plant Services assisting with rootstock virus trials and for the Department of Plant Pathology assisting with mealybug transmission research for grape viruses. Mr. Buckland also serves on the Board of the Napa Viticultural Technical Group as president, Association of Applied IPM ecologists, Viticultural committee for the California Enological Research Association(CERA), and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association.