Steven Kent Mirassou

 

Most of my earliest memories are connected in one way or the other with my family’s business. When I was six I’d play in the vineyards across the street from our winery and I’d find the skulls of long-dead cows tangled up in weeds, and when I was eight years old I’d run through our fermentation cellar dwarfed by huge redwood tanks and drowning in the rich and mysterious aromas of fermenting Cabernet. At 13, I started working disgorging sparkling wine, sweeping out warehouses, and driving forklifts. It was about this time, too, that I truly became aware of my family’s history in the California wine business, 5-generations of working the land and making wine…longer than any other in America.

 

Being part of a family that settled in Santa Clara County in 1854 and stayed there got me itching to see other parts of the world, so I left for college and graduate school on the East Coast and didn’t come back to California to stay for 10 years. I studied literature and wrote a bit and read deeply in a few writers who seemed to see clearly into things and that is what I wanted to do when I was 18. The prospect of making wine didn’t occur to me, and I know I didn’t want to sell anything, most especially wine.

 

In 1992 my wife, June, and I came back to California from New Jersey with 2.5 kids and the need of a job. I started managing municipal street sweeping contracts for a small company and would occasionally get on a sweeper or power wash downtown parking garages. Traveling back and forth to Monterey through vineyards and strawberry fields to visit my mother stirred something inside. Maybe it was memories of childhood or some deep-seated affinity for growing things, but in 1996, I joined my father, and we started the Steven Kent Winery in the historic Livermore Valley.

 

Our first wines were very well received and were proof of our feeling that the Livermore Valley was as ideally suited as any growing area in the world to produce world-class Bordeaux varietals. Our brand grew, and I started making more and more different wines. The extraordinary quality of the 2007 vintage coupled with a hard-won sense of confidence in our vineyards and my winemaking offered me the opportunity to get back to that original impulse. In that year, Lineage was born.

 

Lineage is the wine that serves as my offering to the pioneering work that the previous generations of my family did, and a challenge to the next five generations of America’s oldest winemaking family to create ever-greater, ever-more-beautiful wine.

 

Steven Kent Mirassou,

6th-generation winemaker