Kent Rasmussen Winery
Celia Ramsay and Kent Rasmussen
Kent Rasmussen and wife, Celia Ramsay, have been making wine in the Napa Valley since 1986. Unlike most wineries in the Napa Valley, they never wanted to have a public presence in the form of a tasting room, but sell their wines in Bay Area & California restaurants & stores, and in 27 other states. Famous for the Kent Rasmussen and Ramsay brand wines, and best known for making "purely poetic Pinot Noir", the couple raised their family of four on the Silverado Trail property.
The kids grew up and fledged the nest, and Kent and Celia realized they longed for a more urban life. They moved their winemaking operations to another family-run facility owned by their long-time friend, Stefano Migotto in Napa. Then they bought a home in Berkeley. With a very reasonable reverse-commute to Napa, Kent is happy to be back in the southern end of the Napa Valley, especially since his original winemaking start was in the Napa-Carneros.
Kent's passion for winemaking is as strong as ever. He has often stated that the unfortunate truth about wine is that you only get one chance a year to make it; he jokes, "I think I'm finally figuring out how it all works!" While Kent has been in love with winemaking for decades now, he says that he has, in recent years, come to respect the enological process even more because wine is the sort of agricultural (and cultural!) product that the world needs. He says that there are few foodstuffs that naturally fill the bill of being sustainable and generally organic in their usual form. Grapes and wine are both of these. It isn't hard to grow grapes completely organically. As far as sustainability goes, grapes take almost nothing from the soil and grow year after year after year with just the little fertilizer that a good cover crop can provide.
Kent's newest passion is his new Berkeley house-a Maybeck-designed home that was once owned by the Alfred Kroeber family. (Alfred Kroeber was the anthropologist famous for his work with Ishi, the last of the Yahi people of the Lassen area of California.) For those of you who are fantasy/sci-fi fiction fans, it is the house that Ursula K. LeGuin grew up in, and she claims the house made her into a writer.
Celia still handles the winery compliance and has picked up an old thread in her life-music. She's becoming well known in the Bay Area music scene as a vocalist, studio artist and songwriter, singing both traditional folk music and 1940s style Jazz. She has two bands that she works with: Luxury Edition for Jazz, and Glamourie for Celtic-flavored folk. Celia continues to work as a professional dance teacher from Ukiah to Monterey "calling" the New England style form called Contra Dance.
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