Wesley Steffens

Estate Director/Associate Winemaker, Vineyard 7 & 8


Wesley started out at The French Laundry and was once a harvest intern and then a cellarmaster. Now he’s made his way up Spring Mountain to Vineyard 7 & 8.

How many years have you been in the Napa Valley wine industry?

12 years.

How did you get started in the wine business?

When I moved to the valley in 2001 after graduating culinary school and joining the team at The French Laundry, things were starting to take shape in concept of what my family wanted to eventually create with what has become Vineyard 7 & 8.

Which wine was your "a-ha!" wine – the one that made you love wine or inspired you to get into the industry?

I would say more there have been a few estates/producers that have inspired and continue to inspire me today - Arajuo Estate, Spottswoode Estate, Harlan Estate.

Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.

The Spottswoode family. I admire them for their grace and humility, and their focus of crafting the very best wines they can while maintaining a world class family-run wine business.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

Crafting something with my hands from the land, that takes so much love, attention and care, and can be shared and enjoyed by others. Being able to live and work in a community so focused on supporting each other, helping each other succeed, so conducive to raising a family. Helping my family build something so very special with Vineyard 7 & 8.

Our motto at the NVV is "cultivating excellence." What does this phrase mean to you and how do you cultivate excellence at your winery?

Cultivating excellence is so much more than just making great wine. It is creating the whole experience for the guest from start to finish, from the moment they are introduced to your wines, well past the time they pull a bottle from their own cellar to enjoy with friends and everywhere in between. It’s about respecting self, neighbor and place.

How does your winery help tell the Napa Valley story?

At Vineyard 7 & 8 we focus on crafting site-specific wines that highlight a sense of place that is our specific property on top of the mountain.

What advice would you offer someone trying to get into the Napa Valley wine industry?

Come in with unbridled passion and willingness to learn, and never stop learning. Be ready for challenges and setbacks, and enjoy the rewards and successes. Surround yourself with an incredible team, and be humble in what you can and cannot do. When you fall down, get back up. Taste, taste, taste, then taste again. In the end, truly enjoy the ride because it doesn’t get much better.