Ard Aven Winery is located on Willow Creek Road in Plymouth, CA, and is the featured winery on Saturday, May 21 at the Rancho Murieta Country Club’s Wine Night Dinner. A relative newcomer to Amador County, Ard Aven has already established itself as a successful father and “sons” operation.
“My three boys and I planted our first two acres of vines in 1996,” says Kirk Reuter, Owner/ Winemaker. “It has been great to work so closely with the boys and each one is finding his own niche at the winery.”
For some fathers, allowing their sons to take leading roles in a company they founded may be a difficult pill to swallow, but Kirk says watching his 25, 20, and 18-year-old sons excel at the winery has been a source of great pride for him. Together, Kirk and his sons Jonathan, Mathew and Nathen have grown their vineyard, from 2 – 7 acres which includes unique varietals of Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Primitivo, and Barbera.
“After working as a general contractor for over 30 years, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing right now,” says Kirk. “I’ve played and experimented with winemaking part-time for over 15 years, it was time to do it legally. I like everything about it, the vineyard, winemaking, and the people it attracts and most importantly, I like that I get to do it with my sons.”
Ard Aven is Expanding
Up until now Ard Aven has been having tastings by appointment only for groups of 6 or more. They are currently building a tasting room and will soon be able to offer the wine-loving public a comfortable, casual setting that is built into the hillside. As a contractor, Kirk is handling all of the design and construction of the project.
“It’s great because my oldest, Nathan, is handling the Marketing and Sales, Mathew, my middle son has taken over the vineyard and my youngest, Jonathan, well he’s still finishing high school, but intends to get a degree in Finance or something related to help on the business side of the operation,” explains Kirk. “I also have two nieces that are handling distribution in Florida and Colorado. I’d like to keep it in the family.”
Ard Aven – A Family Name
When asked how he came up with the name Ard Aven, Kirk explained that that too has family roots.
“I love the name of our winery. Ard Aven is Gaelic and comes from my boy’s mothers side of the family,” Kirk explains. “Her great-grandparents were from Ireland and they were extremely poor. Ard Aven means “high haven” and they changed their given name to this so they would feel more profitable and give themselves an element of hope.”
Paying it Forward
Ard Aven has already had an opportunity to give back some of the success they’ve achieved. In 2015 Kirk and the boys were asked to produce a label for the family of Danny Phillip Dietz, Jr., a United States Navy SEAL who was killed in the war in Afghanistan. He was posthumously awarded, the Navy Cross, the U.S. Navy’s second highest award for valor in battle.
“This request was the biggest honor and the whole event was humbling,” says Kirk. “It was a tragedy for the family, but the experience was good for my boys. Subsequently, we were asked to create a label for the Red Wing Team, honoring the other 19 SEALs and Night Stalkers that died at that time.”
Family dynamics in the work place can get to be a little tenuous at times, but the father/son team at Ard Aven seems to be handling it well.
“Family dynamics are heightened at times as you can imagine,” reflects Kirk. “But it also promotes greater loyalty, trust and love and they’ll often go the extra mile because they consider Ard Aven their heritage too.”