If an image is worth a thousand words, how much more so is the experience of a taste? Wesley Steffens has combined his passions for photography and viticulture in a unique endeavor dubbed Correlation Wine Company. “Photography has given me so much,” says Steffens. “It’s allowed me to see the Napa Valley in a whole new way.”
Slim, sporting a trim beard, short hair, and a ready smile, Steffens began his journey into winemaking in 2001 after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America. A Napa native, Steffens made the rounds after graduating from the CIA, first working at The French Laundry, then at Harlan Estate and BOND wineries in Oakville before returning to the family winery, Vineyard 7 & 8, on Spring Mountain. In 2014, Wesley and his wife, Jess, sought to sculpt a brand in their own image after their vision of Napa, combining their strengths and their passions into a singular project that would at once portray what they love and appreciate so much about their home.
“Great wine, great photography, and the infinite ways to capture this amazing world in Napa Valley, those are the ‘Correlations’ I am to portray by way of my camera,” explained Wesley, emphasizing the deliberate manner in which the name had been selected. Joining forces with winemaker Martha McClellan, the Steffens’s seek to offer wines that stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
“I am finding my voice as a brand, our origin story with Correlation Wine Co, the journey that has led me to where I am today, the passions I am thankful to tie together and use as a way to elevate both my wine and photography, with the ultimate goal of bringing pleasure to those on the other side,” explained Steffens. “Whether it be a customer enjoying a bottle of wine we’ve produced or someone enjoying a photograph I’ve taken. These are directly related, and part of what I believe makes Correlation Wine Co and Correlation Photo a unique connection as brands in Napa Valley.” And why not? It only makes sense that a place known for its intense natural beauty and phenomenal wines might be embodied in a single entity, celebrating that beauty in numerous art forms.
Steffens knows that standing out as a wine producer in Napa is no easy feat, but he embraces the challenge and believes that his unique combination of passions and talents offers the consumer something they didn’t have before.
“There are so many incredible wines,” acknowledged Steffens. “As a wine consumer, there’s never been a better time to enjoy wine. As a brand, that crowded sea can be difficult to navigate.” But syncing images of the stunningly beautiful Napa Valley with the aromatic, flavorful wines that brought it world renown, Correlation Wine Company entices more of the senses than most wineries, and in a manner both genuine and organic. Asked what sets Correlation apart, Wesley replied: “I believe it’s being authentic, being transparent, being passionate, and offering an intriguing story that is unique to you.” The correlation between Wesley’s talents and the quality of his wines is undeniable. Taste Correlation Wines at The Wine Thief in downtown Napa, or visit Wesley in person at Vineyard 7 & 8, where his photography is on display.