The Wine Shepherds

Debbi & Jess Knauft, wine shepherds

Debbi & Jess Knauft, wine shepherds

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Colegio Prosperidad

Colegio Prosperidad

Jess Knauft

I got interested in wine making in the early 1990s, while living in northern California. My mentor was a retired chemist from Wente Brothers.

In the mid-1990’s I moved to Southern California where I began to grow grapes and make wine in the garage.

One of the advantages of learning in a garage environment is encountering wine flaws and faults on a small scale. You can literally fail your way to success! 

When we moved to Torrance, California I continued my wine making on an ever increasing level of sophistication - with grapes being sourced from across coastal & southern California.

I dreamed of becoming a professional winemaker when I retired.

My garage was taken over with wine related equipment. After 20 years, my hobby had gotten out of control and was consuming our personal space!

My loving wife exhorted me: "Don't wait till you retire to follow your dream. Either take it seriously or let it go as a hobby!"

To make a long story short, it was then that I reluctantly decided to give away most of my equipment. I cut my wine barrels in half for my wife to use as garden planter boxes. It was time to take this dream seriously and take it to the next level.

With mentoring help from friends and professionals like Greg Allen (Cuatro Dias Wines) and Signe Zoller (Zoller Wine Styling), my wife and I bought our first 2 tons of grapes in 2013 from the John Sebastiano vineyard in Santa Rita Hills. Our Kinship Winery was realized!

Debbi Knauft 

I am the support behind the mind (Jess) for wine. With my background in chemistry, organizational leadership and business development, we make a good team. After I was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 I clearly understood that waiting until someday to do what you love may never come. As a result, Kinship Winery came into being. 

We operate Kinship Winery with a business as mission model. We are partnering with a school in Guatemala to transform the lives of vulnerable children and to break the poverty cycle. Your purchase of Kinship wines helps us to provide basic needs, education, nutrition, nurture and development, training, and opportunities for the children to know the love of Christ. You are invited to join us on our next mission trip to Guatemala!  For more information or to sponsor a child, go to

We support The Foundation for Living Beauty, a 501(c)3 organization that provides women who have received a cancer diagnosis with support, education and retreats as they navigate their cancer journey and the Cancer Support Community of Redondo Beach. As a cancer coach and advocate, I am available to come alongside you in your cancer journey through my coaching business.