The Wine Shepherds

 Debbi & Jess Knauft, wine shepherds

Debbi & Jess Knauft, wine shepherds

Barrel Pict.jpg
 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 the foothills of San Diego where I began to grow grapes and make wine as a hobbiest. When we moved to the coastal Los Angeles area I continued my wine making on an ever increasing level of sophistication - with grapes being sourced from across coastal & southern California.

As my wife, Debbi, was recovering from cancer treatments, she exhorted me: "Don't wait till you retire to follow your dream." She is very encouraging and optimistic and wants people to follow their passions and live a life of purpose. 

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. 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. 

Our passion is to celebrate life, enhance relationships and ignite hope for a better future. 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 causes in our local community that ignite hope.including: 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.