Farming is in Philippe Langner’s blood. Thanks to his world-traveling German father and Parisian mother, Langner spent his childhood and young adulthood learning in the fields of his family’s farms in Colombia and Zaire. He knew from a very early age that agriculture was his destiny, one that would lead him to double UC Davis Master’s degrees in Agronomy and Agricultural Economics.
During a long stint at Château Clarke in Bordeaux’s left bank town of Listrac, he would come to know the full cycles of the vine and wines intimately, and have the opportunity to work with luminaries like Jacques Boissenot and Michel Rolland at this stellar Rothschild property. Philippe’s family ties to the Rothschilds allowed him to enter the rarefied world of Bordeaux’ great Châteaux, which helped him develop benchmarks of excellence.
In 2000, Philippe further expanded his experience by spending a season of wine growing and harvesting in South Africa. But the California sun kept beckoning him to return. In 2001, Philippe returned to California, where he met the Sullivan Family in Rutherford in the Napa Valley. He was viticulturist and winemaker at Sullivan Vineyards for 8 years, starting in 2002.
Today Philippe has chosen to make his home and his life’s work in one place: a steep, rocky, 14-acre vineyard named Kitoko, the Congolese Lingala word for “beautiful.” This is the place he has chosen to fulfill his vision, combining his exacting knowledge of viticulture and his constant quest for precision—indeed perfection—in winemaking.
California’s persistent call is an inspiration for the name for his domaine. Hesperian, or “One of The West,” is a name that invokes the mythical garden of Hesperides, a blissful twilight orchard in the west where Hercules once tricked Atlas into helping him complete his eleventh labor.
Philippe lives and works at Kitoko Vineyard on Atlas Peak, and continues to consult on vitcultural and winemaking matters for select Napa Valley wineries.