August 18th – Cienega Valley AVA, CA – Eden Rift, under vine since 1849, has placed in the esteemed Top 100 Wineries of the Year list, published by leading wine publication, Wine & Spirits. Among other noteworthy wineries included in the list are Domaine de Bellene (Burgundy), Bollinger (Champagne), Domaine Fournier (Languedoc), Selbach-Oster (Mosel), Ornellaia (Tuscany), Elena Fucci (Basilicata), Tempos Vega Sicilia (Ribera del Duero), Chateau Musar (Lebanon), Drew Family Wines (North Coast/CA), Corison (Napa Valley, CA) and Nicolas-Jay (Oregon).
Acquired in 2016 by San Francisco native, Christian Pillsbury, Eden Rift rose quickly in recognition among discerning wine drinkers, sommeliers, and retailers, for their limestone-borne pinot noirs and chardonnays. “This accolade is especially meaningful to us, as we hold Wine & Spirits magazine in very high regard. They assume reader intelligence, consistently offering elevated, well-written content for a broad range of wine lovers, from the curious entry-level wine customer to the seasoned collector. To be included in their list of top 100 wineries is humbling for a brand as relatively young as ours, but absolutely indicative of where we believe we are taking it.” says Pillsbury.
Located in the Cienega Valley AVA, which straddles both Monterey and San Benito counties, Eden Rift is also home to one of California’s oldest Zinfandel plantings, established in 1906. More recently, the estate team has devoted a small, three-acre planting to syrah, grenache and mourvedre. Winemaker and Hollister native, Cory Waller, who tenured under Josh Jensen at Calera, among other pinot noir makers of note, focuses his efforts on shepherding wines of place, highlighting natural acidity, balance, freshness, structure, and a compelling textural profile.
The Eden Rift tasting room is located inside the estate’s Dickinson House, designed by Walter Burley Griffin, a devotee of the Prairie School and close associate of Frank Lloyd Wright. Built in 1906, it is a true representation of Prairie School architecture from the early 20th century. An aesthetic born in opposition to mass production and assembly-line manufacturing, the Prairie School advocated for “organic architecture”; that a structure should look as if it grew organically from the ground upon which it was built.
To learn more about Eden Rift, please visit www.edenrift.com
About Eden Rift
The land known today as Eden Rift has been under vine since 1849. For well over a century, its limestone- and dolomite-rich soils have passed through the hands of fearless pioneers, each with their own bold viticultural obsessions.
In 1830, a French wine merchant, Theophile Vache, came to the United States from Bordeaux by way of Cape Horn. In 1849, while California was still under the Mexican flag, he ventured from Monterey to the Cienega Valley and planted a small vineyard on this site. In 1883, Vache’s neighbor, William Palmtag, then the mayor of Hollister, bought the estate from Vache and, under the name, Palmtag Mountain Vineyards, elevated the wines being made there; so much so that his wines swept fine wine categories in both national and international wine competitions of the day.
By 1906, under the dual ownership of Captain Jules Jacques St. Hubert, a winemaker, and a Chicago grain broker named John Dickinson, the estate was transformed further when Dickinson made a commitment to his homestead by adding a residence to the property. He hired Walter Burley Griffin, perhaps best known as the partner of Frank Lloyd Wright, to custom-design the Dickinson House, which today serves as the residence of Eden Rift proprietor, Christian Pillsbury.
Long fascinated by early California history, and by the Prohibition-Era, Pillsbury was in part drawn to this land by its rich, nuanced history. Among his private collection of early Cienega Valley artifacts are old labels and articles about the Valliant label, which for years thrived at this site under the stewardship of Hiram Walker, the international spirits house. The estate was later owned by the Gimellli family, Italian immigrants who brought to the estate a fanciful, “new country” aesthetic.
Prior to acquiring the estate, Pillsbury and his team performed extensive research on the land; the soil aspects, diurnal swings, wind patterns, micro- and macro-climates of each block… and concluded that the calcareous, limestone rich soils would be best suited to pinot noir and chardonnay. A serious, unflinching winegrower, he has invested great emotional and financial resources to strengthen Eden Rift’s place in the continuum of California’s winemaking lineage.