I remember that the Gabilan Mountains to the east of the valley were light gay mountains full of sun and loveliness, and a kind of invitation, so that you wanted to climb into their warm foothills almost as you want to climb into the lap of a beloved mother.
- John Steinbeck
Located just 20 miles from the Monterey Bay, Eden Rift is the oldest continually producing vineyard in California. Planted in 1849 by Theophile Vache, the 120-acre estate rests on the San Andreas Faultline and is part of the Cienega Valley AVA. The winery is located just two miles from famed Pinot Noir producer Calera, whose founder Josh Jensen sought out the limestone and dolomite-rich soils. Before Josh, early vintners procured some of the first Pinot Noir planting in California at Eden Rift beginning in 1860. Post prohibition, the focus on Pinot Noir & Chardonnay was lost until Christian Pillsbury acquired the estate in 2016. Christian assembled a team of young industry professionals starting with winemaker Cory Waller to once again create some of California’s most vivid energetic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The extreme terraces and diverse terroir in a single contiguous valley make California’s oldest estate vineyard its most exciting new project.
For over 150 years, the Eden Rift site has been an inspired source of enological experimentation. Located at the foothills of the Gavilan Mountain Range, Eden Rift sits atop the San Andreas Fault, and is comprised of limestone-rich, calcareous deposits running through granitic, sandy beds of loam. These dramatic, nearly inhospitable soils have challenged any number of grape varieties.
Over time, we have learned that the varieties most ideally suited to this singular confluence of soils and maritime-influenced micro- and macro-climates are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Pinot Gris.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay seem especially simpatico to this estate site, and it is through these two transparent varieties that we have found the most honest and pure expression of terroir at Eden Rift.
Plantings per Acreage:
Pinot Noir: 89.71 acres under vine, with approximately half (43 acres) currently producing. The plantings highlight the Mt. Eden, Swan and Calera heritage clones, as well as Pommard (4) and "Dijon" clones 115, 667, 777 and 828.
Chardonnay: 22.5 acres under vine, with 16 acres currently producing. Clonal selections are focused on Calera, Wente 4 and 72, as well as "Dijon" clone 76.
Zinfandel: 0.7 acres under vine of own-rooted, head-trained Zinfandel, planted in 1906.
Pinot Gris: 3.3 acres under vine of clone 9 on terraced hillside.
Meet the Team
Wine Club & Tasting Room Manager
Assistant Vineyard Manager