Cristom Vineyards Announces the Addition of Daniel Estrin as Vineyard Manager & Co-Winemaker
Cristom Vineyards, one of the leading producers of Pinot Noir in the United States, is pleased to announce the hiring of Daniel Estrin as Vineyard Manager and Co-Winemaker. Estrin comes to Cristom from Littorai Wines in Sonoma County where he served as Associate Winemaker for the last 7 years. He joins a long-tenured Cristom winemaking team which includes winegrower-proprietor Tom Gerrie, and winemaker Steve Doerner. Estrin’s first day at Cristom will be July 15th.
Steve Doerner has been Cristom’s winemaker for 27 years, beginning with the brand’s founding in 1992, following a 14-year tenure as the first winemaker at Calera Wine Company in California’s Central Coast. Steve’s 41-year winemaking career began under the guidance of such Pinot Noir legends as Calera’s Josh Jensen and Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac. Over the years, Steve has tailored a very precise cellar approach for making wine from Cristom’s unique Estate Vineyards, one that is heavily laden in old-world traditions including whole-cluster fermentation with 100% native yeasts, no filtration, minimal racking, egg-white fining, and above all supporting a philosophy that the best wines are made in the vineyard. “We feel Steve has the best wines of his career yet ahead of him.” says Gerrie, “and we want to take the steps now to ensure that his legacy of winemaking for Cristom will stand for decades.”
Estrin, with a degree in wine and viticulture from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, comes to Oregon after an exceptionally well-rounded 15-year winegrowing career. He has enjoyed stellar stops along the way, first at Red Car in Santa Barbara, Craggy Range in New Zealand, Mount Langi in Australia, Domaine de la Cote in Santa Barbara, Bodega Chacra in Argentina, and more recently at Burn Cottage in New Zealand and Littorai Wines in Sonoma. Estrin’s background working with natural winegrowing legend Ted Lemon at Littorai and Burn Cottage, (Lemon, like Doerner, is a protégé of Seysses at Domaine Dujac), makes him a perfect fit to lead Cristom’s biodynamics program, which began in 2016. Cristom, a producer of Chardonnay since 1992, is also elevating its Chardonnay program and Daniel will bring expertise and leadership there. The Chardonnays he helped to craft at Littorai have been regarded as some of the best examples in the New World for many years.
“Coming to Cristom is everything I have always wanted” states Estrin. “Joining a team that holds the tenets of progressive farming close to their heart, while pursuing classic world class wine is something special and rare. I hope to bring all the tools that I have garnered in my career to help create a uniquely diversified farm at Cristom. By taking the farming to the next level I believe that I will also further elevate the quality and distinction of Cristom’s wines.”
“The addition of Estrin fits perfectly with our 100-year plan for Cristom Vineyards,” says Cristom CEO Steve Thomson. “It is a very European view of winemakers and winegrower as the steward of a house style, that allows vineyards to honestly express themselves consistently year after year and generation after generation, with less dependence on winemaking fads and marketing trends.” Adds Gerrie, “Adding Daniel to our team gives us a much more rigorous and demanding approach in the vineyards and cellars with me every day, elevating our quality even further across every area of production -- we cannot have enough talent there.”
Estrin joins a team deeply steeped in experience on the Cristom Estate. The present winemaking team of Gerrie, Doerner, Assistant Winemaker Andy Zorzi, and Cellar Master Spencer Pedemonte share a combined 66 years of experience on the Cristom Estate. The winery’s full-time vineyard crew, led by Foreman Salomon Orozco, possess an additional 137 combined years’ experience tending the Estate vines, which total 95 planted acres on the 240 acre estate. “Our vineyards require a minimum of 22 touches per vine, per growing season,” explains Gerrie. “The demands of building and running an integrated biodynamic farm are tremendous. Our focus, energy and attention to detail in the vineyard allows us to take a minimalist winemaking approach in the cellar. Daniel’s presence now allows Cristom to bridge winemaking more thoughtfully and with greater quality, from vineyard to cellar.”
Founded in 1992 by Paul and Eileen Gerrie, Cristom Vineyards began with a goal of growing world class Pinot Noir. 27 years later, second-generation winegrower and owner Tom Gerrie leads our winemaking and vineyard teams in tending our Estate vineyards and producing elegant, dynamic wines, recognizable by our hallmark style of whole-cluster fermentation by native yeasts. Cristom’s wines are sold in 49 states and more than 30 international markets around the world. Our flagship wine, the value-driven Mt Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir, was recognized in 2018 as the #1 Pinot Noir on America’s best wine lists by the Wine & Spirits Magazine Annual Restaurant Poll. Cristom Vineyards was the #10 winery overall in the 2018 restaurant poll.