Eden Rift Appoints Craig Wyatt Vineyard Manager
Cienega Valley AVA, CA – Eden Rift, under vine since 1849, has appointed Craig Wyatt as Vineyard Manager. Located in the Cienega Valley AVA, in the shadow of the Gabilan Mountains, Eden Rift produces limestone-borne Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and old vine Zinfandel; the still-thriving Zinfandel block was planted in 1906. Established in 2016 by San Francisco native Christian Pillsbury, Eden Rift rose quickly in prominence among consumers and the trade for its terroir-driven wines. Wyatt joins a robust, talented team that includes Winemaker Cory Waller, a Hollister-native.
Previously, Wyatt held successful stints at Talbott Vineyards, in Monterey County, where for four years he was the Director of Vineyard Operations, and at Delicato Family Vineyards, where he was the Senior Viticulturalist. “After working in agriculture throughout the Central Coast of California for the past 22 years, I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to continue my career with such a historic and storied location as the Eden Rift property,” Wyatt says. “There are many more stories to be created and the wines that are produced from this property are a true statement of the passion by all team members in unison with the location. In my role as vineyard manager, I am responsible for vineyard operations for both long- and short-term planning while really aligning viticultural opportunities and land stewardship with the highest quality wines possible. I am looking forward to doing my part in continued success with the Eden Rift Vineyards team.”
Wyatt, a father of twin girls, age 10, grew up in Hollister. Hollister is the township closest to Eden Rift, and William Palmtag, who owned the property in the late 1800’s, was the mayor of Hollister at that time. Growing up near the Cienega Valley AVA informed Wyatt’s farming philosophy. “Respect the people you work with and the land you work on,” says Wyatt. “From a growing perspective, ultimately my goal is to achieve balance in the vine with the given uniqueness of the land and not push an ideology. With that, incorporate a long-term strategy in stewardship of the surroundings to promote not only vine health, wine quality and profitability but also the health of natural resources. And have the humility to learn from others and not take yourself too seriously.”
To learn more about Eden Rift, please visit www.edenrfit.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.