Often referred to as America’s Doyenne of Sparkling Wine,
Eileen Crane has spent more than 30 years in the industry.
This makes her the most experienced Sparkling Winemaker
in the United States.
Eileen, Domaine Carneros' founding winemaker and president is equally at home in the world of food and fine dining. Raised with a keen appreciation for fine wines and haute cuisine, Eileen originally prepared for a culinary career, earning a master’s degree in nutrition followed by professional training at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.
After two years of teaching nutrition at the University of Connecticut, Eileen made the decision to turn her passion for wine into a profession, headed west, and enrolled in the U.C. Davis Enology and Viticulture program. Upon completion of her studies, she was hired by Domaine Chandon, where she progressed to the position of assistant winemaker.
The next move for the young winemaker involved a task that most lifelong veterans of the industry never undertake--building a winery. Hired as winemaker and vice president of Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves, she was entrusted with the dual responsibilities of overseeing the design and construction of the facility in addition to developing the line of sparkling wines.
It turned out to be an experience that served her well. Selected personally by Claude Taittinger for the position of President/Winemaker of Domaine Carneros, dedicated to producing world-class sparkling wines made in the French tradition from famed Carneros region grapes, Eileen oversaw the planning and development of the beautiful Carneros landmark chateau, vineyards and winemaking facility. In 2003, Eileen directed the planning and construction of Domaine Carneros' second winemaking facility, dedicated exclusively to the production of Pinot Noir wines.
It is understandable that Taittinger and Eileen Crane have joined forces as they share a common winemaking style. The elegant, delicate, yet intense style for which Taittinger is well respected is what Eileen strives for. No less surprising is the fact that the joint venture is located in Carneros. Carneros and Eileen Crane go together, as do Carneros and sparkling wine.
Carneros is famous for production of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, two key ingredients of a premium sparkling wine. An area blessed with a long, cool growing season, Carneros produces grapes which are particularly fine for sparkling wine as they have greater fruit maturity and produce wines with superb balance and a long finish.
In 1992 Domaine Carneros started producing small quantities of fine Estate Pinot Noir. The wines are appreciated for their great depth, balance and long silky finish. In 2003, Domaine Carneros completed a dedicated Pinot Noir Facility that incorporated the largest solar collection system on any winery in the world.
Eileen Crane is one of a handful of women who are now in the forefront of the wine industry in California. Recently recognized as one of the 75 Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times, Eileen is actively involved in numerous wine and civic organizations and is a past president of both the Carneros Quality Alliance and the California Classic Methods/Classic Varieties Society (CM/CV) and currently Chairs the Board of Napa Valley Hospice.