Mount Eden Vineyards


  • "Mount Eden is one of the United States’ great heritage estates. The Chardonnays and Pinots have a track record for aging spectacularly well. As outstanding as the Chardonnays and Pinots can be, I was also pretty surprised by the quality of the Cabernet Sauvignons. Winemaker and proprietor Jeffrey Patterson favors indigenous fermentations for all his wines, which are also bottled with no fining or filtration. The top Chardonnay bottling, the Estate, spends a year in barrel and six months in steel, as do so many of the top whites in Burgundy these days. The Pinots are made with anywhere from 20-50% stem inclusion, which can make the wines hard to understand when young. If I am looking for an aged bottle of California Chardonnay or Pinot, Mount Eden is always at or near the top of my list. In this section, I have listed all of the wines from Domaine Eden, Mount Eden’s second label first, followed by the wines of Mount Eden." (Wine Advocate)
  • “Jeffrey Patterson, the winemaker at Mount Eden since 1983, and his wife, Ellie, who handles the business side, are now the majority owners of Mount Eden. They preside over Martin Ray's original vineyard site, with 34 acres currently planted, and live in Mr. Ray's old house. The winery produces just 4,000 cases from the estate vineyard, plus another 16,000 cases from grapes purchased elsewhere. In today's bigger-is-better California wine culture, where giants such as Gallo, Constellation Brands and Kendall-Jackson own dozens of wineries across the state, Mount Eden seems almost Hobbit-like in scale.” (Matt Kramer, Wine Spectator/Wall Street Journal)

Basic Info

Mount Eden Vineyards is a small historic wine estate located on a 2000 foot peak in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation about 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Founded in 1945, it is recognized as one of the original “boutique” California Winery properties, focusing on small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mount Eden's lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California. Planted in austere, infertile Franciscan shale on a cool, exposed mountaintop, the low-yielding estate vineyards have consistently produced world class wines for over a half century. The genesis of Mount Eden Vineyards was the arrival of Burgundian winemaker Paul Masson to San Jose, California, in 1878. Masson soon established a vineyard and winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Mount Eden, where he became a well know bon vivant. Martin Ray, who grew up in the foothills below Mount Eden, became acquainted with the charismatic Frenchman and, shortly after Prohibition's repeal, purchased Paul Masson's Champagne Company. Notoriety came quickly. At a time when most California wines were blended from various, often inferior, grape varieties, noble grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were virtually unknown. The mercurial Ray began producing 100% varietal table wines, boasting that California could vinify world class wines to rival those of France. In so doing, his wines attracted a great deal of attention from aspiring vintners wishing to learn under Ray, most famously David Bruce (David Bruce Winery), Jack & Jamie Davies (Schramsberg), and Warren Winiarski (Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars). And Ray’s list of customers/friends was also impressive: Charlie Chaplin, President Herbert Hoover, and John Steinbeck, among them. Wanting to establish his own brand, Ray sold the Paul Masson property in 1943 and, that following year purchased a higher peak to the north, Mount Eden. In 1945 he planted his first vineyard there and the mountain became his home. Ray named his wine domain simply "Martin Ray." During the 1960s, Ray brought in investors to help him develop more vineyards. However, the partnership soured and the investors eventually took over the entire estate. The famous 1970 vintage was Ray's last from the vines he had nurtured for nearly three decades. The new owners re-christened the property "Mount Eden Vineyards" and produced their first vintage in 1972. During the next decades, they hired a series of talented, well-known winemakers, including Richard and Peter Graff (Chalone), Merry Edwards, Bill Anderson (Chateau Julien) and Ray Coursen (Elyse). Since 1981 Jeffrey Patterson has guided our winemaking and grape growing at Mount Eden. His emphasis is on wine growing rather than winemaking; and an obsession with gentleness and naturalness in the handling of our grapes and wines is his ongoing passion.

Central Coast
Sub region:
Santa Cruz Mountains
Year founded:
Jeffrey Patterson
Jeffrey Patterson