It was just a fluke that we happened upon Elaine Villamin, of Eden Canyon Vineyards, when we stopped in at Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, California. We were trying to kill time before our dinner reservation and had no intention of doing any tasting. But Villamin was not only there with a nice selection of her winery’s offerings, she spent some significant time with us, telling us her story.
In 1996, her father, Danny Villemin, suddenly decided to grow grapes on his 10 acres near San Luis Obispo. He wasn’t even a wine drinker, but being the kind of guy he is, that didn’t stop him. Neither did the August 2006 wildfire that burnt down the vineyard.
Well, you know how you can use the process of crushing grapes to make wine as a metaphor for coming out a better person after suffering a crushing blow? Well, the Eden Canyon is another one. Elaine told us that all that ash from the fire has actually made a better vineyard. Indeed, even winemaker Kenneth Volk was buying their grapes.
“That’s how my dad got started,” Elaine said.
Eventually, both she and her dad studied viticulture at one of the U.C. Davis programs, and Elaine went on to enroll in the L’ecole de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France.
“It’s like a boot camp,” she said.
She’s now the wine maker, although her father still gets plenty of input.
You can get Eden Canyon wines through Red Carpet Wine (redcarpetwine.com) or through the Eden Canyon Website (edencanyon.com). They’re also on FaceBook