Founded by husband and wife team Sarah and Chris Pittenger in 2009, Gros Ventre Cellars is a small, family-owned winery operating out of the Sierra Foothills. We produce less than 1,000 cases of vineyard-designated Pinot noir from the True Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley, along with several new wines from the burgeoning wine region of El Dorado, where Chris is also the winemaker for Rhone winery Skinner Vineyards.
Sarah and Chris Pittenger
We launched Gros Ventre Cellars soon after our 2008 marriage. But it really started in the place we met – near the Gros Ventre River in Jackson Hole. Chris had been working in bottle shops and restaurants in Colorado and Wyoming, spending nights serving and pulling corks so his days were free to snowboard and fly fish. Sarah was working in advertising in New York and San Francisco, and was visiting Jackson Hole (where she previously lived) when our paths crossed at a party. A long-distance friendship was born, surviving Chris’ switch from the dining room to the winery, and his moves from Jackson to Napa to Australia to Healdsburg to New Zealand and back again. We kept in touch while he spent time working at wineries like Robert Biale, Torbreck, Williams Selyem, Marcassin and eventually Sierra Foothills winery Skinner Vineyards, where he has been the winemaker since 2007.
We currently live in the Sierra Foothills town of Placerville, where we make our wines in Skinner’s state of the art winery. We welcome visitors to the home we share with our two little ones whenever we get the chance.
Our Pledge to the Environment
As we gather today with loved ones to give thanks, we wanted to share with you our pledge – to dedicate our family and our business to doing more to protect the planet. We’ve always made wine in a sustainable way and supported environmental causes, but going forward, we’re turning it up a notch.
We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we can be better citizens; how we can give more and take less. Chris and I met in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and the path we’ve chosen in life is in no small part due to our love of nature. Mother Earth is our sustenance in every way – right down to the grapes that provide our livelihood.
In the next weeks, months, and years, you’ll see us dedicating a significant part of our resources towards conservation and environmental efforts. We’ll be donating part of future wine sales to environmental organizations, including 20% of the proceeds of our upcoming magnum release (keep an eye on your inbox). We’ll throw events with other wineries and chefs to raise funds (expect your invites). We’ll give you all, our friends and supporters, opportunities to show your love for the planet, and we’ll gladly help you in your efforts, too. We plan on having a great time while we’re at it, and we hope you’ll join us. Especially the wine drinking part – we’ll keep making more.
We wish you all the best that Thanksgiving can offer this year – peace, unity, love and togetherness. And if you’re inclined, please hit “reply” to this email – we’d love to hear from you.
Photo Credits: Andy Schocken, Daniel Dent.