Founded by Sarah and Chris Pittenger in 2009, Gros Ventre Cellars is a small, family-owned winery operating out of Healdsburg, CA. We produce about 2,000 cases of wine, including vineyard-designated Pinot noir from the West Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley, and several wines from the El Dorado region.
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. We now live with our two children (Jane and John Henry) and dog (Bear) in Healdsburg (Sonoma County), where Chris is also the winemaker at Limerick Lane.
When it was time to come up with a name for our brand, Sarah was hugely pregnant with John Henry. We were considering the name Gros Ventre, because we met in the region, when we learned that “gros ventre” is french for “big belly.” Pregnant belly, place we met… we couldn’t escape the double meaning, and so our brand was born.
This July, we moved our family from Placerville (El Dorado County) back to our old stomping grounds in Healdsburg (Sonoma County). Chris is the new winemaker at Limerick Lane, working with Jake Bilbro and Limerick’s historic zinfandel vineyards. We will be crushing at both Limerick and Grand Cru Custom Crush in Windsor, and will start hosting tastings by appointment starting October 2018. We couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter and can’t wait to celebrate next time we see you.
Our Pledge to Give
As a family and as a business, we’re on a long path towards being the best citizens we can be, with a focus on giving more and taking less.
One of our ongoing missions is to put a significant part of our resources towards philanthropy, with a focus on conservation and environmental efforts. In 2015, we raised funds at our Friends in High Places Event in Jackson Hole, where 100% of the proceeds went to for The Trust for Public Land. In 2016, we donated 20% of the proceeds from our magnum release to the Environmental Defense Fund. In 2017, we sold library wine 2- and 3-packs with 100% of the profits going towards environmental and disaster relief efforts. We’ll continue to come up with new ways to support causes that matter to us, and we’ll let you know how our mission evolves. We thank each and every one of you who has already supported our efforts – it truly warms our hearts. Although we’re tiny, together we are mighty.
Photo Credits: Daniel Dent.