Since our arrival at Eeden, sporadic discoveries have provided pieces of the puzzle of Eeden's history. These include a beam with the words La Granja, the farm, carved into it; original architectural floor plans of the three-bedroom Western ranch style main residence of Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Beringer, drawn by architect J. Clarence Felciano of Santa Rosa; wooden grape lugs with the names Beringer Bros. and Olga Beringer stamped on the sides; and the words Los Hermanos Vineyards painted on one of the buildings. Together, these discoveries revealed that the property once belonged to the Beringer family. Charles was the son of Jacob Beringer. Jacob and his brother Frederick established Beringer Brothers in 1876. Jacob planted the first vineyard and built the first Beringer winery in St. Helena. In 1914, Charles and other family members incorporated Beringer Brothers Los Hermanos Vineyards. Based on a tinted picture we discovered, Charles and his wife Olga also established the first vineyards at Eeden in the 1930s and built their famous ranch style house at Eeden in 1942. This house was featured in the Sunset magazine's Western Ranch Houses by Cliff May published in 1946. The ranch style house designed by J. Clarence Felciano from Santa Rosa still remains on the property and can be seen on a tour of Eeden.
After Jacob's death in 1915, Charles and his sister Bertha ran the Beringer empire. Times were challenging through the Prohibition and Depression era. Prohibition led to the disappearance of many vineyards and wineries. Bertha was quite imaginative in preventing the demise of the Beringer empire during Prohibition. Based on her idea, they turned the grapes into raisin cakes, which were allowed under the Volstead act to make "non-intoxicating cider and fruit juices for home consumption". However, as one might imagine, the raisin cakes were easily turned into wine. Attractive young demonstrators in department stores "warned" potential buyers not to leave the raisin cakes in jugs for 21 days after adding liquid, because the cakes would turn the liquid into wine. Furthermore, they pointed out that customers should not cork the liquid, because that was only necessary for fermentation to occur! Sufficed to say that many raisin cakes were turned into wine, if one could call it that.
In 2002 when we acquired Eeden, only remnants of the vineyards remained, even though the age-old stone terraces along the rows of remnants survived. The charming old ranch style house was in a state of neglect. We replanted the vineyards with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah vines, and started restoring the house and other buildings. Our philosophy is to preserve the property, so that our and future generations can enjoy a part of California wine history.
The name Eeden is not only a family name, but also a name indicating that this Garden could be Eden. We invite you to come experience a piece of wine history, enjoy the inspiring views of St. Helena and the Napa Valley, and taste our wine.