With more than 30 years of winemaking experience, Eileen Crane is widely regarded as the doyenne of sparkling wine in America. She is one of a handful of women in the forefront of the wine industry in California. She led both winemaking and facilities development at Domaine Carneros from its beginning and served as CEO. She retired in 2020 and now serves as an advisor to the winemaking team.
Crane is equally at home in the separate yet entwined worlds of wine and food. She was raised with a keen appreciation for fine wine by her father, and of culinary arts by her mother, and prepared for a culinary career prior to entering the wine industry. A master’s degree in nutrition, coupled with professional training at the Culinary Institute of America, form the foundation of her intimate understanding of the interplay of wine and food. She taught nutrition for two years at the University of Connecticut before enrolling in the UC Davis Enology and Viticulture program.
Upon completing her studies, Crane was hired by Domaine Chandon, where she progressed to the position of assistant winemaker. Hired in 1983 as winemaker and vice president of Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves, she was entrusted with the dual responsibilities of overseeing the design and construction of the facility in addition to developing the line of sparkling wines.
Based on this experience, in 1987 Crane was selected personally by Claude Taittinger for the position of CEO and Founding Winemaker of Domaine Carneros. In her first years, she oversaw the planning and development of the landmark château, vineyards and winemaking facility. In 2003, she directed the planning and construction of Domaine Carneros’ second winemaking facility, dedicated exclusively to the production of still Pinot Noir wines.
Crane is actively involved in numerous wine organizations. She is a past president of the Carneros Wine Alliance and the California Classic Methods/Classic Varieties Society (CM/CV). She has also been an active board member in civic organizations such as Clinic Ole, providing affordable health care to the underserved in the community, and chair of Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services.