Appetizers
July 11, 2008
Bigger Role for Sacramentans in Santa Cruz Mountains

A Sacramento couple instrumental in developing Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains have purchased a second winery in the appellation.

Neil and Bernice Hagen, who own Thunderbird Forest Products of Sacramento and the local branch of Poggenpohl Kitchens, have purchased neighboring Cinnabar Vineyards & Winery above Saratoga for an undisclosed price.

Cinnabar, founded in 1983 by the late Stanford research engineer Tom Mudd, has been producing about 20,000 cases annually in recent years. "Basically, I've doubled my production capacity," said Jeffrey Patterson, Mount Eden's longtime winemaker. At Mount Eden, he's been making around 15,000 cases a year.

Both estates primarily produce chardonnay and pinot noir, with some cabernet sauvignon. Cinnabar is to be renamed Domaine Eden. Most of its 30-acre vineyard is being replanted, with more pinot noir being put in and cabernet sauvignon being reduced, said Patterson.

Neil Hagen, whose mills produce molding in South America, New Zealand, Mexico and the southern United States, joined four partners in 1961 to buy Mount Eden Vineyards from legendary winemaker Martin Ray. Today, the Hagens control about 60 percent of the company, with Jeffrey Patterson and his wife Ellie owning around 30 percent. A half-dozen shareholders own the rest.

Mount Eden Vineyards also is about to join seven other wineries in a cooperative tasting room and wine bar called Press Club in San Francisco. Expected to open in two to three weeks, Press Club is at 20 Yerba Buena Lane between Market and Mission streets, near the new Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco. The other wineries include Chateau Montelena, Miner Family, Saintsbury, Pahlmeyer and Landmark.

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