Gros Ventre Cellars
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.
Meet the Winemaker
SARAH AND CHRIS PITTENGER
Owners and Winemakers
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. We focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir for our red and rosé wines. Our whites include Chenin Blanc and Vermentino offerings along with a white blend of eclectic varietals including Fiano, Arneis, Picpoul Blanc, and Grenache Blanc.
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, and Marcassin. We now live with our two children (Jane and John Henry) and dog (Bear) in Healdsburg, CA, 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 both loved the Gros Ventre river and wilderness in Jackson Hole where we met. It also happens 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.
We believe in a less is more approach in the cellar. Minimal handling, native fermentations, and strict attention to detail and sanitation allow us to minimize sulfur use and bottle our Pinot Noirs unfined and unfiltered. Whites and Rosé by design don't complete malolactic fermentation and thus require filtration.
We source grapes from coastal sites along the West Sonoma Coast as well as high elevation vineyards in El Dorado. We work with like-minded and passionate growers dedicated to farming sustainably. We seek out sites with the right mix of sun, soil, fog, wind, slope, and elevation to allow us to pick at optimal ripeness without manipulation in the winery.