ELI PARKER

Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard


The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard is a family-run vineyard, established in 1989 by former actor Fess Parker in the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country. The winery focuses on producing diverse, Estate Grown, Burgundian and Rhône wines from 600 acres of vineyards.

The adventure began in December 1987, when the Fess Parker family purchased a piece of ranch property in Santa Barbara County’s Foxen Canyon, already the home of several outstanding wineries. For Eli Parker, the family’s foray into the wine business would prove to be an important turning point in his professional life. What began as a curious infatuation would later become a lifelong vocation as his innate winemaking talent was revealed.

After studying the faming side of winemaking and working in the cellar at Byron Winery, Eli enrolled in several extension courses at U.C. Davis. His hands-on approach was augmented by a three-year apprenticeship with the critically acclaimed winemaker Jed Steele. Eli first harvest at the helm was in 1996 and shortly thereafter he assumed the responsibilities of President of the winery.

Under Eli’s leadership the winery has received critical accolades, such as the Boston Globe’s declaring his debut wine, the 1993 Santa Barbara County Syrah, as “one of the five best Syrahs in the world.” While Eli may have a special affinity for Rhône wines, his Burgundian varietals fare equally as well with the critics. Recently, the winery’s vineyard holdings have expanded, and his decision-making has been instrumental in preserving quality as the Fess Parker brand grows.

Eli and his wife Laureen (married at the winery in 1995) have five daughters between them and together they have two sons. They live just down the road from the winery and needless to say, their lives revolve around the world of wine!

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