Despite never growing a tomato plant, in 1996, Danny Villamin, a woodworker, planted nine acres of cabernet sauvignon in his backyard. His family was baffled- growing grapes is more than science and engineering. Before the family could see the literal fruits of the their labor, The “The Highway 58 Fire” destroyed thousands of acres of California, including the Villamin’s new backyard: Eden Canyon Vineyards. The fire came months after the first vine plantings, and claimed everything but the house and Danny’s woodworking shop.
Many would take the insurance money and let go of the dream. However, Danny’s motto in life is “No means find another way.” He replanted the vines on soil that became richer from the embers. Since the fire, Eden Canyon Vineyards has picked up an accolade here and there, including “Best Value Wine 2006” by Master Sommelier Luis de Santos, earned spots on fine dining menus like Gary Danko, poured at events for Lisa Marie Presley and the Grammy’s, and every estate vintage has won a San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition medal. It must have something to do with the fire, snow, and occasional earthquake.