Of days tromping through vineyards with winemakers, gleaning what they have learned from the generations. Of evenings shivering around a barrel in quiet winter cellars, listening, tasting how to see the future in a hard new wine. Of years watching a generation pass as young vines become old vines and old ideas become new again.
We bring you not just wines from masterful winemakers, we bring you their best wines, wines that we follow from vineyard to bottle, vintage to vintage. The very wines that we choose to put in our own cellar.
But we bring you much more than that. We take you into the vineyards, into the cellars, into the life, so that you too can learn as we have learned. One cork at a time. One question at a time. In a place where your enthusiasm opens doors that are not open to just anyone.
We’re Eleanor Garvin and Dennis Sherman (el + den = elden, get it?), and we’ve been here since the summer of 1983, when we left Maryland, bright and early, with one-way tickets and the naive idea of apprenticing ourselves to the great chefs of France.
Our first job was a grape harvest near Avignon, and that got us into our first winter. Then an under-the-table gig at a plat du jour joint got us through it. A phone call in the spring offered us a real job, and took us to Beaune for the first time. There, as chef du picnic for a hot-air balloon company, we were finally in the loop of French cuisine. The following year we signed on as cook and crew on a hotel barge in the Alsace, and then the next year on another boat that took us back to Burgundy for good.
Two years later, we bought our own barge, Le Papillon, a hundred year old gem of a boat, carrying six passengers. And for the next decade it was our alternative to restaurant life. Elden Wine got started there in 1995.
The wine we served our guests aboard Le Papillon was small-production Burgundy, little known outside of France and certainly not available in the US at the time. Human nature being what it is, however, it wasn’t long before we had requests from guests who wanted to ship these wines back home. And to be honest, it didn’t take much encouragement for us to bow to the demand. In fact it quickly became a labor of love.
We believe in the wine; we have life-long relationships with the winemakers and their families; and the appreciation and enthusiasm that our clients have shown over the years has taken us to a level way beyond commercial. It’s a lifestyle thing. Burgundy is home.
Those of you who know Ellie know that she is a gifted chef, with a style and touch that makes finesse look easy. Her passion for ‘clean’ tastes translates as easily into French ‘haute cuisine’ as it does into Italian ‘cucina provinciale’. And having lived more than 30 years in Burgundy, she has made this region’s cuisine her own. Ellie is the author of ‘At Home in Burgundy: The Papillon Recipes’.
Dennis is a registered wine merchant, shipping small-production, estate-bottled Burgundy wines to private clients and collectors in the US via burgundywine.com. He is a professional wine taster and writes regularly and avidly on the subject. He is also a specialist ‘gastronomic’ tour guide, with experience throughout Europe.
Together, Ellie and Dennis owned and operated the luxury hotel-barge ‘Le Papillon’ for a decade in the 90’s. The popularity of ’Papillon-style’ holidays and their ever-growing reputations led them to expand the Papillon repertoire to ‘land-based’ holidays, and from 1993 until 2014 they took ‘Papillon Select Tours’ to villas in regions where food and wine are a priority.
But Burgundy is home, it’s in their blood. And now they are bringing 30+ years experience to the Domaine de Cromey, in the Heart of Burgundy.
Stephen and Lilly Lenehan are very much a team. They have spent their lives working in hospitality, much of it in the famous Beleek Castle hotel in the West of Ireland. They are accomplished cooks and wine professionals. Their love of wine brought them to Domaine de Cromey where they complement the much accomplished food and wine talents of Dennis and Ellie.
Among her many talents, Lilly is an accomplished pastry chef. Stephen was executive head chef at Beleek where he won many professional accolades. He won the Panel of Chefs award for excellence and is a Member of the Euro-Toques Food Council of Ireland. He has completed the WSET Educator Training Programme where he qualified with distinction. He was awarded the top mark in class for each of the three WSET (Wine Sprits Education Trust) levels. Stephen uses his skills to manage the Burgundy Wine Club.
JoAnn Chew has been with us since we started. She handles our customer service for clients all over the United States. JoAnn was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and resides in Sonoma County wine country with her husband Andrew and two children.
She settled in the Sonoma Valley after graduating from California State University Sacramento. She has been working in wine sales for over 15 years. We met JoAnn when she was actively running her own business of managing small wineries with daily tasks of order processing, wine club processing, inventory control, email marketing, website management and customer service. We are happy she joined our team helping us do all that and more at Elden Selections.
In 2018 JoAnn and her husband came to visit us at Domaine de Cromey in Burgundy to learn more about the Elden wine philosophy and the Burgundy wine region. They are looking forward to more visits in the future. As JoAnn says "it’s probably impossible to learn everything about Burgundy in two lifetimes but it sure is fun trying".
Ann Wupperman is our Marketing and Communication Manager and is based at the Domaine de Cromey. Born and bred in Burgundy, the multi-talented Ann plays a large role with us in all areas of our activities based on wine, food, tours and management. She has lived her whole life in the extraordinary and beautiful wine country of Burgundy, growing up close to the Domaine. Driven by a passion for wine and the elegant lifestyle of the region, Ann enjoys sharing this “je ne sais quoi” with visitors, particularly Americans, and has made her career and personal lifestyle from it.
Ann has a deep history in luxury travel, tourism and hospitality and is a certified tour guide and sommelier. She worked for the Belmont group specializing in providing Gourmet Deluxe Cruise trips on luxury barge hotels on the Burgundy canals. And for many years she worked as a manager for FCW, an American owned company operating luxury hotel barges on the canals of France.
Ann has dedicated her career to understanding the needs and expectations of clients and delivering on them in the areas of hospitality, wine, gourmet food and travel experiences. She is a certified wine taster and has participated in a number of wine competitions including “The feminalise”, a national competition only open two women from the world of wine. Ann is also part of our wine tasting team at the Domaine. When you come to visit us, you will see Ann driving her 1965 Fiat through the vineyards. As Ann likes to say “France is waiting for you”.
Loyal Elden customers for many years, David and Brenda Miley both have serious pedigrees in business. David’s is wide and varied. He is an entrepreneur involved in a number of industries and cultures. As luck would have it, this includes finance, marketing, construction and renovation. Brenda brings elegant and refined interior design and a vision born of experience.
Their partnership and inspiration have let the Domaine de Cromey be re-born as the luxury manor house it is today, and enabled Elden Selections to flourish by bringing it to the Internet. Their support, creativity and counsel have made the dream come true. Dubliners by birth, they live in America, splitting their time between Florida and Maine, and travel regularly to Ireland and Burgundy.