President Fess Parker Enterprises
In 1988 the Fess Parker family purchased a 714-acre ranch on Foxen Canyon Road, which was already home to several outstanding wineries. The family’s eventual foray into the wine business proved to be an important turning point in the professional life of Eli Parker. What began as a curiosity would later become a lifelong vocation as his innate winemaking talent revealed itself.
The early days saw Eli spending most of his time in the fledgling vineyard learning that side of the business. He worked harvest at Byron Winery in 1988 and augmented his practical experience with extension courses at U.C. Davis. He continued his hands on education as Assistant Winemaker at FPW from 1989 – 1992. In 1993 Eli began a three-year apprenticeship under critically acclaimed winemaker, Jed Steele. As consulting enologist, Jed was a major influence on Eli as he developed his own style. Eli’s first harvest at the helm as Head Winemaker was in 1996, a role he maintained until 2005, including launching the Epiphany label in 1999. In 2006, Eli was honored as the recipient of the Andre Tchelistcheff – Winemaker of the Year Award from the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Blair Fox’s promotion to the role of Head Winemaker in 2005 freed Eli up to take a more expanded role.