Founded in 2004, by husband and wife team Frank and Teena Hildebrand, Narrow Gate Vineyards is a testimony to faith, perseverance and reinvention. In 2000 they traded fashion industry careers for a new beginning in El Dorado wine country and have never looked back. In 2001 they planted 14 acres of wine grapes and in 2004 built a European style, small, intimate, boutique winery and cellar set amidst majestic Ponderosa pines at 2500 feet altitude.
Frank grew up in Woodland, California, an agricultural community just 11 miles north of Sacramento and is a University of California Davis graduate in Managerial (AG) Economics. He returned to Davis’ winemaking extension program to hone his skill. Today, Frank is both viticulturist and winemaker at Narrow Gate, securing Biodynamic® vineyard certification in 2010 and winery facility certification in 2013. His passion for stewarding the winemaking process, from vine to wine, without chemicals, pesticides or additives, is evident in the vineyard’s biodiversity and soil health and in the natural quality of the wines he makes. His work is his hobby – if he’s not farming wine he’s making wine and if he’s not making wine he’s enjoying wine!
Growing up near Portland, Oregon then moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in middle school, Teena, a University of Colorado graduate in Business Marketing, along with her hospitality team, oversees the business, wine club, marketing and food and wine pairing events. After their second child was born she resigned her fashion industry career and began teaching culinary arts in Newport Beach, California. Today she is also the winery chef creating menus and seasonal dishes for the food and wine pairings, educational vineyard walks/hikes, and seated multiple course lunches served in the cellar throughout the year. Teena also served for 10 years on the El Dorado Winery Association board of directors as both President and Director.
Frank and Teena reside on the Narrow Gate land with their two yellow labs, two cats, 12 chickens, ten cows, and over 10,000 vines. They have two adult children: Gina, a 2015 Enology graduate from Cal Poly SLO, who is now making wine under her label, Lady of the Sunshine, and managing a vineyard transitioning to Biodynamic in Edna Valley, and Frankie, who is a marketing/product manager, professional photographer and social media influencer in Southern California.
A local native, Kass plays an integral role in our biodynamic farming and processes related to soil, vine and land management, all throughout our 86-acre farm. Prior to coming to Narrow Gate in 2007, he worked for 6 years after high school as a wildland firefighter and was on the USDA Forestry Service Interagency Hot Shot crew. He’s also had a longtime passion for mountain bike racing. Currently, he is an ambassador for Specialized Bikes. Kass and his wife Dianna, a local realtor, stay busy raising their two grade-school age children.
Justin is passionate about people. Narrow Gate’s commitment to farm vines and make wine without the use of harmful chemicals or additives was what brought us together. He is truly an ambassador of Narrow Gate and is here every day the winery is open to assist guests with wine tasting, sales and Cellar Club needs. Recently completing the Level I WSET he continues to learn and grow in his wine knowledge. He and his wife, Serena, and their young daughter enjoy nature, camping, hiking, and swimming. In addition to working at Narrow Gate since 2019, Justin is also a Wellness Coach. His life’s goal is to help others become healthy and whole.
Cooper Davis, a home-grown El Dorado wine country native, joined the Narrow Gate team in 2020. After college, where she minored in Italian Studies, Cooper moved to Florence, Italy where she discovered her passion for wine and became a certified Sommelier. Her interests have grown to include an affinity for natural wine and Biodynamic farming practices. When she’s not studying for the Level IV WSET Diploma program, you’ll find her either pouring wine in the cellar or assisting Frank with biodynamic preps in the vineyard. She resides in Placerville with her husband, Marco, and two dogs.