Cambiata is a small independently-owned winery. For 25 years Eric Lauman has made wine and grown grapes for quality California wineries. In 2002, following the fortunate securement of a long-term Monterey vineyard lease, he decided to produce wines under his own label. His intention was to make distinctive wines for enthusiasts who appreciate learning about and enjoying great food wines, that go beyond the Franco triumvirate of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhône. The current production is around 2000 cases.
There are three themes that run through Eric’s life: beach, wine and music. He grew up in Agoura Hills, CA, not far from Zuma Beach. He graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1984 with a degree in winemaking. While at school he took a number of music classes and has continued to play piano throughout his life. Eric’s first harvest was in 1983 at Hacienda Wine Cellars in Sonoma. His first job as an enologist was at Zaca Mesa Winery in 1984 where he worked alongside Bob Lindquist, Ken Brown and Jim Clendenen. In 1986, Eric returned to Hacienda and served as winemaker for the next seven years. His focus was on small lot, high-quality Carneros Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Since Hacienda was such a small winery, Eric performed all tasks from vineyard management to cleaning and repairing the crusher – experiences that would prove useful later in his winemaking career. After Hacienda, Eric made wine at three of California’s larger producers: Kendall Jackson, Bronco and Edna Valley Vineyard. In 2000 he moved to Santa Cruz to join Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon. “Going from a corporate environment to the Doonisphere was both a shock to the system and an invaluable learning experience. It was just what I needed.” In 2002, inspired by the creative environment of Bonny Doon, Eric started his own venture and planted two varieties rarely seen in California – Albariño and Tannat – followed a few years later by a third obscure grape, Dornfelder. Those three wines, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, are the cornerstones of his Cambiata brand.
Eric sites Dick Graff, the late founder of Chalone Vineyard, as one of his main winemaking influences. “Dick was one of the first Americans who emphasized the integration of wine with the culinary arts. He felt it was important to create a beautiful and gracious food and wine experience. “One of my goals at Cambiata is to produce food-worthy, vineyard-honest wines.” Eric and his wife live at La Selva Beach in Santa Cruz, CA.
What’s in the name?
In the world of music, Cambiata is the added tonal dimension that occurs when two chords momentarily share properties, so that the transition has greater depth and mellifluence. It was a radical idea back in the 16th century and was almost outlawed.
Vinification practices: the wines are vegan – the whites are fined with bentonite, and the reds are unfined.