There are many ways a winery can be differentiated from producers of similar types of wine. It can have the highest production, be the most interesting architecturally, it can be the oldest or the newest, have the highest technology, have acquired the largest vineyard acreage, or many other things. GAN EDEN was THE FIRST. It wasn't the first modern producer of kosher wine in California, that distinction belongs to Hagafen. But GAN EDEN was the first winery facility in California actually dedicated exclusively to the production of kosher wine, and over 10 years after its establishment in 1985, it was still the only winery facility exclusively producing kosher product. Now, of course, Herzog and Covenant and even Four Gates have their own facilities (Four Gates was the first of those), and GAN EDEN is no longer being produced. But it showed the world that a winery dedicated to kosher production could be viable. I would imagine that one of the reasons others took the plunge is because GAN EDEN showed that a dedicated winery facility was a potentially viable solution to the myriad problems associated with the unfettered access by unauthorized personnel to be found in a mixed kosher/non-kosher facility.The advantage is that instead of worrying about security, the producer can concentrate on quality.
In 1993, when the Wine Atlas of California was published, Herzog was not even mentioned by the author, James Halliday (a winemaker himself in Australia, founder of Brokenwood Winery and Coldstream Hills, wine competition judge and a prolific wine writer), Hagafen's wines were called "adequate", and Weinstock's (Robbie Weinstock produced an independent brand at the time) wines ranged from "eminently forgettable" to "crisp and well made", "lively, fresh" and "pleasant". On the other hand, he said of GAN EDEN,"what must surely be the producer of the finest kosher wines in the world." We at GAN EDEN strove to be undifferentiated in quality from the finest wines to be found coming out of California. We were not producing kosher wine for the kosher market, we were producing wine for the un-compromising consumer, no matter who that consumer happened to be. GAN EDEN's wines were known well beyond the bounds of the kosher consumers of the day.
As my children grew up, I knew that our remote location, relative to the Jewish population, would act against us. By 1998, I knew that in order to provide the Jewish education we believed the kids needed, they would either need to commute to available tutors in the Bay Area, or we would need to relocate. By the early 2000s, it became evident that the tutors were not available, and the Jewish education institutions of the San Francisco Bay Area were inadequate for our needs. My priorities strongly favored my family's welfare, and so in 2005, the GAN EDEN property was sold, and my family relocated to Los Angeles. However, I always felt I would like to one day create a new GAN EDEN.