Crane Creek Vineyards is a family run business in the truest sense of the word. Members of our small staff are all family members, even if they are not part of my blood family. All of our “family” members have their own specialties and unique personalities but are all experienced in each facet of the winemaking process and other activities at the vineyard. We may spend one day together harvesting, and the next weekend working at one of our many public or private functions. Each day and each season is filled with rewards as we work day to day with the land, the vines, and the incredible backdrop of our mountain home
A native of Atlanta, Eric spent much of his early life traveling the world with his father and family as part of the U.S. State Department. Finishing up his final high school years in Atlanta he went on to West Point and began a career as a U.S. army officer. A significant portion of his military career was spent in Northern Italy. It was there that he developed his appreciation of the art of winemaking and the lifestyle of winegrowing in three of the four major Italian wine regions: Tuscany, Veneto and the Friuli. Upon retirement, Eric settled back in his native Georgia and moved to the North Georgia Mountains to embark on a second career.
Much of Eric’s attitude toward wine is Italian in its source versus the more formal and rigid French outlook. In Italy wine is not the star but a supporting player in the great “dolce vita”. This attitude is adopted at Crane Creek Vineyards where we all, including Eric, invite you to kick your feet up and lift a glass to “la dolce vita!”
Born in California and raised in Iowa, Eric’s wife DeAnne is a practicing veterinarian in Blairsville, Georgia. She met and married Eric while serving as a veterinarian in the army.
Eric and DeAnne lived in Italy for many years while in the army. Their first son was born there. Their second son was born in Atlanta 2 years later after they moved back to the States. In 1995, they bought the farmland that is now the vineyards. They also purchased DeAnne’s veterinary practice that same year.
DeAnne, the Medical Director of , is currently a full-time veterinarian. She helps out at Crane Creek when she can, acting as the buyer for the tasting room retail shop. She enjoys collecting folk art and likes the idea of taking the mystique out of both wine and art.
A lifelong resident of Georgia and graduate of Georgia Southern University, David brings culinary skill and warm hospitality to Crane Creek. After pursuing a business career that exposed him to cuisine from around the world, he took off his tie and decided to follow his true passion: cooking. He owned and operated his own boutique catering business in Atlanta for 15 years. Here at Crane Creek Vineyards he is able to combine his love of food and wine while providing memorable experiences for our visitors and guests. Wine tastings, weddings, and special dinners are the perfect way to experience David’s culinary talents.
Son of Eric and DeAnne, you may have seen him running around as a little kid during the early years here at Crane Creek. He now works full-time as Assistant Winemaker to his father, Eric–learning to carry on the family trade. With his fiance Jess, they are excited to take on the business and continue the tradition of producing great Georgia wine.
Jess first came to Crane Creek in 2014 to visit her friend Peter’s stomping grounds. On her visit, she got roped into helping with winter vine pruning and quickly fell in love with the vineyard and its people. Jess has worked seasonally for us here at Crane Creek ever since. After graduating with her B.F.A. in Physical Theatre from Coastal Carolina University, she spent a few years traveling and doing theatre in Italy and Nepal with her (now) fiance, Peter. They recently made the decision together to settle down and join the Crane Creek team full-time. Born and raised in nearby Cashiers, NC, Jess is happy to be living and working again in Young Harris’ beautiful Appalachian countryside that feels so much like home. Jess now serves as our Business Manager, where she does a bit of everything: social media management, event coordination, admin duties, and often as a field hand or winery helper as well. She wouldn’t trade the vineyard life for anything.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Emily is a new addition to our tasting room staff. She attended Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina where she received her B.F.A in Acting. During her education, she studied and lived in the beautiful countryside of Arezzo, Italy, where her appreciation for wine began. After graduating from undergrad, she moved to Atlanta to pursue her acting career. Between acting gigs, she had the opportunity to work at a seasonal food and wine bar in Buckhead, where her love of food and wine continued blossoming.
Emily joined the Crane Creek team in August 2018. She is continuing to expand her knowledge of wine, while also feeding her artistic spirit in this beautiful countryside that reminds her of her time in Tuscany. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of wine and sharing the history of this very special vineyard in the tasting room, especially with new customers!
A Towns County native, Justin has worked at Crane Creek Vineyards for many years as a farm hand. His knowledge and dedication has contributed to the success of the vineyard. Additionally, Justin, as the head groundskeeper, keeps Crane Creek Vineyards looking its very best.
Our Vineyard Manager, Kyle hails from New Jersey where he worked for many years at a commercial Christmas tree farm. Looking for a better life for him and his family, Kyle packed up and headed south, bringing his farming skills with him. Kyle is also the chief mechanic for Crane Creek, keeping our equipment it top shape.