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In a unique and beautiful setting, not so very far away, sits a fairy tale kingdom that began as a dream.

The dream belongs to chef, restaurateur and hotelier, Erna Kubin-Clanin.

This multi-talented lady from Austria has created a luxurious nine-acre sanctuary blending the charm and beauty of the Provencal region of France with central California’s verdant landscape. A magical diorama unfolds among the green foothills of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains, revealing The Estate by the Elderberries, featuring the ten-bedroom Château du Sureau, Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant, and the private two-bedroom Villa Sureau.

Cultivating Best Practices from Europe to California

Erna’s innate creative talents were nurtured by her studies in Theatre Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in her hometown of Vienna, Austria. These studies took her to England, where she subsidized her schooling with a job at Claridge’s, the world-renowned hotel. A deep appreciation for the utmost in service, as well as a love for cooking, was sparked for Erna while in Claridge’s employ. She emigrated to the United States in 1962 to study at the New York Academy of Art in Manhattan. California was her next stop, where she continued her studies at UCLA in 1963.

Erna’s Legacy of Fine Dining and Legendary Service

Erna entered the restaurant business in 1969 with the opening of her Los Angeles restaurant, Scorpio’s. After eight successful years, Erna was lured to California’s Sierra Nevada region by the tranquility and the beauty of the area. Acting quickly, she leased a restaurant known as The Redwood Inn in Yosemite National Park and for for the next eight years Erna delighted her guests with prix-fixe five-course dining featuring a blend of European cuisine. 

Erna’s Elderberry House Restaurant

Six years later she purchased property in nearby Oakhurst, determined to create her own restaurant. The doors to Erna’s Elderberry House, an extraordinary dining establishment complete with fine antiques, polished pewter and rich fabrics from Provence, were opened in 1984. The restaurant quickly became nationally known for its award-winning cuisine and its discriminating wine list.

Since opening, Château du Sureau has joined the best properties in the world and earned the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Five Star award, AAA Five Diamond award and Relais & Châteaux distinction.

Awards & Distinctions