Santa Maria Sun Profiles Gavin Chanin

Wendy Thies Sell has a great Q&A with winemaker Gavin Chanin and how LUTUM came to fruition! Click here to read the full article.

WTS: How did this new winery with Bill Price come about?

Chanin: We did this little experiment. We made those first few wines, about 200 cases. We had a good time doing it and that morphed into a full-blown winery in 2012. I left my position at ABC at that time, found a winery, and started making wine. We manage stuff here at the winery. Bill is based in Sonoma. He’s a great partner. He has a kind of sixth sense for vineyards. He’s incredibly passionate about pinot noir, which is part of the reason we connected in the first place. It was mostly his idea to really focus the winery on a very specific philosophy, very specific varietals, and go after the best fruit we can.

WTS: What’s the story on why you called the winery LUTUM?
Chanin: I told Bill, when we first started going down this road, that it took me three years to come up with [the name] Chanin Wine Company, so I wasn’t going to be much help. I like the idea that we had a philosophy; we had vineyards; we had wines, before we had any brand. It wasn’t something that started as a brand and we said, ‘Well, what should we make to fit this?’ LUTUM is Latin for soil or dirt, and we just thought that was a great tie-in for what we’re after, which is finding these unique sites throughout California for pinot.

WTS: As we taste the fragrant 2013 LUTUM Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir, tell me about this wine and your ’13 vintage overall.

Chanin: That Bien Nacido pepper and cherry cola—it’s going to be fun to take this wine out. I think people are going to like this! We’re really going for a pure expression of pinot; 2013 was a great vintage. We weren’t thrown any weather curveballs or anything crazy like that. The wines have great color, great structure, great fruit. It might be my favorite vintage since ’09 or ’10. I’m a fan!

WTS: With so much of your winemaking career still ahead of you, what is your goal for yourself and your wines?

Chanin: It’s a pursuit. Every year we get better. You learn more and more every year. I think the most confident I ever was was my first harvest in 2007—that will humble you really quickly. I feel really blessed to be able to work with all these vineyards, to be able to make a small amount of wine in a very hands-on nature. So I’d like to keep pushing that and see how far we can go. Hopefully every year, make better wines.