With more than twenty years of experience in the wine industry, it would be easy to assume that winemaker Dave Lattin came to Kuleto Estate in the spring of 2002 based on the strength of his resume. While his credentials are impressive, Lattin was chosen as much for his philosophical approach to the art of winemaking, as for his technical mastery of it. For Dave, making wine at Kuleto Estate is about quality of life and a deep relationship with a remarkable piece of land.
From his first memorable sip of Mosel at the age of six, Dave Lattin has been cultivating a keen palate and a passion for wine. Originally from Corvallis, Oregon, Dave received his bachelor degree in microbiology from Oregon State University in 1981. Soon after, he took his first position in the industry working for Acacia Winery. The environment and work inspired him beyond his expectations and he quickly fell in love with the business. Determined to gain experience, Dave traveled to Europe where he developed a profound appreciation for German and French wines. From the vineyards of St. Emilion to the cellar at Troplong-Mondot, Dave worked and studied the art and craft of winemaking before returning to the United States.
In 1986 Dave received his masters degree in enology from the University of California, Davis. After university he was hired as enologist at Robert Pecota, where he further refined his technical and artistic capabilities before taking a hands-on position as cellar master at Storybook Mountain. In late 1987, Dave rejoined Acacia as enologist where he quickly made himself indispensable. Passionate and committed, Dave was promoted to winemaker in 1992, then to general manager/winemaker in 1997.
Resolved to maintain his relationship with both the wine and the vine, Dave left Acacia in 1998 after eleven years of dedicated service. Together with his wife Kendra, a trained enologist and landscape architect who has worked for several top California wineries, Dave founded CL Wines, a consulting and winemaking business.
In 2002 Dave met with Pat Kuleto at Villa Cucina on the Kuleto Estate property. “I came to talk about doing some consulting work,” says Dave. “Pat was looking for someone who loved to be in the vineyard. We ended up sitting on his porch, drinking wine and eating olives and cheese for five or six hours. We talked about the land and winemaking, we talked about what was important to us; about quality of life and feeling connected. For Pat, wine doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it is part of a rich, abundant lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want to create wine in an environment like that?”
As comfortable on the mountainside among the vine rows as in the winery, Dave works closely with vineyard manager Alberto Ochoa throughout the year. During harvest, Dave begins each morning in the fields hand-selecting the following day’s fruit, choosing blocks or individual rows that have attained ideal maturation. Skilled working with a diversity of varietals, he thrives on the challenges presented by a mountain capable of producing such a wide array of world-class fruit. An instinctive winemaker with an extensive technical background, Dave strives to create warm, open and opulent food wines that suggest the gracious personality of Kuleto Estate.