Founder - Winemaker Emeritus
1952 - 2018
It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our founding winemaker Jeff Hansen who passed away on Tuesday June 5th.
In May 2017, after more than three decades of making award-winning California wines, Jeff stepped down as winemaker at Lula Cellars. He retained the title of Founder and also served as Winemaker Emeritus.
"Jeff not only founded Lula Cellars, he was the creative force and inspiration behind everything we have done," shares Ken Avery, Managing Partner at Lula Cellars. “When he retired last year, it was very important to us that we carry on with Jeff’s vision and honor the legacy that he worked so hard to create. The entire Lula family is deeply saddened by his passing."
Jeff's career in wine began in 1987 when he worked in the tasting room of Spring Mountain Vineyard in Napa Valley. Later, while working in sales, he discovered the coolest appellation in California - the Anderson Valley region in Mendocino County. He fell in love with this sparsely populated and ruggedly beautiful area, famed for its Pinot Noir grapes. In 1991, Jeff produced his first wines for Amici Cellars in Calistoga, and continued to make wines for the label for nearly twenty years.
In 2009 he sold his interest in Amici and plotted his next step – a small batch Anderson Valley winery that would bear the name of his grandmother Lula. The winery he opened in 2010 is a tribute to his grandmother’s tenacity and optimism in the face of adversity. She was born in the Oklahoma Territory in 1879 and raised three children by herself while working multiple jobs with remarkable grace and optimism. Jeff cited her as his inspiration in life.
“Jeff and I were close friends since 1987, the year we both moved to Napa Valley and started our careers in wine,” says Steve Spadarotto, CEO at Far Niente Wine Estates. “He was charming and charismatic, loved by everyone who met him, and above all, an outstanding winemaker and loyal friend.”
Rest in peace to our beloved founder, winemaker and friend.