Our Story

Our Story

Lula Cellars is a boutique winery located in the revered “Deep End” of the Anderson Valley whose handcrafted Pinot Noir wines receive high accolades and devoted fans. Lula’s focus is on world-class Pinot Noirs from our Estate and Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs and other single vineyard offerings from the greater Mendocino County. In addition, we are proud to produce a variety of wines that complement today’s diverse wine enthusiasts. The goal of proprietor Ken Avery and winemaker Matt Parish is to produce delicious wines that are as approachable as they are memorable.

Our customer-friendly philosophy is echoed in every aspect of our business. Guests can enjoy personal wine tastings in our outdoor tasting area with their four-legged friends happily milling at their feet.

Lula’s home is on a 22-acre property in Philo, just 2 1/2 hours north of San Francisco. For festival-goers or travelers to Mendocino County, our property offers a unique experience for wine tasting. The welcoming Lula team are all knowledgeable about our wines and growing regions and will happily share stories about the local history. 

Located on Hwy 128 at 2800 Guntly Road (next door to Handley Cellars), our pet-friendly tasting room offers stunning views of the surrounding property and the lauded Pinot Noir growing area in the “Deep End” of the Anderson Valley. We are open for tastings Friday – Sunday from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. (last seating at 4:15 p.m.) and reservations are required. We are open for retail sales on Monday and Tuesday and closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Our Team

Our Team
  • Ken Avery

    Proprietor

    Upon graduation from high school Ken moved to the Napa Valley and immediately was captivated by the burgeoning wine country. He put himself through UC Berkeley, graduating from the business school, working at Domaine Chandon in Yountville. That got him an opportunity to learn the operations side of the wine business. He built a career as a CPA and forensic accountant, while providing professional services to many wineries during a 35-year career. Lula was founded in 2010 and that year he was able to join forces with Jeff Hansen to provide his financial expertise to the start-up winery. Since 2012, Ken has led Lula’s operations and can be found working in the tasting room and tending to our beautiful Lula Estate. He is also enjoying learning the art and science of winemaking, working closely with Lula’s winemaker, Matt Parish.

  • Matt Parish

    Winemaker

    In June 2017, Lula Cellars introduced Matt Parish as our new winemaker. Matt has a stellar reputation as a top-tier winemaker in the US and around the world, and he brings more than two decades of winemaking experience to Lula. His brilliance has particularly shone with Pinot Noirs, and he has produced hundreds of 90+ rated wines, and earned countless accolades and medals across various brands, varietals and wine styles. A native of New Zealand who has called Northern California home for the last 15+ years, Matt has a far-ranging background spanning 30+ vintages – from small luxury wineries to the world’s largest publicly listed wine company, and from a wine startup to his own label make him particularly well-suited to propel Lula into the future. Says Matt, “I’m extremely excited to be part of the Lula family. Their history, the people involved, Lula’s loyal customers and the opportunity to be part of the truly magnificent Anderson Valley all make this a great adventure. I’ve always loved pinot noir as a varietal, and the Anderson Valley is one of a few places in the world where I feel it truly expresses itself. Lula’s pinots take full advantage of that originality and I’m looking forward to continuing the great tradition Lula has started.”

  • Dan Reed

    Tasting Room Manager

    Arrived in the Anderson Valley 10 years ago and started with Lula shortly thereafter. I have the pleasure of living on the Estate with my rescue dog, Kepler. I love the life style of “The Valley” and the people you meet. Everyday is better than the last.

  • Kim Badenhop

    Tasting Room Host

    Though born and raised in New York, I prefer to think of myself as more of a Californian. I’ve had two careers, which couldn’t be more different than the two coasts. First, I was an economist on Wall Street, with Merrill Lynch. Following a dream, five years later I was working in the kitchen of a Michelin three-star restaurant in southern Burgundy. After a little over a year there, I accepted a position at Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino and shortly thereafter had my own restaurant–The Rendezvous–in Fort Bragg. Upon the founding of Lula I carried their wines on my menu. To eventually take on my “fun weekend job” of pouring wines at the Lula tasting room was just sort of a natural progression.

  • Gary Grahame

    Tasting Room Host

    Gary has been with us for 10 years now. He lives in Caspar with his partner Sally. He has been a wine enthusiast for about 40 years, living in Sonoma for most of that time. He loves working at Lula Cellars because of the laid back atmosphere, the great Lula wines and meeting all the wine lovers who visit from all over the world.

  • Chris Lanier

    General Manager

    Chris grew up in Northern California, received a degree in Economics from UCLA and after 7 years in banking and 25 years in the software industry, turned his attention to his passion for wine. Chris joined Lula in 2013 and manages the day to day operations of the winery. He’s also very active in the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association as the board Vice President. Chris is married (his wife Dawn Lynn also helps with the wine club & hospitality) and has 2 daughters who have been properly raised to love wine as well.

  • Joni Avery

    Wine Club Manager

    Born in Southern California, Joni moved to the Bay Area in high school, ultimately graduating from Chico State with a business degree. After a fulfilling career raising three kids, Joni caught the winery bug from her husband, Lula Proprietor Ken Avery. Her focus is being the point person for the ever-growing Lula Wine Club. Her other passion is cooking and creating recipes to pair with Lula wines.

  • Norman Kobler

    Vineyard Manager

    Norman Kobler grew up working with vines and wines. His parents, Hans and Theresia Kobler, came from Switzerland in the 1950’s. After working at premier restaurants in Canada, L.A. and San Francisco, they settled in Anderson Valley and founded Lazy Creek Vineyard. His parents relied on Norman to manage the vines although he helped in the cellar as well. Aside from a year in Malans, Switzerland working on an exchange program at Liesch Family Wines, Norman has exclusively worked in the Anderson Valley wine region for the last 47 years since he was 7. He has been overseeing at Ferrington Vineyards since 1997 and raised his children there along with his wife, Colleen. It is Norman’s belief that the Pinot and Gwurtztramiener from Anderson Valley can hold their own anywhere. In 2017, Norman was awarded Vineyard Manager of the Year from the North Bay Business Journal. Norman and Colleen started Philo Vineyard Solutions in 2019. In addition to farming, Norman also has been a commercial fisherman since 1992.

Kepler

Greeter and Barketing Intern

Kepler is a rescue dog from Sonoma who joined the team in August. He is about 6 years old and has taken immediately to the laid back life of a winery dog. He can be seen lazing around the tasting room, barking at the frog’s in the pond or driving up and down Highway 128 with his constant companion, Dan, in the iconic Morris Minor.

Paisley

The Old Gal

Paisley is Ken and Joni’s rescue dog. She’s going on 13 years old so she spends less time in the tasting room these days, preferring to hang out at home. When you do see her she is either playing with Kepler, saying hi to the visiting dogs or sleeping. She definitely understands the job of a winery dog.

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