Women Who Wine
A conversation with Laujor Estate Winery’s Vintner, Cheryl Lucido
With its seemingly European elan, Cheryl and David Lucido’s Laujor Estate Winery is named for their children, Lauren and Jordan – not a little-known wine region in France.
“My husband and I had dreamed of owning a vineyard,” says winemaker, Cheryl Lucido. “When this property became available, I knew, as in viscerally ‘knew,’ this was the place.”
Located in Lake County’s Red Hills Appellation, Lucido capitalizes on the crimson-hued volcanic soil the AVA is named for. The winery’s sun-drenched location and singular, mineral-rich terroir impart a distinctive complexity to the red varietals grown here – revealing itself after the alchemy from crush to cru.
Lucido’s transformation from wine lover to winemaker was purposeful – done the right way – not the hard way (well, maybe a little bit of hardship – after all, the best tasting wines come from the most tenacious vines). After receiving her degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, Lucido began an extensive apprenticeship in all things winemaking.
“I worked in a tasting room to understand the ‘front of the house.’ I learned the blending techniques, timing, and I worked the harvest – it’s tough, demanding work – but, so worth it. Winemaking is a passion.
“Most people think it’s ‘glamorous’,” says the stylish blonde (a countertop photo of the vintner in dungarees stomping grapes is a testament to the “Cleans up nicely” adage), “but really, it all starts with farming.
“Initially, we were only going to grow to sell,” says Lucido. “But during our first few years there was a glut of grapes and we decided to start making our own wine.”
By all accounts, to great success.
One of Lake County’s growing ranks of women winemakers, Lucido’s award-winning Petite Sirah regularly garners Gold in tasting competitions throughout California – after planting their first vines just over a decade ago.
Outside of “Collie’s Cantina,” the estate’s cozy tasting room named for a beloved uncle, is evidence of the vintners’ roots in farming. Tractors, water tanks and irrigation equipment among the estate’s Cabernet, Petit Sirah, Syrah Noir, and Cab Franc vines, are evidence of the day-to-day realities of growing grapes. Like many Lake County grape growers, the Lucidos utilize sustainable growing practices.
For gastronomes and oenophiles searching for the unexpected, Lucido invites you to expand your horizons beyond the food and wines of our better-known neighbors as a guest in their accommodations. With spectacular and unobstructed views of Mt. Konocti, and Clear Lake beyond, this “secret” treasure of a retreat is nothing short of enchanting.
“We have a lovely, well-appointed apartment above the tasting room,” says Lucido. “It’s the perfect starting point for a Lake County wine adventure – starting here of course!”
Bring a picnic, enjoy the wines, and the views!
Laujor Estate Winery
8664 Seigler Springs Road
Kelseyville, CA 95451
Tasting Room Hours – Daily, 11am – 5pm.
S’More Oysters Please!
December 9 – 5 – 7pm
Annual oyster party, $35 per person, reservations required.
See our Events Calendar for all the good things going on in Lake County!
Photography: ilumus photography + marketing