Vintner Profiles is a post series that puts a spotlight on one of their East Bay Vintner Alliance winemaker members.
About Lusu Cellars
David Teixeira is the owner and winemaker at Lusu Cellars in Berkeley. There he produces Heritage California and Rhone varietals. They source their fruit from dry-farmed and sustainable family-owned vineyards, using minimal winemaking practices to extract the essence of each vineyard. Their winemaking practices focus on showcasing the characteristics of the grapes and the earth they grow in. They believe that the entire process is just as important as the results for each wine they make. They make wines from varietals that they love, and their passion for the winemaking process goes into every bottle.
Why Lusu Cellars?
The origin of their name is inspired by the legend of Lusus, who brought vines and winemaking to the Iberian peninsula. Lusus, a companion of Bacchus the Roman god of wine, voyaged to the mountains, valleys and coasts of Portugal and began many of the now centuries-old enological traditions that carry a rich history in the region. The different soils and climates in each region created unique connections between the people and the vines. His family made wine for generations on mainland Portugal and the island of Madeira. Bringing their knowledge, embedded in tradition, to a new land in California, renewed the cycle Lusus created.
Growing up making wine on California’s delta, David learned how things were done in the old country, learning along the way the process and craft of winemaking. After touring the vineyards, talking to the farmers, and picking the grapes, his parents and uncles would get together to make plans for the harvest, deciding what to do and when to do it. Each year the fruit was brought back to their crusher and press, where elbow grease and Portuguese ingenuity ruled. His father was the gatekeeper of traditions, watching the time of year and lunar position to schedule the best times for one winemaking task or another. Now, in his own wine, he uses what he learned working for wineries up and down California’s coast to combine the wisdom in each tradition’s core connected with each site to create wines that are truly Californian and show a sense of place and time for each of their unique provenances. The deep connection between where a vine is grown and the wine it produces is at the center of his craft.
The core of his mission is just what Lusus started: find what the land is saying and build traditions around that, listening the entire time to make sure what is said in the land is upheld in the cellar.
David’s Winemaking Philosophy
His winemaking philosophy is simple—nature is always driving the evolution of a wine. He encourages the positive natural tendencies of the grapes, introducing as little as possible to get in the way of their expression in order to create wines that have a clear tie to their origins. His growers spend a lot of time looking after these grapes and he want their work to be showcased.
Sourcing from older vineyards that are dry farmed and sustainably grown, they look to craft wines from heritage California and Rhone varietals. Every bin from each vineyard and year is a different entity with a different need. There is no regimented formula to his winemaking. I taste and listen to each element of the process and determine what to do then and there. I use indigenous yeasts on the grapes from each vineyard whenever possible. During fermentation, 1 to 4 punch downs are done by hand on every bin each day. Older barrels allow for mild aging, while never overshadowing the inherent qualities of the grape. Secondary fermentation is allowed to occur from native organisms found on the grapes and in their barrels. He listens to what a wine is telling him so that interventions can be done as gently as possible with no need for filtering, fining, or other additions.
Tasting Room Hours:
Saturday 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The winery is pet friendly
805 Camelia St. Berkeley, CA, 925-963-5009, lusucellars.com