We are organic dry-farmers.
The dream started around 1990, the time we built our first home in Topanga, California. It was then I became somewhat infatuated with wine. I was already interested in farming, and the 2 1⁄2 acres we purchased provided the opportunity to dig my heels in the dirt. Little did I realize where it would lead!
After several years of basement winemaking and farming an acre and a half of vines, I convinced Paula to come with me to explore Paso. That was the fall of 2003. On that first trip, we discovered the Adelaida community and were instantly taken by its rugged beauty.
So, in December of 2004 we moved to the Central Coast and started the process of building our home, winery, vineyard, and olive orchard.
Because our terroir is so similar to the Rhône region of France, we are Rhône-centric. Other than Cabernet Sauvignon, we grow Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Petite Sirah, Viognier, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc.
We believe the hard work is done in the vineyard. And, if we maintain this discipline, farm organically and without irrigation, we will create wines of intense aromatics, flavors, and color, that are a true expression of place, and the essence of our unique terroir.
We believe that if we’ve farmed well, there is little need to intervene in the cellar.
All of our fermentations use native yeasts. Our red blends are never fined or filtered. We only make blends from estate fruit and don’t adhere to conventional notions and trends. Rather, curiosity and creativity dictate what goes into our final blends.
Having no formal education in winemaking, Kevin has made up for it by reading a lot of books, farming, making (and certainly consuming!) a lot of wine in the last thirty years. He started making wine in 1992 in the basement of the Topanga, California home that he and Paula built in 1990.
In 1996, he planted a half acre of Syrah on their Topanga property. Within a year that was expanded to 1 1⁄2 acres and ultimately, he started a small bonded winery called Jussila Vineyard. A lot of buzz followed, and he foolishly started dreaming about getting far more serious.
In 2004, the Jussilas dove in and moved the family to Paso Robles with the purchase of 80 acres on Chimney Rock Road in the Adelaida area. The property was mostly planted with mature walnut trees, and a small slice of Cabernet (own rooted and irrigated). Since moving north they’ve built a home on the property, built the wine production facility and tasting room, planted a vineyard and olive orchard.
Kevin’s all-consuming passion for this project is obvious when you visit kukkula. He farms 54 acres of vines, doing a majority of the tractor work, harvesting, making the wines, and marketing the wines. Most days you’ll find him in the tasting room, where you can witness this passion.
Paula (Schwab) Jussila worked for 25 years in advertising and marketing in Los Angeles before starting kukkula with her husband (and winemaker), Kevin Jussila in 2004. She primarily helps out on the business side of the winery, focusing on marketing, PR, event planning, and overall macro decisions for kukkula. Beyond that, she is the chief errand officer, in addition to keeping track of the Jussila kids. You can often find her in the tasting room on weekends and driving all over the Central Coast on the weekdays.
Wine club and tasting room manager
Nikki joined the kukkula team in October of 2014 after years of volunteering in the wine industry. She moved to California from Pennsylvania in 2002, met her husband in LA, and landed in Paso Robles in 2005. She has always been interested in expanding her knowledge of many interests, including wine, and Paso was the perfect place for that to come together. She has a BS in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Illustration, and is an avid dog lover with three rescue pups and two cats. She is also passionate about health and wellness, has pursued a health coaching certificate and is a certified Pilates instructor.