Kukkula Wines
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Our Story

kukku­la (kook-koo-luh), Finnish for the hill, or high place”

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 12 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 my wife, 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, and Roussanne.

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.

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The Team

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Kevin Jussila

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 five 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 12 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, Paula, Kev­in’s bet­ter half and enabler, allowed him to pur­sue the dream. They moved the fam­i­ly to Paso Rob­les with the pur­chase of 80 acres on Chim­ney Rock Road in the Ade­lai­da area. 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. Many days you’ll find him in the tast­ing room, where you can wit­ness this passion.

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Paula Jussila

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.

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Curren Du Beau/​Assistant Winemaker

I am born and raised in Thou­sand Oaks and attend­ed Cal Poly San Luis Obis­po, grad­u­at­ing with a degree in Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment and Pro­tec­tion. While attend­ing Cal Poly, I worked my first har­vest and right away knew it was some­thing I want­ed to pur­sue. I always have liked wine, but being part of the process of mak­ing it real­ly intrigued me and sparked my inter­est even more so. I worked a cou­ple har­vests at a win­ery in San Luis Obis­po, most­ly with fruit from the Edna Val­ley area. Want­i­ng a change of scenery, I stum­bled upon this won­der­ful team and prop­er­ty here at kukku­la. My pas­sion for wine­mak­ing has tru­ly grown here, cre­at­ing wines with Kevin, that show our sense of place in this ter­roir. When I am not at work I enjoy surf­ing, hiking/​camping, and hang­ing with friends, usu­al­ly drink­ing some good wine. 

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Austin Gandler/​Tasting Room & Club Manager

Austin Gan­dler was born in Birm­ing­ham Alaba­ma to Ital­ian and Jew­ish par­ents (claim­ing wine’s in the blood!”) before mov­ing to Cal­i­for­nia to pur­sue a degree in bio­chem­istry. Inspired by the Cen­tral Coast’s farm to table move­ment, he began work­ing in a tast­ing room after fin­ish­ing uni­ver­si­ty only to find he would fall in love with wine, the soil which cra­dles the vines, and the eclec­tic com­mu­ni­ty that is drawn to the craft. After a few years in organ­ic vine­yards between Cal­i­for­nia and New Zealand, Austin joined the kukku­la team for our com­mit­ment to organ­ic farm­ing prac­tices, and low inter­ven­tion wine­mak­ing. As our new Tast­ing Room & Club Man­ag­er, Austin is look­ing for­ward to shar­ing his enthu­si­asm for wine.
In his free time, you can find him surf­ing and build­ing boards in Cayu­cos, com­pos­ing ambi­ent music, or cook­ing with friends.