Meet a Vintner: Lulu McClellon of Handley Cellars
Growing up, her family’s vineyards and gardens were her playground, and today, as the proprietor for Handley Cellars, they still are! Meet vintner Lulu McClellon, whose passion for agriculture and organic farming led her back to the family business where she works alongside winery founder and mom, Milla Handley.
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Lulu: This morning I met with a local wine buyer to taste our wines. I’ve been working on inventory management as we are switching some of our vintages. Today we are sales focused and I am working with the tasting room staff to make some changes to our tasting room experience.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite part of running a winery?
Lulu: I love the agricultural aspect of the winery and the wine business. I love working with nature because many times you don’t have control. You have to be agile in this business because it is always changing. I also love that the product we produce makes people happy.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Lulu: We support a lot of local nonprofits by supplying wine to their events or auctions. We provide jobs for about 26 local people. We also grow organics which I believe is another community endeavor for our winery.
CA GROWN: What drew you into the wine business?
Lulu: My mom and my family first and foremost, I was born into it. But I also made the choice to come back into the business. I like working outside and participating in our rural community.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you’re not working at the winery?
Lulu: I love cooking, knitting, hiking, and reading.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give for someone wanting to get into the wine business.
Lulu: I would say you want to find your community and have your support network around you.
CA GROWN: What are one or two things you do at the winery to be sustainable?
Lulu: The big thing we do is we farm organic and are CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmer) certified. We have been certified since 2017. Growing organically is the most critical sustainability piece in my mind. We are providing a workplace for our employees that does not use commercial chemicals. The organic growing methods are also good for the stewardship of the land.