was founded in 1998 with wine production growing annually from 400 cases to a current 5,800 cases. Consistent with the dedicated philosophy of its winemaker Seth Kunin, we remain a boutique producer of high quality premium wines made with grapes purchased from the finest vineyards of the heralded Central Coast region of California. Our varietals include Syrah, Zinfandel, Viognier and blends of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Our wines are crushed, barreled, bottled, cellared then distributed from Central Coast Wine Services, a winemaking facility located in Santa Maria, California. Kunin Wines can be purchased through our national network of wholesale distributors. Our distributors sell to influential wine retail shops and hundreds of the finest restaurants within the United States. The Kunin Wines brand has developed an uncompromising commitment to produce consistent, premium wines, which have been awarded and recognized since inception by foremost industry publications and rating notables such as Robert M. Parker Jr. and the Wine Advocate, the Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast.
It doesnt do any good to make great wine if you cant get it into the hands and mouths of the public, so a good understanding of the entire wine industry is invaluable. After several years in the restaurant business, I became armed with dangerous amounts of knowledge and understanding and developed an undeniable passion for making wine. Fortunately my established relationships led me to my first position in the wine industry, working harvest in the cellars of Gainey Vineyard, located in the now very popular (thanks to the movie Sideways) Santa Ynez Valley. I absorbed volumes from both the vineyard manager and the winemaker and will forever be grateful. It was a solid apprenticeship to my winemaking career.
After serving tenure at Gainey, I had the practical and technical knowledge necessary to make good wine. Thanks to a serendipitous meeting with Mike Dusi, the grapes for my first release were purchased from the esteemed Dusi Vineyards in Paso Robles, California. This was fortunate, because the philosophy that I had arrived at after tasting wine for years, and now making it, was that wine is about fruit, and that the predominant characteristic in any wine should be the qualities of the grapes, and, therefore the vineyard that they came from. That is just what the Dusi fruit offered me.
Manipulations, adjustment and the judicious use of oak barrels may occur in the cellar, but should not push the character of the grapes and vineyards to the back seat. All too often I taste wine that has been manipulated to within an inch of its life in a desperate effort to make predictable wine based on marketing surveys or last years successful sales. This is totally the opposite of what I think winemaking (and, therefore, wine drinking) is all about. If one is to completely experience and enjoy a wine from a particular region, then the nuances of that region are part of the drinking experience. If the weather was a bit warmer one year, and the wine from that vintage shows more ripe fruit and less acid, then this is an accurate representation of the fruit and its terroir. If the next vintage is cooler, with more earthy flavors and tart acidity, then so be it. That is what Mother Nature intended for you to taste. The process should not be blurred by invasive winemaking techniques.
Well, you might ask, what if the weather is awful and the vintage is terrible? In this situation, many winemakers may try to manipulate the wine to make it more palatable and consistent. I believe even during terrible vintages, there are great grapes grown. But, these grapes can only be found at great sites, and even then, only in small quantities. So, the way to make good wine in a bad vintage is to "source and sort" source your grapes from the best vineyards, then sort through them, using only the best of the lot. Unfortunately, the best vineyards dont always have enough grapes (which is part of why they are the best), and the weather doesnt always seem to cooperate, so it is a fact of life for me that Kunin Wines will always be small, and that our production of various wines from different vineyards may fluctuate from vintage to vintage. By staying small and letting vineyard and vintage quality dictate production levels, Kunin Wines will always be able to make the best wines possible from the best grapes available, year after year.