Our Story

Several years before he began Tyler Winery, Justin Willett found himself working in a restaurant in Los Angeles where many a long evening was spent pulling corks, honing opinions and reveling in the majesty of great wine.

Among the wine Justin admired most, and into which he poured the majority of his waiter’s wages, were the great wines of Burgundy, and there were no wines he purchased more than that of the Burgundies of De Montille, and the Champagnes of Pierre Peters.

To him, these wines became the absolute standard by which all other wines could be judged and later influenced his own style of winemaking when he began to make Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in his native Santa Barbara County.

So, when some years later Étienne de Montille and his Chef de Cave, Brian Sieve, approached him about a collaboration, it felt like the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice had led him to this moment.

Étienne and Brian had been on an exploratory trip to California and Oregon in search of a winemaker and a place where they could put down roots. In Justin’s wines and the Santa Rita Hills, they found the precision and finesse they were looking for. A year later Rodolphe Péters, with a similar intent, would join forces with Justin and Étienne to create a range of sparkling wines, also from the Santa Rita Hills.

Now, after years of careful planning, hard work and exchanging of ideas, the wines of this humble collaboration between Étienne, Brian, Rodolphe and Justin are finally available to enjoy.

So, when some years later Étienne de Montille and his Chef de Cave, Brian Sieve, approached him about a collaboration, it felt like the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice had led him to this moment.

Étienne and Brian had been on an exploratory trip to California and Oregon in search of a winemaker and a place where they could put down roots. In Justin’s wines and the Santa Rita Hills, they found the precision and finesse they were looking for. A year later Rodolphe Péters, with a similar intent, would join forces with Justin and Étienne to create a range of sparkling wines, also from the Santa Rita Hills.

Now, after years of careful planning, hard work and exchanging of ideas, the wines of this humble collaboration between Étienne, Brian, Rodolphe and Justin are finally available to enjoy.

For Étienne and Rodolphe, Racines represents a chance to create something completely new, liberated from the weight of history that comes with making wine in their own villages in Burgundy and Champagne.

The Racines collection brings with it all the multi-generational perspective of their combined experience, crafted in the ocean driven cool-climate of the Santa Rita Hills, a terroir that has quickly come to be considered among the best in the world for making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

These wines are clearly the work of kindred spirits with complimentary tastes and skills, driven to produce wines of consistent quality and precision that can stand alongside the best produced in France.

While very much an expression of this unique terroir, the Racines wines exhibit some different qualities to those we have come to expect from the Santa Rita Hills.

Pinot Noirs - employing whole-cluster fermentation, adding elegance, lift and spiciness, combined with pigéage throughout fermentation, offering a burlier, more extracted flavor profile, with more weight, volume and exceptional aging potential.

Chardonnays, grown a few miles from the ocean in ancient marine sea-beds, giving these wines a sense of energy, transparency and precision, and the advantage of being crafted with the techniques and expertise of hundreds of years of Burgundian and Champagnes winemaking.

While very much an expression of this unique terroir, the Racines wines exhibit some different qualities to those we have come to expect from the Santa Rita Hills.

Pinot Noirs - employing whole-cluster fermentation, adding elegance, lift and spiciness, combined with pigéage throughout fermentation, offering a burlier, more extracted flavor profile, with more weight, volume and exceptional aging potential.

Chardonnays, grown a few miles from the ocean in ancient marine sea-beds, giving these wines a sense of energy, transparency and precision, and the advantage of being crafted with the techniques and expertise of hundreds of years of Burgundian and Champagnes winemaking.