Lulu is the younger of Milla Handley’s two daughters. She and her sister Megan grew up on the Handley Estate, riding the bus to the winery after school every day. When she was a child, Handley’s vineyard and gardens were Lulu’s playground. After graduating from Anderson Valley High School, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she studied Rhetoric at UC Berkeley, and worked part time at Chez Panisse. Lulu loved being part of the urban food community but it was the rural country that called to her, so Lulu traveled to Galicia, Spain, where she apprenticed in the cellar at Do Ferreiro Winery. Working crush alongside the multigenerational team, she learned about making and appreciating the Spanish variety Albariño.
On her return from Spain, Lulu moved to Maine, seeking to learn, first-hand, old-world farming and homesteading skills. She apprenticed on diversified farms, learning to drive horses, work sheep with Border Collies, and thrive in the harsh winters. It was here that she met her husband Scott, a craftsperson and wooden boat builder, and in 2016 they moved back to Anderson Valley to channel Lulu’s love of nature, farming, and animals–which stems from her upbringing on the ranch–into running Handley Cellars. Lulu is incredibly passionate about continuing the Handley legacy, sharing and building upon all that her mother created while continuing to nurture the winery and vineyards for future generations.
Randy has lived in Anderson Valley since 1998 with his wife Gina and their three sons, Paul, Owen, and Finn. His winemaking career began as assistant winemaker at Fieldstone in Alexander Valley. Before long, the opportunities and rural beauty of Anderson Valley led him to a harvest-time job with Navarro Vineyards and as winemaker at Philo Ridge Winery during its startup years. In 2004 Randy jumped at the opportunity to join Handley as our Cellar Master.
In 2013 Randy was promoted to Co-Winemaker where he thrives on making balanced wines that showcase the local terroir. He is dedicated to his work and appreciates that his career is closely tied to agriculture and the natural cycles of the seasons. Pleasing Handley customers is one of Randy’s greatest motivations.
Since 1989, José has been Handley Cellars’ vineyard manager and is a chief member of our team. The Estate’s 30 acres of organically farmed Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer vines are cared for and nurtured by José. He oversees and performs year-round duties of pruning, irrigation, weed control, replanting, leaf removal, and harvest, just to name a few.
José and wife Ester (another valued Handley employee) are originally from San Martín, a pueblo in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Anderson Valley has been their home for years: José and Ester live and have raised three lovely children on the Estate, all of whom are now instrumental, versatile members of the Handley team, always ready to help in the vineyard and with events, and wherever they’re needed.
Milla Handley spent many years creating her unique wine brand, true to a place and to a set of values.
After earning her Fermentation Science degree in 1975 at the University of California at Davis, Milla worked for winemakers Richard Arrowood at Chateau St. Jean and Jed Steele at Edmeades. In 1978 she headed to Anderson Valley, which was then largely uncharted viticultural territory, and established Handley Cellars in 1982. “I was captivated by the valley’s possibilities,” Milla said. “The people here possess an independent spirit, and I felt I could follow my own path, somewhat removed from the entrenched winemaking culture. I wanted my wines to capture the essence of this extraordinary place.” Thirty years later, Handley Cellars’ wines do just that.
Milla’s commitment to responsible and organic farming began long before it was popular, and led her to obtain organic certification for the Handley Estate Vineyard in 2005.
Milla passed in 2020, but her spirit is very much alive and part of our day-to-day work at Handley Cellars.