Interview with Victor de la Luz, Winemaker at Gordon Estates and De La Luz Wines
As promised, we deliver part two of our winery/winemaker feature. A great face of Washington wine, Victor de la Luz is the winemaker at both Gordon Estates and his own winery, De La Luz Wines. Originally from Mexico, Victor was actually a professional dancer before catching the wine bug and diving head first into Washington wine. A student of the Walla Walla Community Viticulture and Enology program, Victor has crafted some beautiful new wines for Gordon Estates. He has an inspired story and I think you will very much enjoy learning more about him. Here is my interview with Victor de la Luz, winemaker at Gordon Estates and De La Luz Wines.
WWB: What initially inspired you to become a winemaker?
VDL: I would say it’s like falling in love - you never know where, when, or with whom. The first time was in Europe I was folk dancer in 1999; more specifically in Agrigento in Sicily Italy. I can’t say exactly what kind of wine, but I can say it was white wines we were tasting. At the moment when the wine hit my palate I felt a rush like never before. The taste, flavor, texture created such a memory; it’s one of those moments where if you could go back in time without hesitation you would go back for that moment again. The second time in 2007 while in Seattle, I was given the opportunity by Matthew Loso, the winemaker at Matthews Winery in Woodinville. Tasting that wine brought me back to the day of 1999. It was in 2007 that I knew I wanted to make a living making wine. To give people that feeling that had in1999.
WWB: Talk about the education you received at Walla Walla Community College and their enology and viticulture program?
VDL:Within the wine industry you’re always learning and growing. Walla Walla Community college enology and viticulture program is a complete and full circle program like none other. From the time you step into the program you are hands on at the start of fall at the peak point of harvest. There you learn the basics of pruning, thinning, and the full circle of the grapes growth much like the circle of life if you will from the birth until the end.
WWB: Your 2017 Gordon Estate Chardonnay (WWB,90) has wonderful depth and poise. Can you talk about the winemaking behind this great value chardonnay?
VD: Balance with weight, fruit, mouthful, acidity, and time. I have been drinking chardonnay for over 10 years. I wanted to make a chardonnay that people would love, enjoy, and talk about. Much like my first love in 1999. This 2017 Chardonnay is a result of having a great team from my former consultant winemaker Hillary Sjolund. Kamiak Vineyards manager Marc Nelson, along with his staff Ramon Armenta and Camilo Tapia, have extensive knowledge and experience from the soil, seed, and growth within the vineyard for well over 20 years. They make my job as a winemaker so much easier. I thank Gordon Estate for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of the team that made the 2017 Gordon Estate Chardonnay.
WWB: Last year you launched your own brand wines, De La Luz Wines. Can you talk about staring your own winery project and what we can expect from these limited production wines?
VDL: First I have to thank Gordon Estate for allowing me to use their space for this new venture. Having my own label is a dream come true. The making and production of the 2017 Gordon Estate Chardonnay was the beginning of things to come. For De La Luz, a single vineyard showcase will be limited releases from three different vineyards in three different AVAs. The first one is 2016 Merlot from Golden Ridge Walla Walla Valley AVA. The 2017 Merlot is from Two Blondes Vineyards Yakima valley AVA. De La Luz 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Kamiak Vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA.
WWB: What are some of your favorite wines of the world?
VDL: My favorite type of wine is what I savor in that moment. The moment when I am with friends, family, and loved ones. I can’t select a favorite wine of the world until I travel it.