Long time California winemaker William Knuttel has focused on ultra-premium winemaking for the entirety of his career.
Knuttel’s philosophy has long been to produce a broad range of wines in various styles within any given vintage, for the simple reason that a winemaker only gets to make a limited number of vintages over his lifetime. This wealth of experience has led directly to his adherence to traditional winemaking practices, which results in balanced, elegant wines that pair well with food and have excellent aging potential—the hallmarks of classic wine.
To that end, Knuttel keeps himself incredibly busy. He consults for numerous clients, for whom he produces a broad stable of labels across many varieties of Napa and Sonoma wines. His winery in Sonoma not only produces Ottimino, but also his eponymous William Knuttel wines along with numerous other brands including Teira and Tentadora. Previously, Knuttel was owner/winemaker of Tria, founded in 1993 to produce fine Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel. Knuttel was Saintsbury’s winemaker from 1983 to 1996, establishing the brand as an international leader in high-end Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. William Knuttel was VP/Winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery from 1996 to 2003, specializing in ultra-premium Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. He was Executive Winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard from 2003 to 2011, completely re-honing the styles and quality of that winery’s extensive portfolio. Knuttel was ZAP’s winemaker in 2005, producing their Heritage Zinfandel, and also served as President of the California Cabernet Society from 1999 to 2003.
William Knuttel is a long time resident of Napa. His daughter Kate and son Sebastian now work alongside him. Kate graduated from California College of the Arts, and handles all administrative duties for Arcana, Knuttel’s parent company. Sebastian, a cellist, majored in Mathematics at UC Santa Cruz, and is working his way up the winemaking ladder. William Knuttel is an avid supporter of the arts in general, and sits on the board of Berkeley Symphony, where he is the symphony’s wine sponsor. Additionally, Knuttel served for five years as founding President of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing professional orchestral experience to talented young musicians.