| The Herald News
David Teixeira has winemaking in his blood.
Drawing on his family’s longtime tradition of winemaking the old-fashioned way on the island of Madeira and mainland Portugal, he started making wine in California’s Bay Area using a process as minimalist as possible in order to preserve the essence of the grapes and its connection to the land.
In 2010, he began producing wine under his own label “Lusu Cellars.” The name was inspired by the legend of Lusus, the supposed son of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, to whom Portuguese national mythology attributed the foundation of ancient Lusitania, which included part of modern Portugal.
“I take the traditional Portuguese winemaking practices, which I learned from my parents and the time I spent in Portugal, and reapply them to historically relevant varieties in California,” Teixeira said.
The ultimate goal, he says, is to “find what the land is saying” and “build traditions around that, listening the entire time to make sure what is said in the land is upheld in the cellar.”
Sourcing from dry-farmed and sustainable family-owned vineyards and combining his family’s traditional craft with skills he acquired making wine at Eden Canyon Vineyards and Eno wines, he produces several wine varieties, including red, rose, zinfandel, white and California Madeira.
“I learned working for wineries up and down California’s coast to combine the wisdom in each tradition’s core connected with each site to create wines that are truly Californian and show a sense of place and time for each of their unique provenances,” he said. “The deep connection between where a vine is grown and the wine it produces is at the center of my craft.”
Lusu Cellars is headquartered in Berkeley, Calif. His wines are presently sold in California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Washington DC and online at www.lusucellars.com.
“Currently, I do not sell in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, but I look forward to finding a distributor to partner with in the future,” he said. “In the nearer future, I am looking into two different web companies that allow me to sell in the area with their licensing for online orders. I hope to get this going in the beginning of 2021.”
His interest in this region is not only fueled by a desire to grow his business, but also a deep connection to the area.
“We take at least one trip out there a year, if not more,” he said. “My family, on my dad’s side, has some distant cousins in the area. My dad emigrated to Venezuela before [coming] here. He first landed in Fall River before moving to California. He liked the area but was skeptical about the winters.”
And his wife is originally from Seekonk, Massachusetts.
“My father-in-law lives in Seekonk, but ends up in Fall River and other Portuguese communities out there often as he is the president of a youth soccer league,” Teixeira said.
In addition to winemaking, Teixeira grew up deeply-embedded in other Portuguese cultural traditions.
“I grew up playing folkloric music with my uncle and we actually went to the Festa [Feast of the Blessed Sacrament] in New Bedford. I really couldn’t believe how big it was,” he said. “I still play the Rajão [five-stringed instrument from Madeira] from time to time, but my involvement with my own community is more just helping out with the events than music now.”
He studied philosophy at the University of California, where he graduated in 2005, but his love for winemaking proved to be more powerful.
For him, the art and science of winemaking is “a hands-on expression of everything.” For more information, visit Lusu Cellars website at www.lusucellars.com