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William Knuttel

Proprietor & Winemaker

Long time California wine- maker William Knuttel has concentrated on ultra-premium wine making for the majority of his wine career.


Knuttel’s philosophy has long been to make an enormous range of wines in various styles in 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 lead to balanced, elegant wines that pair well with foods and have excellent aging potential—the hallmarks of classic wine.


His winemaking journey began at Saintsbury, where he was winemaker from 1983 to 1996, establishing that brand as an international leader in high-end Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Burgundian style. During that tenure, Knuttel founded and was owner/winemaker of Tria, producing fine Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel.

William Knuttel was Vice President & Winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery from 1996 to 2003, specializing in ultra-premium Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, and most recently he was Executive Winemaker for Dry Creek Vineyard, where he completely re-honed the styles and quality of that winery’s extensive portfolio from 2003 to 2011. Knuttel was also ZAP’s winemaker in 2005, producing their Heritage Zinfandel, and President of the California Cabernet Society 1999-2003.


William Knuttel lives in Napa with his wife Robin, a Cosmetic Dermatologist. His daughter Kate graduated from California College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, while his son Sebastian, a cellist, studied at UC Santa Cruz, receiving his BA with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Music--both are currently part of the family business. As its President over five years, Knuttel developed the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, a non-profit dedicated to bringing professional orchestral experience to talented young musicians, and, as an avid supporter of the arts in general, he sits on the board of Berkeley Symphony as Vice President of Development.