Meet Our Winemaker
Kestutis “Gus” Vizgirda believes that the secret of good winemaking begins in the vineyard. That’s why throughout the growing season you will find him touring the rows of varietals and envisioning the kinds of wines he will produce from the harvest.
A first generation American whose parents emigrated from Lithuania in 1949, Vizgirda grew up in a small farming community along the Fox River in Illinois.
“I grew up in a farming culture where growing things and producing food was a natural part of life. I began getting interested in wines and winemaking while I was in the Air Force and stationed in Germany. I’d spend my days on leave touring wineries on the Rhine River and I decided that I wanted to become a winemaker.”
After serving in the Air Force, Vizgirda moved to California and eventually settled in Temecula, where an emerging wine culture was forming what was to become Southern California Wine Country. He landed a job working at, what was then, The Culbertson Winery and began an apprenticeship with legendary local winemaker Jon McPhearson.
“I loved the process from the very beginning, and I was determined to learn wine making from the ground up.”
Through the next two decades, Vizgirda worked at several local wineries, working with some of the Valley’s best wine makers including Phil Baily, Mike Tingley, Steve Hagata and Joe Cherpin to refine his craft. Today, he has developed his own unique approach to making wine and has won gold medals for several of his varietals. He’s won Gold for “Best Viognier in the State”, and “Best Sauvignon in the State,” at the California State Competition.
He joined Wilson Creek as Winemaker in 2014, and is actively making his presence known with some delightful vintage wines. He is renowned for his “White Cabernet Sauvignon,” which is one of Wilson Creek’s most popular wines.
In addition to serving as Wilson Creek Winemaker, Vizgirda teaches wine classes at Mt. San Jacinto College and San Diego State University Extended Studies campus. He is also a judge at several local and international wine competitions.
“We are pleased to have Gus join our family,” says Bill Wilson, President and CEO at Wilson Creek Winery. “He brings a wealth of local knowledge to our team and is dedicated to making the best wines in the valley.”