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WINE REVIEW: Handley Cellars ‘Estate Vineyard’, 2017 Chardonnay, Anderson Valley, CA ($28)

by Andrew Chalk

The story behind Handley Cellars from the marketing peeps…

“Handley Cellars, a small, family-owned winery in California’s Mendocino County, was founded and bonded by winemaker Milla Handley in the “Deep End” of the Anderson Valley in 1982. Milla was one of the first women to graduate UC Davis with a degree in fermentation science in the 1970s, and was also the first female owner-winemaker in the United States to establish a winery in her own name.

Milla’s first Chardonnay--which she produced in her basement--won Gold at the Orange County Fair and over the decades Milla inspired many women to pursue a career in wine as Handley became known for a wide variety of food-friendly bottlings.

Sadly, Milla passed due to complications related to Covid on July 25, 2020, and her daughter Lulu Handley has taken up her mantle as President, ably assisted by winemaker Randy Schock in the cellar. Handley’s current releases are a delicious testimony to the family’s multigenerational legacy of working the land and producing excellent wines in this lesser known gem of a region.”

I wish Anderson Valley would use ‘conjunctive labelling’. That would put Mendocino County on the label too, enabling the 99% of the planet who don’t have a clue where Anderson Valley is to have some idea of where this wine came from (I added CA to the title).


Appearance: Straw;

Nose: Citrus, vanilla, cream soda;

Palate: Lemon, pineapple, vanilla;

A pleasant wine that can be enjoyed with food or onits own.




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