Carl Sutton

SPring 2018 Artist in Residence

Click here to visit Carl's AIR Project page.

Carl Sutton at Potek Winery in Santa Barbara (image: Ashley W Hollister)

Carl Sutton at Potek Winery in Santa Barbara (image: Ashley W Hollister)

Carl Sutton has been engaged with the California wine industry since the summer of 1990, starting in hospitality and quickly advancing towards vineyard and winery production positions. Early in his career he understood the importance of less than mainstream grape varieties and types of wine.

In 1996 Carl started Sutton Cellars in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley. The project started as a label leasing space from wineries he worked for and eventually led to a brick and mortar space of his own as one of San Francisco's rebirth of urban wineries. Along the way there has always been a focus, whether intentional or serendipitous, on vinous outliers and oft overlooked production techniques. From early on Sutton Cellars embraced wild yeast, wines that were bottled unfined and unfiltered, minimal or no sulfur additions, and a host of other practices that are now commonplace in California and the new world. Offerings have included dry barrel fermented and aged rosé at a time when the industry was still focused on White Zin, single vineyard Carignane at a time when that grape had been written off as part of Califorrnia's jug wine past, a solera based dessert wine that spanned two decades and was intentionally oxidized and aged in glass demijohns a la Banyuls, and most famously the first new domestic vermouth in over a decade which was released in 2009. Carl is rightfully credited with sparking the resurgence in interest in vermouth, both in the U.S. and abroad.

He currently resides on Nantucket when he is not consulting for new projects in the realm of fortified and aromatized wines.