Handley Cellars (Founding Winemaker and Proprietor)
After earning a degree in Fermentation Sciences in 1975 at the University of California, Davis, Milla worked for winemaker Richard Arrowood at Chateau St. Jean. Following the birth of her first child in 1978, she moved to the remote winemaking region of Anderson Valley, where she became assistant winemaker to Jed Steele at Edmeades Winery.
Milla struck out on her own in 1982, making the first Handley Cellars Chardonnay in her basement. At that time, Anderson Valley was still uncharted viticultural territory. “I was captivated by its possibilities,” Handley says. “Anderson Valley’s beauty and isolation appealed to me. My husband Rex and I felt that Anderson Valley was a good place to raise children. The people here possessed an independent spirit, and I felt I could follow my own course, somewhat removed from the entrenched winemaking culture. I wanted my wines to capture the essence of this extraordinary place.”
In the last three decades, Milla has emerged as a champion of Anderson Valley as a winemaking region. She is committed to producing Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, sparkling wines, and other varietals that are elegant depictions of her valley and her art.