Mike Lucia is no newcomer to the Sonoma wine scene. He has been laying tracks in the world of wine since he first landed in Healdsburg as a teenager back in ‘92 and started rubbing shoulders with local winemakers during after-school restaurant gigs. Before long, Mike worked harvest with DeLoach in the Russian River Valley, an experience which led to jobs at many other well-respected wineries. In 2007 he accepted a position at Goldeneye Winery before even graduating from the Enology program at Fresno State.
After three fruitful years in Anderson Valley with Goldeneye, Mike took on the role of Associate Winemaker at Copain Wines. Inspired and empowered by his mad skills, Mike started a side project in 2014 to produce the kind of wines he loved to drink and always wanted to make — and so Rootdown was born.
In 2016, Mike left Copain to focus his attention entirely on Rootdown — a brand name which refers to the influence of the soil on wine, particularly in organic winemaking. Mike has always been more interested in what the vine’s roots are drinking rather than how the sun is interacting directly with the fruit. Rootdown focuses on varietal wines from single vineyards that lead with earth and texture, rather than only fruit. Stylistically, these wines are also low alcohol, high acid, and made from relatively obscure grapes from California: Trousseau, Sangiovese, Mourvèdre, Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, and Pinot Blanc. Mike sources his fruit from organic vineyards in Mendocino, Sonoma, and Amador Counties. His style remains very decidedly hands-off, allowing the grapes and specific sites to speak for themselves. He ferments the wines with native yeasts, no new oak, and sulfur only in amounts equal to what is found naturally on the vine. Mike’s technical prowess as a winemaker is finely tuned, but he usually prefers to let curiosity inform what happens with his Rootdown wines.