LOLA might be one of the most beloved yet under-the-radar wine labels.
Sold in 36 states nationwide and in a handful of Asian and European countries, the brand is known for its quality, variety, and playful spirit. “Wine should be fun,” said founder Seth Cripe. “It should be enjoyed. It should be shared.” As a vintner, Cripe has developed a reputation as an accessible expert throughout the industry. His passion for winemaking started early. At 17, when his friends were prepping for college, Cripe loaded up his Subaru and drove cross country from his home in Anna Maria Island, Florida to the Napa Valley. He started as a harvest intern at Swanson Vineyards and has since developed his own wines that embody his passion for nature.
He lives his philosophy. An avid surfer, Seth resides near the ocean in Jenner and commutes to his office/wine-tasting ‘cottage’ in Calistoga and to his winemaking facility at Crocker Starr in St. Helena. He remains closely connected to Floridian friends and family with whom he partners in a prestige food business (Cortez Bottarga) for which he ironically is likely better known. But Seth finds little time to indulge his surf passion these days. On the road selling and pouring a great deal of the year, he is the face of the brand he founded in 2008, and what a face it is. Piercing blue eyes and a mane of wild curls serve to convey his bohemian nature. “I first met Seth in 2004 and he is still the same genuine person today,” said Juan Mercado, founder of Realm Cellars. “His wines are truly authentic and I always enjoy sharing them with friends and family. His trajectory is sky high!” The LOLA portfolio includes its classic collection of estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, California Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (for which Robert Parker awarded 91 points and a ‘Best Buy’ designation) and Rosé of Pinot Noir. LOLA’s Artisanal Series is a collection of wines made in the most natural way, with the fruit being sourced from some of Napa Valley’s most distinct vineyards. “I love that we’ve developed a loyal following that appreciates what we are doing” said Cripe. “I want to make a wine that my friends can afford, a wine we feel good taking with us to the beach, or into the woods, and drinking around a campfire.”
Reviewed by Fran Miller, Napa Valley Life Magazine