As the son of the late Hubert de Montille, Étienne de Montille was born to a heritage of crafting Pinot Noir at the highest level of authenticity. At the age of 19, he traveled to California to expand his horizons, before returning home to resume working with his father. Ultimately, Étienne took the reins of the family domaine in the late 1990s. He remained highly interested in the free-spirited, adventurous winemaking he’d found in California and made frequent trips to the West Coast, both to represent Domaine de Montille and to continue exploring Pinot Noir winemaking in the US.
In 2012, Rajat Parr arranged for Étienne to visit with Justin Willett at his fledgling Tyler Winery in the Santa Rita Hills. The two hit it off and became winemaking buddies, a friendship that led to the founding (together with Rodolphe Peters of Champagne Pierre Peters) of Racines Wines in 2016. (Racine is French for “roots”). After years of research, Étienne firmly believes that the Santa Rita Hills is one of the best places in the New World for making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in a cool-climate “European” style.