Uncorking Passion: The GoGi Wine Journey

In the picturesque landscapes of California’s wine country, passion intertwines with tradition to create something truly remarkable. For Kurt Russell, the pursuit of winemaking wasn’t just about crafting a product — it was a deep dive into a world of flavors, techniques, and stories that would come to define GoGi Wine.

Kurt’s fascination with wine began many years ago during cycling adventures with Goldie and their family across the renowned wine regions of France, Italy, and California. Those memorable journeys through scenic vineyards offered ample opportunities to taste a plethora of exceptional wines. Recalling his experiences with Burgundy wines, Kurt mentioned how they captivated his taste buds and ultimately stole his heart. It wasn’t long before Kurt’s dream of crafting his own fine wines, particularly Pinot Noir, took root. Engaging in meaningful conversations with various winemakers and producers across Burgundy, Bordeaux, Tuscany, and Napa further fueled Kurt’s desire to transform his winemaking fantasy into a tangible reality.

Fast forward several years, while working on Quentin Tarantino’s film “Death Proof” in the Santa Rita Hills area of northern Santa Barbara County, Kurt stumbled upon award-winning wines that rivaled the beloved Burgundian varietals he cherished. Serendipitously, an old acquaintance of Kurt’s, Fess Parker, had been producing wines from his expansive and picturesque vineyard nearby in Santa Ynez. A casual discussion with Fess about delving into winemaking led to a pivotal moment when he encouraged Kurt, telling him that his passion for wine was worth pursuing. 

Shortly thereafter, Kurt was introduced to Peter and Rebecca Work, pioneers of triple-certified wine (organic, biodynamic, and sustainable) in the United States. As the owners of Ampelos Cellars in Santa Rita Hills, they produce award-winning wines utilizing traditional methods. Devoid of shortcuts or gimmicks, Peter’s old-school winemaking process resonated with Kurt’s own ethos of authenticity and excellence. 

“I was never interested in just slapping my name on a bottle. I was committed to gaining the knowledge and insight necessary to be a hands-on winemaker,” said Kurt. “For three or four years, I was able to spend a lot of time in the vineyards, learning about the process and intricacies of winemaking — terroir, weather patterns, barrel types, and all the other variables that impact how the grapes grow. I was extremely fortunate that the Works understood my vision and took me under their wing, helping me to develop the type of wine I wanted to create.”

There’s always room to grow.

Unlike those content with merely jumping onboard the celebrity spirit bandwagon, Kurt’s quest was one of deep understanding. He spent years in vineyards, learning the nuances of barrel tasting, blending, and biodynamic farming. His goal? To create wines that reflected elegance and liveliness, inspired by the Burgundian style he admired. Over time, Kurt has discovered the clones he prefers to use as his base and their proper percentages. He strives for a nice balance in GoGi Wine’s eccentricities. Trying to avoid having one component stand out so greatly that it becomes overbearing. It’s about having a taste that is fleeting, allowing it to be replaced with a flavor palate that is equally as intriguing. It should come as no surprise that blending day is what Kurt looks forward to the most.

“There is something extremely fulfilling when the structure, texture and taste are all in alignment,” said Kurt. “To me, the beauty lies in the fact that there is no formula. Each year, you take what the ground gives you and try to make what you feel is the best and balanced wine to bottle.”

For Kurt, the most fulfilling aspect isn’t just the product but the journey itself—the creative process, the personal growth, and the social connections forged through wine. Kurt especially enjoys getting to hear about the experiences people share over a glass of GoGi Wine or what it was like when they tasted it for the first time. GoGi is a testament to patience, passion, and the joy of lifelong learning. The name of the brand and each vintage also holds a deeper meaning. With Kurt’s own nickname, GoGi, adorning the label he has also put thought into dedicating each blend to a family member. 

“The unique character traits of each vintage reminds me of a loved one in my life and so I name that blend after them,” said Kurt. “Every year, the Chardonnay is named for Goldie. It’s a fresh, crisp take on the classic version that is topped with gold wax and gold lettering on the label.”

Other vintages are named for Kurt’s mother, father, siblings, children, and grandchildren. Like family, the wine holds stories and memories, evoking a sense of connection and heritage. The members of GoGi Wine’s intimate allocation list have become an extended family. They are serious GoGi drinkers and know it from everything else. Additionally, they understand and share in Kurt’s belief that wine is meant to be paired with food. 

As GoGi Wine finds its place among enthusiasts and connoisseurs, Kurt looks towards the future. The next generation, with their own ventures and interests, becomes part of the winemaking tapestry. It’s a legacy of producing authentic fine wine made from grapes and knowledge that grows hand-in-hand.


GoGi is truly Kurt’s wine. His love for the craft and concept of the ideal blend exists in every bottle. 

To learn more about GoGi Wine and where you can purchase a bottle (or few) of your own, please visit https://gogiwines.net/