Passionate Process

A sip of Cella wine is all it takes to taste the heart and soul that goes into crafting each blend at the Kingman winery and vineyard.
For Carlos Cella, owner of Cella Wines, the craft is his passion, and it is evident in the high-quality flavor and aroma that bursts from every bottle.
Cella has been making wines since childhood with his Italian upbringing.
“I started making wine when I was 12 years old,” he said. “My parents were from Tuscany, and that was part of our chores at home.”
In 2006, Cella and his wife Zulma purchased 10 acres of land in Kingman and started a vineyard and winery from scratch. It was a long process to plant and grow the grapes, but Cella patiently nurtured the plants until he was able to open his doors in January 2014.
He makes both red and white wines, but all are a smooth, Italian-style.
“Back home we never, never made a strong, very dark wine, we always make a smooth wine,” Cella said. “Sometimes people ask me for a dry wine but I don’t have one, I just have nice smooth wines, that’s what I like. I hate when you swallow a wine and it feels like your are swallowing a piece of sandpaper, it’s not for me.”
Cella owns a vineyard in Temecula, California, as well, where he grows his white grapes. The drastic heat in the desert is actually ideal for harvesting red grapes.
“The red ones do better here than Temecula,” Cella said. “Red grapes love the intense heat during the day and the cool at night. White grapes are good in a climate that is cold and humid, and we don’t have either one here, so my whites are coming from California.”
A family friend runs the vineyard in Temecula, and Cella and his wife run the vineyard and winery in Kingman, where they process the grapes from both properties start to finish.
Cella said he uses “neutral” barrels to age his wine, to retain its natural flavor.
“Neutral means they don’t have any more taste of oak because they have been used so many times,” he explained. “I buy them that way because I don’t want any of my wine to have the taste of oak. I like the wine to taste like it should be, the real taste of wine.”
This time of year things are fairly quiet in the vineyard, but Cella is getting ready to release several new batches of wine in the new year. One is called Al Modo Mia, which means “my way” in Italian.
“The reason I did that is I give most of my wines family names and people ask me, ‘well you have all of your family there, why don’t you have one with your name?’ So that’s what I did with the Al Modo Mia.”
Another upcoming release will be his award-winning Gina Mia, named for his granddaughter.
“That one is a beautiful blend of Chardonnay, Moscato and Viognier,” Cella said. “It’s a really pleasant wine because it has no hint of sweetness but it’s not strong or dry, it’s really soft on your palette. It goes well with a meal but it’s also a nice wine to have while sitting next to the pool in the summer because it’s light and has a fusion of citrus flavors. Because of the blend of the three wines I have in it, although it’s a white wine, it goes well with red meat as well.”
A newer wine on Cella’s shelf is the Amabile dessert wine, meaning “gentle” in Italian, which he named for his mother. It is a delicious after-dinner pour with a rich fruity flavor.
“This is a sipping wine,” Cella said. “Some people like to smoke a cigar with it, you can put it on top of a cake and it’s great with chocolate. We cannot call it a port wine because the domain name of port means it is from Portugal, but that is what it is, a port.”
What is Cella’s favorite wine? He simply cannot choose.
“They’re all my favorite, they’re all my babies,” he said with a smile.
And it’s clear he truly means that. Each wine is near and dear to Cella’s heart because he loves every second of the harvesting process. He grew up with an appreciation for the craft and he continues to share his family’s heritage happily.
Sit down for a tasting with Cella, and you may also find that it’s difficult to choose just one favorite. He will pour you a sample of a wine you typically might drink, but he is also great at making a custom blend of a few of his wines to suit your preferences.
Cella said several customers have come in who solely drank white wines and have left being a bigger fan of reds, because his wines don’t have the dry bite that can accompany a stout red. Give it a try and you may tap into a new go-to wine.
The winery is open for tastings 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. If guests would like to stop in a different day, they may call ahead and if Cella is on property he will accommodate them.
He is also available for private tastings and will bring a sampling of his wines to your home for parties or work mixers.
Cella Wines is located at 6927 E. Brooks Blvd. in Kingman. Call 928-692-9600 or visit CellaWinery.com for more information.