Lieu Dit is a partnership of longtime friends Eric Railsback and Justin Willett. The two met in Santa Barbara while Eric was finishing college and Justin was just beginning his career in winemaking. They were among a small group of young winemakers and restaurateurs in Santa Barbara unified by a common interest in wine and all its mysteries. After countless bottles shared together and many trips to France, Railsback and Willett decided to found Lieu Dit in 2011 and focus it solely in the varieties indigenous to the Loire Valley, now grown in Santa Barbara County. The varied micro-climates and marine based soils of Santa Barbara County are ideally suited to this set of grapes. Lieu Dit centers on Sauvignon Blanc as well as limited bottlings of Melon de Bourgogne, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Rosé of Pinot Noir. Each vintage, the quest for purity, elegance, and balance in every wine is paramount.
Justin Willett was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. After receiving his B.A. from UCSB, he got his start in the wine world working as the assistant at Arcadian Winery. In 2005 he went on to start Tyler Winery to focus on small production Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In addition to being the owner and winemaker of Tyler Winery, Justin is now the consulting winemaker for a dynamic new planting of pinot noir and chardonnay in the Santa Rita Hills called Wenzlau Vineyard.
Eric Railsback’s emergence in the wine industry began taking shape in Santa Barbara nearly a decade ago. After stints at the Wine Cask and the Hungry Cat, Railsback furthered his exposure to different regions and producers at Osteria Mozza and running the wine program at Gordon Ramsey in Los Angeles. Eric has a strong connection to the wines of France. Fluent in French and working harvests all over Europe, Eric brought his talents to Michael Mina’s RN74 – a premiere Burgundy-inspired restaurant in San Francisco. There, he led a team of sommeliers for over three years before bringing it back full circle to Santa Barbara with the opening of Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant.
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