Posted on May 05, 2020

kukkula Wins ‘Wine of the Year’ in European Competition

The Paso Robles-based winery with Finnish roots took this year’s top prize at Finland’s largest international wine competition for its 2014 Aatto.

May 5, 2020 (Paso Robles, Calif.)kukkula, the organically dry-farmed winery in Paso Robles is pleased to announce its 2014 Aatto has won 2020 Wine of the Year at Finland’s 23rd annual Wines of the Year Competition. Another kukkula wine – the 2014 sisu – placed second in the Best New World Red Wine category.

That’s right: kukkula is kind of a big deal in Finland.

But, winning over Finland is no small feat. A nation of famously discerning drinkers, the Finns consume more wine per capita than Americans, according to the World Health Organization.

This marks the second time in two years kukkula’s Aatto – a Counoise-based Rhone blend – has been named one of the best wines in the world. In 2018, Wine & Spirits Magazinenamed the 2015 Aatto a Top 100 wine on the planet.

This win is doubly exciting for kukkula’s founder and winemaker, Kevin Jussila. Jussila’s parents emigrated from Finland, he grew up in Southern California speaking Finnish, and in 2003 he created his winery to reflect his Scandinavian heritage.

kukkula means “the hill,” or “high place,” in Finnish. And many of the wines in kukkula’s portfolio bear Finnish names. For instance, Aatto means “eve” in Finnish, and was named for his late father, who was born on Christmas Eve. And sisu is the Finnish concept of steely determination and grit, a philosophy Jussila lives by.

“For a Finnish-American making wine in Paso Robles, California, we could not be prouder to have won Finland’s most prized wine competition,” said Jussila. “The fact it’s a wine I made to honor my Finnish-born father has moved me and my family beyond words.”

The annual Wines of the Year Competition took place in Helsinki. A panel of Finland’s top wine judges blind tasted nearly 1,000 wines from all over the world, including France, Italy, Germany and the United States. kukkula’s Aatto was first awarded the Best New World Red Wine of the competition, with sisu placing second. Aatto then advanced and won Best Red Wine, and in the final round, it was awarded the overall Wine of the Year for 2020.

This is the first year kukkula entered the competition.