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Anthem Winery & Vineyards

#WineMicMonday: An Insider's Look at Building a #Wine Brand

#WineMicMonday: An Insider's Look at Building a #Wine Brand

#WineMicMonday on VAULT29

"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog...because every glass and bottle of wine has a story. Last week, we recapped "Dynamic Duos" in Season 2, part 1. This week in Season 2, part 2, we look back at our stories focused on unique individual backgrounds and their pursuit of creating extraordinary wine brands. Prioprietor Julie Arbuckle, of Anthem Winery, covers "The Top Five Inside Facts I Have Learned in the WIne Business." In the story of Vineyard 36, three friends are brought together by a mutual love of hockey and wine. Check out how Uproot Wines appeals to the next gneration of wine drinkers and how Erin E. is shaping her brand from her experience in wine hospitality.


Team Anthem was founded in 2009 with a mission to produce small quantities of handcrafted wines from the most distinctive and promising mountainous vineyards in Napa Valley. Anthem's winemaker is the talented Jeff Ames - 2008's Winemaker to Watch - while industry renowned John Truchard oversees duties as vineyard manager. The gorgeous bottle-wrapped label is a topographic map displaying the contour of the land around the winery, with a star pinpointing Anthem's exact location. Read more here.


Meet Jason - co-proprietor of Vineyard 36 - a Napa Valley winery created by three friends with a mutual passion for friendship, wine and hockey. The story begins with Jason's first visit to Napa Valley and a private, guided tour with Dave Del Dotto himself. It was this particular wine experience that changed Jason's life and led to his first winery venture, Tobacco Roads Cellars. Eventually, he would befriend Cam and Tim - two professional hockey players in the NHL - who had a shared love and appreciation for wine. In this exclusive piece, Jason shares how these three came together to chase one shared dream - Vineyard 36 - and the stories behind the wine labels, UnMask and Cross Check. Read more here.


Uproot was started in 2011 with a very specific goal in mind: To make the highest quality wine for the next generation of wine drinkers. They wanted a label that would epitomize their values and to be as transparent and open as possible. Each bottle would give the consumer a taste before they even took a sip. This is how their signature Flavor Palette label was born. Each of the color blocks represents an aroma or tasting note. Together, the blocks make up a Flavor Palette that’s unique to each varietal and each vintage. Read more here.


Erin E. has spent most of her career in the wine industry on the hospitality side of the business which, for anyone in the DTC (direct to consumer) market, is as important as the quality of your wine. The opportunity arose to make her own wine and create her own brand, She wanted to integrate the importance of hospitality and quality into her wine and brand. Sure anyone can come up with a catchy name and label design. They key is coming up with a name and label design that you, the creator, 100% believe in. Read more here.

Anthem Winery

Anthem Winery

Team Anthem was founded in 2009 with a mission to produce small quantities of handcrafted wines from the most distinctive and promising mountainous vineyards in Napa Valley. Anthem's winemaker is the talented Jeff Ames - 2008's Winemaker to Watch - while industry renowned John Truchard oversees duties as vineyard manager. The gorgeous bottle-wrapped label is a topographic map displaying the contour of the land around the winery, with a star pinpointing Anthem's exact location.

We are honored to have Proprietor Julie Arbuckle exclusively shares her Top 5 lessons she has learned in the wine industry. It's clear to see Anthem has every aspect of what it takes to stand out from the crowd!


The Top Five Inside Facts I have Learned in the Wine Business By Julie Arbuckle, Proprietor of Anthem

1.  The wine business requires immense patience.  Especially when starting with raw land, it can take a decade or more of time, hard work, and investment to build a successful winery.  When we began the process of planting our vineyards in 2007, we knew it would be years until our dream of having a winery would come into fruition.  In 2009, our vineyards were still not capable of producing the ultra-premium fruit we require.  Nonetheless, with the encouragement of our vineyard manager, John Anthony Truchard, we decided to jump-start the process by hiring a winemaker and purchasing grapes from another Mt. Veeder grower.  Now that it is 2015, we are finally about to release our exquisite 2011 Mt. Veeder Estate Cabernet we planted seven years ago.  After the first Cabernet harvest on our own land in 2011, the wine spent about 20 months in the barrel and will continue to mature in the bottle before we release it this Fall.

2.  A wine’s quality is largely dependent on Mother Nature.  The Napa Valley in general and Mt. Veeder in particular has an ideal climate for growing grapes, but even here, if the Spring and Summer are not warm enough to ripen the fruit, or if frost sets in after but break, making ultra-premium wine can be a challenge.  In our hillside Mt. Veeder location on a bench overlooking North Napa, we haven’t had frost and have great sun exposure, so we have always been able to get our grapes perfectly ripe.  In 2011, however, we risked our entire crop by opting not to pick our grapes before the Fall rains came unusually early although many other wineries opted to pick before the rain.  Fortunately, the rain had no effect on the quality of our grapes and they got the additional dry weather and hang time they needed to fully ripen.

3.  Earning praise and high scores from wine critics will not alone build a new wine brand.  In our short time marketing our wine, we have earned high praise and scores, but it is not the only element that goes into establishing a successful wine brand.  New high end wineries need to find ways to get their wines on the palates of their target consumers and to earn those consumers’ loyalty and trust, which again takes time.   To earn our customers’ loyalty and trust, we do whatever it takes to ensure our wines are consistently lights out blockbusters.  In most vintages, this philosophy results in us selling any wine that does not meet our extremely high quality standards to other wineries while it is still in the barrel.

4.  One cannot underestimate the importance of a wine’s packaging, especially with all the options available today.  Our label and packaging, designed by John Schall, really speaks to our customers and has been featured on wine blogs, videos, and even the cover of a book about beautiful bottles.  My husband conceptualized our back label that identifies every factor and decision that went into making each of our wines in an approachable format.  It makes my job marketing to wine experts easy except of course when I need to update the labels for each new vintage of wine we bottle.

Anthem Winery & Vineyards Grapes | VAULT29

5.  Not all vineyards are created equal – not even close.  When it comes to producing world-class wine, the quality of the grapes can determine about 85% of the quality of the wine.  In short, the quality of wine that can be made is largely determined by the time the grapes are harvested.  When I interviewed 100 winemakers in order to find our superstar winemaker, Jeff Ames, I was surprised to hear most winemakers agree that their job was to adjust and control the last several factors that can improve a wine’s quality.  These factors include, but are not limited to, skilled winemaking, a smooth fermentation process, and access to the best barrels.  We use 100% French Oak barrels, mostly new Taransaud and Darnajou barrels.  The bottom line is even the best winemaker cannot make an incredible wine from average grapes.   

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