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napa valley

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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Wine Families

Wine Families

"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 (Season 1: part 3), we recapped stories shared by wineries from the Central Coast. In Season 1: part 2, we took a look back at our stories from Sonoma County and in Season 1: part 1, we revisited Napa Valley experiences.

This week is the forth and final recap of Season 1 where we look back at family owned and operated wineries in California. Get to know Trombetta: A mother/daughter duo; Esterlina: The largest African American owned/operated family winery; Stomping Girl: An Israeli husband/wife team; and Hardball Cellars: A family's love for baseball and wine.

A Mother/Daughter Duo

It's pretty unusual to find a mother/daughter duo in the wine industry. Meet Rickey Trombetta Randcliff and Erica Randcliff: the duo who turned a home winemaking venture into a commercial endeavor with the release of their 2010 Gap's Crown (Sonoma Coast AVA)  Pinot Noir. At the start of the venture, Rickey was a home winemaker with a "learn-by-doing" approach in the vineyards. As things progressed, Trombetta eventually collaborated with California's famed winemaker, Paul Hobbs. Today, you can find Rickey tending to Trombetta's marketing, sales, and office needs, while Erica focuses on the wine production side of the business. With three Gap's Crown pinot noir vintages now under their belt, they've recently checked off one of their long term goals: adding a chardonnay to Trombetta's portfolio. Get to know more about this award-winning duo and find out what wine influenced Erica to become a winemaker.  Read more.


Largest African American Owned/Operated Winery in the US

Meet the Sterling Family: growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties who later established their own family winery operation in 2001.  As California farmers & winemakers for 3 generations, the Sterlings have pooled their collective talents and experience from farming, medicine, law and business to drive the successful family wine enterprise. Today, Esterlina Vineyards & Winery is the largest African American owned family vineyards and winery operation in the U.S. They produce award-winning wines with international demand and recognition from their facilities in Sonoma County. Esterlina wines have been featured on White House Menus with President Bush in 2005 and 2008, and specifically requested for President Obama’s Inauguration celebrations in 2009 along with numerous industry accolades. Read more about this gem of a family.


Israel Tradition, Husband/Wife Duo

Stomping Girl Wines was founded in honor of Uzi Cohen's grandmother, who began a family winemaking tradition in Israel. Back then, Uzi was recruited to help pick the grapes during harvest on the family's vineyard property, while his younger sister helped with foot stomping. Two generations later, in 2003, Uzi and his wife, Kathryn, carried on the tradition and began making wine in their home wine cellar in Berkeley, CA, and enlisting the help of friends and their three children. Today, they are dedicated to producing vineyard designate pinot noir and chardonnay using traditional, minimalist techniques influenced by time spent in Burgundy. In addition to their emphasis on vineyard designate wines coming from family-owned, sustainably-grown vineyards, they also deliver the same top-quality pinot noir in stainless steel kegs for restaurant by-the-glass programs. Read more about this dynamic duo...


A Family's Passion For Wine + Baseball

For the Westerberg family, the passion for wine, baseball and family combine for an unbeatable combo in Hardball Cellars! Mike and Cindy are transplants from Oregon and were raised by hard working families in the Willamette Valley. In the mid 1980’s, they followed their family to Napa where they planted roots and fell in love with the Northern California wine country. Their "Coaches" who influenced their passion for wine was none other than their parents and grandparents who made wine for well over 50 years in Oregon. In the "Rookie Years," Mike spotted an ad in the Napa Register for some u-pick Zinfandel fruit on Glass Mountain Road in St. Helena. He grabbed garbage cans and took his kids along for the ride to the vineyard. Hardball Cellars has an exceptional line up of Napa cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and chardonnay. Get to know their "Game Plan", "The X and O's" of winemaking, the "Five Tool Player"and more! Read more..

WMM: S1, pt 1

WMM: S1, pt 1

"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. In Season 1, part 1, we look back at our stories from Napa Valley. Take a deeper look of how the barrel process begins in "From Forest to Barrels to Bottle" by Neil Koch (proprietor and winemaker who trained under Philip Melka) of Canepa Koch. Understand why the verbiage on labels is important in "Label Talk: Let's Make It Meaningful'" by Brian Lamborn of Lamborn Family Vineyards. Get the insiders scoop into Merryvale - one of the most historic wineries in the Napa Valley in "Building on a Rich Napa Valley Legacy" by proprietor Laurence Schlatter. Learn about Voneyard {511} and the wines of the Diamond Mountain (AVA).  

From Forest to Barrel to Bottle

There are many factors influencing the outcome of a wine, including barrel selection. In this Canepa Koch story, learn how the barrel process starts (in the oak forest of France), to the French government deeming the trees as "ready" to be cut and sold at an auction to cooperages, to aging the staves (the wood pieces that make up the barrel), to making the barrels, to toasting the barrels per winemakers preference, and finally aging the wine prior to bottling and release. Read more!

The 2013 "The Dude" is on pre-order with a release date of April 1st, 2015!


Label Talk: Let's Make It Meaningful

There are stringent regulations on grapegrowing and winemaking, but the terminology that goes on a bottle is overlooked. With so many wines being produced today, wine terms themselves are becoming homogenized, and as a result, obsolete. In this Lamborn piece, learn why label terminology should be regulated, just like all aspects of making wine. If you’re not familiar with Lamborn, they are a “boutique,” “family winery” with “estate grown,” “cult” Cabernets and “old vine” Zinfandels “handcrafted” with care in “small lots” by “artisan” winemaker Heidi Barrett. Read more!


Building on a Rich Napa Valley Legacy

The landmark, family-owned St. Helena winery is one of the most historic wineries in the Napa Valley, as it's the first winery built in the valley after Prohibition. The Schlatter family, are tradiotionalist with a vision, and alongside their winemaker, the acclaimed and charismatic Simon Faury, they have sharpened their focus on Bordeaux varietals. With a prime location along Highway 29, their goal is to create an intimate, engaging atmosphere for visitors. From the wine and cheese experience in the historic Redwood Tank Room. to movie nights in the Cask Room, the Merryvale tasting experience is not to be missed. Read more


Vineyard {511} & Diamond Mountain Wines

Located just two miles southwest of Calistoga, CA, Diamond Mountain has a long and rich winemaking history in Napa Valley. Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyards, laid out near the mountaintop at 2,200 feet above sea level, is one of the oldest vineyards in Napa Valley, dating back to the late 1890s. The Diamond Mountain District AVA, created in 2001, is unique with only 500 acres of vines, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, although small amounts of other varietals. Wineries located in the Diamond Mountain District (DMD) AVA are small production wineries, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand cases each year. If you haven't got to know Vineyard {511}, do yourself the more!

Get your hands on the newly released, limited production 2011 Diamond Mountain Cabernet!

Are you a winery looking to share your story? We'd love to hear from you! Click here to get in touch!

Be Thankful, Drink Wine

Be Thankful, Drink Wine

In celebration of Thanksgiving, we're sharing our 7 Wines of Thanks. "Wine Mic Monday" and "The Hit List" will resume next week. Happy Thanksgiving Winelovers! Don't forget to capture your wine experiences using the VAULT29 app.

"7 Wines of Thanks" By Jen Loh & Naya Echiribel, VAULT29 founders

Year round, there is so much to be thankful for. We can begin compiling a ‘Thankful” list, which would include: health, happiness and love, but the reality is without wine our list would be incomplete.  Wine producers spend countless hours, days, and years to produce a bottle providing us the opportunity to taste their wine. We are truly blessed to be able to share our experiences with you in hopes you discover a new favorite. Here are seven memorable wines we’ve experienced thus far in 2014: 

2013 Rosé - Charles & Charles

This rose from Columbia Valley, Washington is a project collaboration between self-taught winemaker/Food & Wine Magazine “2009 Winemaker of the Year”, Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, BIELER Père et Fils, Gotham Project).  You can still find this wine at your local Whole Foods or wine shop.

  • $11-$15 per bottle
  • 90pts - Wine Spectator
  •  Wine Enthusiast ”2014 Top Buy"



2012 "Clements Hills" Grenache - Lava Vine

In August, we made a trip to Calistoga to taste the wines at Lava Vine. The crowd pleaser was the light to medium body Grenache.  This wine experience is unlike any other we’ve had. Winemakers went from pouring wines to playing the guitar, while the winelovers tasted, paired, laughed and sung along. The best part about it? Dogs are welcome too! 








2012 "Amor Fati" Pinot Noir - Rob Murray Vineyards 

Amor Fati means “Love your fate which is in fact your life”. The 2012 Pinot Noir was sourced from Murmur Ranch Vineyard located in the southern area of Santa Maria Valley, close to the ocean. Rob Murray planted the “virgin land” vineyard himself when he purchased it in 2007. Be on the lookout for Tooth & Nail winery opening this November in Paso where Amor Fati wines will be poured! 






2012 "Further" No Pasa Nada

We came across this red blend (65% zinfandel) from Paso Robles at a winetasting event aimed to help small family-owned wineries. No Pasa Nada is just that - small and boutique - producing approximately 900 cases winery-wide. You can only get this wine directly from the winery.

  • $20 per bottle
  •  Free Shipping – US addresses only






2013 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc - Long Meadow Ranch

This wine is the ninth vintage of sauv blanc from LMR’s Rutherford Estate in Napa Valley. The nose alone draws you in with the fruitiest of fruit flavors, like melon and pineapple. Clean, crisp, and refreshing is what comes to mind when describing this wine. At $20 per bottle, it goes perfect with pizza, crab cakes and bruschetta. When visiting the winery you must dine at Farmstead, their restaurant on the property – It’s divine! 





2006 “Materium” - Maybach Family 

When dining at Bottega, in Yountville, our friends insisted we drink a 2006 Maybach Family “Materium”. This highly acclaimed Weitz Vineyard Oakville Cabernet received 96pts from Wine Spectator and did not disappoint. You may find it on the wine lists of several fine dining restaurants in California, like Press, Gary Denko, and Jardiniere, as well as Per Se, Grammercy Tavern, Jean Georges, and others in NYC.  It’s definitely a memorable experience!    






2013 Paragon Grüner Veltliner - Tatomer

An amazing sunny day sipper from Edna Valley (Central Coast). We were so fortunate to experience this wine at Ad Hoc, a Thomas Keller restaurant in Yountville, CA. The set menu, which changes daily, is four-courses of American “home-like” foods which can be paired with wine, if you so wish to spend a little more money. This Tatomer Gruner Veltliner was paired with thyme biscuits, local honey, and goat cheese. Talk about party-in-your-mouth!!