A Berkeley, California transplant's view of becoming an Accidental Vintner.

Dry T-Shirt Contest Time!

It's Dry T-Shirt Contest time once again at Anomaly Vineyards and we are excited to see year's entries! We always have such a hard time choosing as there are so many great ideas out there from YOU! So, to recap:
Enter as many times as you like, just email us (us, being me, Linda@Anomalyvineyards.com) your slogans (examples from previous winners below), you can create a slogan for the back (which can be a bit longer) as well as for the front (which is short, ie, SORT FAST, SORT OFTEN - okay, that's a terrible example but it's what popped into my head just this minute. I will definitely not be entering for obvious reasons!).
A t-shirt in the size of his/her choice AND a bottle of our current release (2008) Anomaly Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon shipped directly to you, we do not make you come and get it (unless you want to!).
The contest will end September 15 so that we can have them printed up in time for the first day of harvest - anyone want to predict our first pick date? I'm thinking...... late, like October....!
So, without further adieu, here are winners from harvests past. Chantico!
Harvest 2010 Where the wine and the bottom line are red!
Harvest 2009 If I've only one life, let me live it as a Cab!
Harvest 2008 You picked a vine time to leave me, Lucille!
Harvest 2007 It's more than just a crush
Harvest 2006 Cluster's last stand!
Previous years included: Tanks For The Memories; Picky, Picky, Picky; and Think Globally, Drink Anomaly

Our Winemaker, Mark Porembski, makes us proud!

If you are able, turn to page A5 the Wine & Business section in today's St. Helena Star (our local weekly newspaper), and you will be as proud as we are to see our wonderful winemaker, Mark Porembski, and his wife, Jennifer Williams (winemaker for Spottswoode Winery) pictured in the article on the Napa Valley Premiere auction which will be held at the St. Helena CIA (Culinary Institute of America) this Saturday. Woooo Hooo Mark and Jen! Here is the link, then just navigate to the Wine and Business section www.napavalleyregister.com/star/ CHANTICO!

Rain and SNOW!

There's snow in them thar hills - yes, SNOW we can see from our kitchen. Can you believe?? I was lucky to pick two baskets of lemons and oranges last night before the rains hit. Once the fog lifts, I will post photos of SNOW! The grapevines are asleep so they will miss this display, but not to worry as their blanket of "terroir" (aka "soil"!) will keep them safe and warm. Chantico!

Someone's Gotta Do It!

This morning the big truck pulled up, the operator removed a humongous hose from the tank on the truck, and the suction began. Yes, it's time for our annual "clean out the underground waste" (as in wine waste) storage tanks. The accumulated skins, seeds, run-off, juice, etc. from Harvest 2010 must be cleared out to make way for Harvest 2011 (yes indeed, we plan way ahead)! I'd post photos, but I think the visual is not too pretty, so instead, think Spring, flowers, sunshine!
Chantico from a balmy 42 degrees in Sunny St. Helena!

Hello out there..!

So, when I blog (which I know I don't do as often as I promise I will), I do always wonder if anyone out there is reading my prolific prose! Surprisingly, people do mention the blog to me every now and again, and generally on that day, I blog again, being revitalized that indeed there are people out there reading! (Yes, there is a point to this post!). We are about to release our 2008 vintage on March 1, so I was going through our website and, after how many years of having a live website, I found a typo of gargantuan proportions (got you interested, didn't I?! - Actually, not gargantuan, but really people, no one picked it up!). I spelled San Franciso wrong - did you catch it? Anyway, I just wanted to check back in with you all and say, "Hello." Hope the rains aren't washing you away; we are thrilled as the quantity of rain from the storm last week just about filled up our wells. Chantico.

Late Harvest (but not like in a Sauternes!)

As most of you probably have figured out, this June gloom (that generally limits itself to the Southland (like in Los Angeles and San Diego) has permeated our idyllic Napa Valley! We wake up to overcast skies which clear about 11 am. What's up with that??!!

What this "anomalous" weather equates to is a later than usual harvest. We are not complaining, as a later harvest means a longer summer for us "farmers!" What does this mean for you? It means the Dry T-Shirt Contest deadline will be extended!! How does September 15 sound? This still gives us time to pick a winner (hopefully YOU!), have the t-shirts printed, and still be ready in time for harvest. Any guesses on the first date of harvest? Send in your guesses. The person (or persons!) who guess the correct date will also get a Harvest 2010 t-shirt sent to them!

Enjoy your summer, and Chantico!

It's that time again!

Dry T-shirts 2009

It’s July and it’s that time – say it with me! What time is it?? WHAT TIME IS IT? I can’t hear you??!!! Yes, that's right, it’s DRY T-SHIRT CONTEST TIME!

For the Harvest 2009 t-shirts, the winning slogan that won the bottle of Anomaly Vineyards Cabernet was: IF I'VE ONLY ONE LIFE, LET ME LIVE IT AS A CAB!

What will be the 2010 t-shirt slogan? Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

In 2008, the winning slogan was: "You Picked A Vine Time To Leave Me Lucille"
2007, produced: It's More Than Just A Crush" 2006's winning slogan was "Cluster's Last Stand", and previous winners were Tanks For The Memories; Picky, Picky, Picky; and Think Globally, Drink Anomaly!

The winning slogan-writer gets not only a T-Shirt with the winning slogan, but also a bottle of our newest release, 2007 Anomaly Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. So put on your thinking caps and send 'em in. You can send in as many as you like. The contest ends a bit later this year as we think harvest will be on the late side. What does that mean? We're thinking late September. So the contest will end August 31 (we have to have them printed up!!). Send your entries to: Linda@Anomalyvineyards.com

Our Team Anomaly will vote on the winning slogan and the winner will be notified by email and by a snail mail package with the t-shirt. The runner up whose slogan goes on the front of the t-shirt (short "breezy" phrases please!) gets the same prize!

So, get those creative juices (preferably cab juice) flowing, and we look forward to your entries! As always, Chantico.

Dry T-Shirt Winner 2009
Winemaker Mark Porembski and Harvest Helper Mark Dombrink

2008 Memories
2008 T-Shirts
Gerich, Mark, Steve & Seth

Do we have to to to Phoenix???


No, no, we are not moving to Arizona, but with this persistent rain, the weather there does look tempting. Actually, Steve just left about an hour ago to fly to Houston to visit some of our restaurant accounts, just to say a "Hi y'all!)! I'll join him on Saturday and we will catch up with eldest son, David and his new wife, Katie (now we have two Katie daughter-in-laws - both "acquired" within 2 months of each other! - August and October weddings last year!).

Many are asking us if the rain has affected our grapes. The short answer is "no." The longer answer is, "thankfully, not our grapes." We purposely prune the vines as late as possible to avoid late frost damage. We never in our wildest dreams that that our late pruning would help with rain! Noah would be proud this year of Mother Earth and we would be out there helping to construct that ark. It is snowing this week in the Sierras - come on, folks, it's almost June!

Once the vines have "flowered" (check out blog posts from around this time last year for flowering photos), a hard rain can knock off the flowers which are the predecessor to the grape. So, no flowers, no worries about the rain affecting the grape crop. There are other vineyards that have flowered (which could be a problem if the flowering has not completed) and some that are in the midst of flowering (not a good thing if the rain is hits those vines hard enough). I think it will be a couple of months before the Napa Valley truly knows the effect this late rain has had on the 2010 crop.

We must always remember that, even though grapes grown for wine are not an agricultural product in the true sense of the word, the bottom line is, we are farmers and subject to the whims of the weather.

Wow, that was one of the most serious (and probably boring) posts I have ever written. My apologies. I predict SUNSHINE by the weekend! Chantico.

This is me 'demonstrating' that there are no flowers budding yet!

What's going on?

The vines are coming to life. Little buds are appearing and leaves are not far behind - another season begins. The weather today is glorious - teasing us again before another bout of rain predicted for next week. Do we care? Not at all, we'll take all the rain we can get as long as Mother Nature intersperses days like today!

If you'd like to taste Anomaly sooner than later, on May 1 from 2 - 5 pm, we will be pouring at Appellation St. Helena's ULTIMATE BLIND TASTING which will be held at Charlees Krug Winery in St. Helena. Tickets can be purchased online at www.appellationsthelena.com

We hope to see you there! In the meantime, Chantico!


And how are things looking at the ol' farmstead these days?

Well, they are looking good, looking good! We always prune our vines late which gives us an edge if frost reappears, which is did this past week. Temps dipped below 35 degrees and the wind machines were roaring at 4 am. Our sleepy vines just rolled back over and went back to sleep as they were not ready to push out any new buds just quite yet Here is a photo of the vineyard in front the winery just a few days ago. Chantico (and Starbucks, where is my chantico???!).

Sometimes you need a change of scenery

For us, the change always involves Lake Tahoe - the Napa Valley is beautiful, but what can compare to the California Sierras? Chantico.

March at the winery

The mustard is in full bloom. The wines will be pruned this week, but for now. here they are in all their glory. Chantico.

Where in the world is Gerich Fellerman?!


He is all over the place! Last month he was in Texas, last week he was in Las Vegas, and next week, he will be in Los Angeles and San Diego. In the SoCal part of our beautiful state, he will be doing three trade tastings! Just in case you're curious, here is where he'll be pouring the 2007 Anomaly Cabernet:

March 22 from 11am - 3pm
Taste Napa Valley Los Angeles Trade Tasting
Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Avenue, Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Then on March 24 from 11am - 3 pm
Taste Napa Valley Orange County Trade Tasting
Fairmont Hotel
4500 MacArthur Boulevard
Newport Beach

Then on March 25 from 11am - 3 pm
Taste Napa Valley San Diego Trade Tasting
NTC Promenade, Corky McMillin Events Center
2875 Dewey Road
San Diego

Someone has to do it......

It is a hard job, but someone(s) has to do it, so we all volunteered. Yes, it's the annual Taste Every Vintage Made by Anomaly fest. It begins with setting out 9 wine glasses for each of us (why? because.... 2000-2008 is 9 vintages - yes, we taste the 08 even though it hasn't been bottled yet to see how it is coming along).
Then wine is poured into each glass (but the wine is put into paper bags so we are tasting without knowing the vintage).
Then the drill: Swirl, Snif, Sip, Spit. Winemaker Mark is a pro:

Seth takes it very seriously:
Well, most of the time.

Gerich and Steve, however, VERY serious!
After the tasting is done, we compare notes, reveal the years (we were all pretty close on our guesses). We will update our website with our comments on Drink/Hold Drink/Decant, and every other iteration of possibilities!

And to end the day, we opened a bottle of our "garagist" wine made by us (Steve and Linda) when we had no idea what we were doing, but it was 1997 and you just couldn't miss! We were shocked - it was still drinkable, albeit it looked more like a rose than a cabernet!
Oh, and End of Day:


What happens in Vegas....

Stays in Vegas - so they say! Tonight, our very own Gerich Fellermann will be at Morel's in Vegas where they will be serving our 2006 Anomaly Cabernet BY THE GLASS - a first! While he is slaving away in Sin City, we are hunkered down watching the rain fall. It feels like winter just began and already, this Sunday, we will turn our clocks forward an hour and then it's harvest, and Thanksgiving, and the holidays - oh my my my.

I hope you've had a chance to check out our updated website (www.anomalyvineyards.com - yes, shameless plug) courtesy of Mark Gorman (who is fantastic, by the way, with websites). In fact, his wife, Dawn, was the winner of the Dry T-Shirt Contest. Besides being a website genius, he is an avid runner, making us mere mortal walkers feel ashamed.....

The winery is quiet these days. Mark rounded up the troops last week and had a pre-Spring cellar cleaning day (hereby known as PSCCD). When all emerged from the depths, the cellar was spotless and ready to take on a new year. Thankfully, PSCCD comes only once a year!

On Monday, we will have our annual "Taste Every Vintage Ever Made by Anomaly" tasting - that's TEN vintages, can you believe? Yes, 2000 through 2009. Yikes! No breath-a-lizers at the top of the cellar staircase please! Photos will be posted, I promise. In the meantime, have a great weekend, and as always, Chantico!

We are truly "hands-on!"

This is what I did today! Hard to see? It's boxes (and boxes and boxes) of folded, addressed, stamped, and stuffed envelopes to our mailing list which I am now in charge of "sealing" so that we can mail them out bright and early on February 23 to announce the release of our 2007 Vintage! AND, our updated spiffy new website! Chantico.

How does our neighborhood look in February?


What the heck has been going on?

Well, it's a quiet time at the winery - that is, it has been quiet until the past two weeks. We are getting ready to release our 2007 Vintage on February 23. AND, with the help of fabulous Mark Gorman of Stimulent LLC, our website will be completely updated. It will look and feel much the same, but be quite a bit easier to navigate and... it will have video, so you can see what it is that we do! We hope 2010 has been good for you so far. We are pleased with the amount of rainfall we have received (our well is even happier) and hope for a few more storms before the bloom of Spring and the cycle begins once again! Chantico.

Gotta love a man with a hose

Gotta love a man with a hose

For a ghouish evening, try this potion!


This part is fun!

This is the fun part of harvest - getting down and dirty in the tank! Tom is shoveling out the berries that will be composted - the wine from this tank went into barrels this morning. Lucy and Ethel introduced the world to stomping on the grapes - we just continue the tradition! Chantico.


No, not that kind! A wine press. And the Press wanted to tell Tank #6 that it has no right to complain. How would it like it's belly filled to the brim then inflated? Talk about a belly ache. And not just one time but for each tank separately and each barrel fermentation. So, Tank #6, chew on that for a bit and stop yer bellyachin! xxoo The Press

Really, you didn't have to....

Anomaly customer's boat
One of our cherished customers, Paul DePalma from Dayton, Ohio, brought us this..... okay, no he didn't bring us this catamaran, but he did bring us this fantastic photo showing Paul enjoying a glass of Anomaly on the Anomaly! And although we'd like to say he named it for the wine, he actually did what we did, he pulled out his Thesaurus and began searching for a name. And, like us, when he landed on Anomaly, he said, "that's it!" and like us, hopefully went to dinner! Thank you Paul for the great shot and for the personal delivery of the photo! Chantico!

The saga continues


So, as I was saying, I was feeling stuffed and taking me to the doc is definitely NOT an option, so as you can see, the hose that had been filling me up had to be diverted directly to my source (I always preferred the top-down rather than bottom-up type of feeding). But since I'm so tall (and I can hold 2200 gallons, yep, I'm a big guy) it took THREE people to carry my feeding tube up the ladder. I'm tired just watching them haul that thing up. But they got it up and in and all I can say is that I feel so much better now. And we're back to a smooth start to the afternoon.... oh oh, maybe I shouldn't have said that. Chantico from Tank #6.

Tank #6 tells all

the valve that is blocked
Tank #6
So this morning, all seemed to be going smoothly (never a good sign). Donuts and fruit were out, grapes were making their way from Indee's Vineyard across the road to the winery, the mood was upbeat and, as Tank #6, all I had to do was stand there looking all pretty and shiny in my stainless jacket (which is actually called a "jacket") and receive the fruits of their labor. And as I said, all was going well.... at 7 am that is. Then, about 8:30-ish, I felt full, stuffed, uncomfortable. Yet, how could this be? I hadn't eaten all year and we were just beginning to fill my belly.... what the heck was going on? I would have taken a peek outside if my darned stainless legs weren't so heavy, AND cemented to the tank room floor with bolts the size of cigars. But I heard the people outside staying, "stop, it's backing up...." they were onto me....