We began making wine in 2003. Even though we knew we were amateur winemakers, we wanted to have fun with the idea of owning a winery so we named our label Wildwood Oak Winery. We wanted people to take the wine and say, “WOW!” The name also pays homage to the centuries-old Interior Live Oak trees (Quercus wislizeni) which grow throughout the Inland Empire.
We remained amateurs through 2016 when we became bonded and licensed. This makes it possible to sell the wine we make.
In that first year, we bottled the 2003 estate Zinfandel from our property in Southern California’s Redlands area of the Inland Empire. We also sourced cabernet grapes from the Rockpile Vineyard in the Rockpile AVA in northern Sonoma County. For fun, Anita entered the 2003 Rockpile Cabernet in the Orange County Wine Society (OCWS) Amateur Winemaking Competition. To our delight and amazement, we took Double Gold.
At the awards banquet, fellow wine makers encouraged Anita to say a few words after accepting the Double Gold award. She was not prepared to speak so she just shared the first thing off the top of herhead. “We bought good grapes, we kept a clean environment and tried not to screw it up.”
Today, we follow somewhat similar philosophy. We purchase the best grapes we can get. That’s why we get our red wine grapes from Abba Vineyard and Chardonnay from Elk Vineyard in Lodi, CA. We do keep a clean environment. And we embrace the science and the art in the winemaking process.