Our Story – 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 taste the wine and say, “WOW!” The name also pays homage to the centuries-old Coast Live Oak trees (Quercus agrifolia) which grow throughout the Inland Empire. We became a commercial winery in 2016 when we became bonded and licensed.
Our Philosophy – 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 Sauvignon grapes from the Rockpile Vineyard in the Rockpile American Viticulture Area (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 her head. “We bought good grapes, we kept a clean environment and tried not to screw it up.” Today, we follow a 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.
Great Wine Requires Great Grapes: It Starts In the Vineyard – We source our Syrah from Abba Vineyards located in the Mokelumne River American Viticulture Area (AVA) in the southwest corner of the larger Lodi AVA. The Abba family has been farming the area for 3 generations. We met Phil Abba and began sourcing grapes in 2007. The 2007 Mama Mia Syrah took Double Gold at the Orange County Wine Society Amateur competition. Since that time, we continue to source our grapes from Abba Vineyard. We source from the same section of the vineyard known as “Anita’s Block.” Our red grapes meet the Lodi Rule Sustainable Winegrowing “Certified Green” designation.
About Lodi and Lodi Rules – Located between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada lies Lodi Wine Country, this American Viticulture Area (AVA) has the classic Mediterranean climate with warm days and cooling evenings. Just west of the AVA is the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta which provides the cooling affect. The region is known for the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Zinfandel but can actual grow more than 100 varieties including Southern Rhone styles like Syrah, Spanish Varieties such as Garnacha (Grenache), as well as German and Italian Varieties. There are over 80 wineries and 100,000 acres of premium wines grapes. Visit: www.lodiwine.com. LODI RULES is California’s original sustainable winegrowing certification program. It is a comprehensive certification program that addresses the complete scope of farm management practices. For a wine to be labeled with LODI RULES, the grapes are grown to sustainable standards as set forth by the Lodi Winegrape Commission. To learn more about LODI RULES, go to: www.lodirules.org.
What’s in a Name? – Each label is required to provide specific information such as the grape variety and location where it was sourced. When we first started getting grapes from Abba Vineyard, we thought it would be fun to use the name of a song from the 70’s musical group, ABBA. We continue that tradition today. For instance, our first commercial Syrah in 2015 was called “Take a Chance on Me.” Our 2018 Grenache Blend is called the Best of Abba because it includes a blend of Abba Vineyard Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. In 2012, when our first grandson was born, we decided to honor him with a natural way to start the journey of becoming grandparents. We continue this tradition with each new child being a celebration and a destination in our journey. Under the “Shop” tab, you will see a description for each wine as well as the background for each wine’s name under the “What’s in a Name” section.
Call Us Somms or Call Us Wine Enthusiasts – The basic definition of a Sommelier (or Somm) is a trained, knowledgeable professional with the expertise in wine tasting, wine theory and wine service industry. By completing the Level 3 Advanced through Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), we demonstrated our ability to identify wines in a blind tasting using a systematic deductive approach, understand wine theory and wine service. We choose the WSET program for its emphasis on wines and wine regions of the world, natural environment factors in those regions, decisions in the vineyard and decisions in winemaking. We plan to use this information to guide our vineyard selection, winemaking expertise and to share the wine experience with others. To learn about WSET, go to: www.wsetglobal.com
Owner/Winemaker, Tony Matlock, appointed to the city of Yucaipa’s Wine Country Planning Committee – The city of Yucaipa created a planning committee to help guide the development of a Yucaipa Valley Wine Country. Since year one, the committee has worked to develop thoughtful standards to integrate wine country development including vineyards, wineries and housing.
Owner/Winemakers Tony and Anita Matlock Asked to be Wine Judges – The Orange County Wine Society (OCWS) asked Tony and Anita Matlock to serve as wine judges for their Amateur competition. Judges sit in a panel of 4 and taste approximately 30 wines and rate them using the Davis 20-point system. The judges evaluate 10 quality factors such as clarity, color, aromas and taste. The idea is to provide the amateur winemakers with constructive, yet supportive feedback. Anita likens this to jury duty saying, “The wines are perfect until proven otherwise. They are evaluated to the set of facts as you perceive it. And, you hope you make the right decision.”