From the Proprietors
We formed Team Anthem in early 2009 to produce small quantities of handcrafted wines from the most distinctive and promising mountainous vineyards in Napa Valley. The Valley is undergoing tremendous change as many of the families which have made Napa Valley wines world renown are turning over their operations to others. This change has created opportunity and in assembling the team we sought the very best of this next generation. After considering over 100 applicants from around the world we selected Jeff Ames as Anthem’s head winemaker. An explosive talent, Jeff has made some of California’s most acclaimed wines over the last few years and has a long and brilliant career ahead of him. In turning to John Truchard to manage our vineyards we get the rare combination of a skilled viticulturist, sound vineyard manager, successful winery owner and someone with firsthand knowledge of dozens of the area’s top vineyards. John also knows Mt. Veeder – a vastly rewarding yet temperamental AVA. Both Jeff and John are hardworking, no nonsense, low ego professionals – the kind of guys you’d like to sit down with and have a glass of wine. Our kind of people.
As proprietors, we’ve consistently provided the team with very simple yet important guidance: let every decision made be solely guided by its impact on the quality of wine we produce. Quality has trumped quantity at every turn and the team has been free to produce without regard to cost, resources, marketing timetables or other extraneous factors. We’ve left the fruit from entire vineyard blocks on the vine, foregoing harvest completely, because the grapes though serviceable, did not develop to our standards. We’ve bulked off perfectly good wine to other producers simply because it was not great and may well do so again in the future.
This exacting focus on quality means for any given vintage we do not know how much wine we will actually release until several years after harvest. We do know if our wine does find its way into our (beautiful) bottle and pass from our hands to yours we believe it to be outstanding. A wine to be enjoyed with loved ones on special occasions in your life as it is enjoyed in ours.
In vino veritas,
Jeff Ames was born in Germany, but had a thoroughly Southern upbringing, spending most of his childhood in Memphis, and moving to Mobile, Alabama to attend high school. After high school, Jeff went to the University of Alabama, receiving a B.A. in History, with the idea of eventually attaining his law degree. But it quickly became clear to Jeff that law was not his calling. While working on his Masters in Education at the University of Memphis, Jeff took a job at a small wine shop to earn extra money. Wine immediately captivated him, and he began applying for harvest positions in wineries all over Oregon and California. He got back two replies, one from Lynn Penner-Ash at Rex Hill in Oregon who immediately hired him to work harvest.
His time on the west coast taught him two things: 1) the speed and sheer dynamism of PAC-12 college football far surpassed the plodding version of the game played throughout the SEC and 2) his Masters program could wait. Jeff came to the Napa Valley in 1999, and began learning every aspect of the wine industry from sales, at WineBid.com, to writing, while doing freelance work for Decanter Magazine. In 2001, Jeff was able to return to what he loved the most, winemaking, when he began working as assistant winemaker under Thomas Brown on projects including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor. In 2003, he took over as head winemaker for Tor, where he continues to make critically acclaimed wines from some of California’s most notable vineyards. In 2005, Jeff realized his dream and launched his own brand, Rudius Wines, under which he produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and several old vine Rhone varietals.
John Anthony Truchard
John’s father Tony Truchard began developing vineyard property in the Carneros region in the Napa Valley in 1974 when john was two years old. He spent much of his free time growing up in the vineyards learning about grape-growing first hand from his father as he was learning from other Vintners of that period including the likes of Warren Winiarski, Joe Heitz, and Andre Tchelistcheff. Upon finishing his studies at UC Davis in the mid 1990’s John began a small vineyard management business in the mid 1990’s and began farming for others who were focused on small lot high quality wine growing. Today John manages about 25 small high end vineyards and is honored to work with some of the best winemakers in the Napa Valley. An accomplished vintner in his own right, John owns and operates John Anthony Vineyards.