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Local winery hosts homeless winemakers


Wine country news — Anam Cara Cellars looks to give back to wine community by hosting winemakers without storefronts of their own

The winemakers aren’t actually homeless, but Sheila Nicholas said it’s what they jokingly call the winemakers hosted at Anam Cara Cellars once a month who don’t have a storefront of their own.

“It’s something we’ve done religiously since the day we opened,” Nicholas said.

Although it’s been four years, Nicholas said the second Saturday event has started to have a following.

“We have a lot of wine club members who know we do this and make it a point to come by and taste something new and pick up something rare for their cellars,” she said. “Sometimes these winemakers only have 200 cases or less.”

The event has become so popular that she said there’s a wait list through August for winemakers seeking a temporary home.

“They’re able to come and sell their wines directly, which is a huge boost when you’re a small producer,” Nicholas said. “We give them the space and everything else for them. They don’t have to worry about stemware or ice, all these little pieces you have to be concerned about.”

It’s something they started after receiving similar treatment before opening Anam.

“Before we had our tasting room we had friends who were kind enough to allow us to pour on occasion,” she said. “So we thought it would be really nice to give other winemakers that didn’t have their own tasting room a place where they could come pour and meet people and give people an opportunity to taste some pretty rare wines in some cases.”

Since opening in 2010, Nicholas said they’ve hosted more than 40 different winemakers, including Longplay and Seven Bridges — which both now have tasting rooms of their own.

“It’s our way of giving back to our wine community and offering talented winemakers the opportunity to share their wines with people who like to discover exciting wines and talk with the person who made them,” she said.

Next up will be Mike Noel of Noel Family Vineyard on April 12. Noel will be followed by Vincent Fritzsche of Vincent Wine Company in May, Dion in June and Darcy Pendergrass of Tartan Cellars in July.

For more information, visit www.anamcaracellars.com.