Anomaly Vineyards

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

The Legend of Anne and Sparky

Many folk ask us about our history, i.e., how did we get to the promised land here in ol' St. Helena. This is a tale and it is quite tall. Well, gather 'round and let us tell you the story of Anne and Sparky.
Anne was raised hereabouts by her ma and pa. She was one of eight children. She was brought up real proper, taught to love the land, cherish family, and most of all, worship the fruit of the vine. When she reached young adulthood, worship the vine she did, as well as the liquid produced by barely, hops, and other various fruits and grains. She met Sparky in front of Taylors Hamburger stand out on Highway 29, when all they served were hamburgers, and even if they had served ahi burgers, you can bet that Anne would have had nothing to do with that. Sparky took a liking to Anne right off. He wooed her day and night, bringing her sunflowers he fetched from the fields of Mr. Carpy and his gang. Sparky had high hopes for a young fella. "One day," he told Anne, "I'm gonna make an honest woman outta ya." A year later, Sparky proposed and Anne of course said, "Hmm, let me think about that." No, no, of course she said, "Yes." And they were married the next June.

Sparky was Irish and part of St. Helena's O'Malley clan. Sparky liked his drink, liked it fine. He spent his days tilling the fields of his dreams: 45 acres of fruit orchards back against St. Helena's western hills. At night, he'd retire to the house and recount his day with Anne over a bottle of spirits. Not only did Sparky like his drink, he also had a hankering for gambling. One night, he got together with some of the other locals behind Ana's Cantina on Main Street where he rolled the dice. By 4 in the morning, Sparky had lost all but 6 acres of his family's land. Unable to hold his head of in the community, he left town to make his fortune in Alaska, promising Anne he'd be back. For years, Anne pined for Sparky and worked the 6 acres herself, each day hoping to see him coming up the road as he had promised. Eventually, Anne ripped out all of the orchard and planted grape vines which she tended herself daily. Anne's vines produced some of the finest cabernet grapes the Valley had ever seen. Nestled on the land that had been old Sulphur Creek, the roots of the vines flourished in the alluvial fan soil.

One day, several years later, Anne was out in the vineyard pruning the vines when she caught a glimpse of a tall man coming up the road. Yes, yes, it was Sparky, who returned with money in his pockets from working the Alaska pipeline. Redeemed and reinvigorated Sparky proudly settled down and with Anne, and decided to make wine from their wonderful vineyard. In honor of Anne and the trials she had to endure those years he was gone, he named the wine after his beloved wife Anne O'Malley . For the next 20 years they made some of the best wine in the Valley. Eventually time caught up with the happy couple. No longer able to work the vineyards themselves they retired to Sun City in Arizona. They sold this hallowed land and happily made way for then next generation of vintners. They sold the land with one condition: The glorious adventure of Anne and Sparky and Anne O'Malley wine was to continue.

So in 1997 when we purchased this wonderful property we made that commitment to ourselves, our customers and to Anne and Sparky. And that is how Anne O'Malley became Anomaly. Chantico.


  1. David Goldfarb said...

    I find myself quite speechless.

    August 23, 2005  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Hi, I was out blogging and found your site. It certainly got my attention and interest. I was looking for Shubs information and even though this isn't a perfect match I enjoyed your site. Thanks for the read!

    June 16, 2006  

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