It all started in 1998 when we planted a test block vineyard just 20 minutes north of Lake Chelan at the bottom of the Methow Valley. It had Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and everything in between. In 2001 we loaded up our car, put our house up for sale, and headed to the Willamette to make Pinot Noir.
Dean had landed a job working for Bud Beck at Advanced Vineyards and then moved on to make wine under Isabelle Dutarte at Deponte and Tony Soter and James Cahill at Soter Vineyards. Heather took on the retail side and spent time selling wines from relatively hard to find producers.
On the side, we started a label called Nonni and Zing. It was a small project of about 250 cases annually and was made entirely from fruit sourced from the Dundee Hills AVA. That was a good time.
Step two came to an end in 2004, when Washington and the allure of its endless possibilities lured us home. We found our property on the south shore of the Lake Chelan AVA and closed on it in June of that year. That very same year, we planted more vineyard near our original test block: Rocky Mother (Syrah) and Stone’s Throw (Riesling). The following year was spent building our winemaking facility and planting our on-site vineyard: Defiance. Our tasting room opened for Valentine’s Day in 2006.
We’ve been ticking along, doing our thing and living our dream since then. If you find yourself in Chelan, we hope that you take a drive through our vineyard and climb our little slope. We promise that you will like what you find at the top.
-Dean, Heather, George, and Cooper Neff
OUR PEOPLE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Dean Neff, Red Winemaker
Dean heads up the red wine program at Nefarious and when he is not in the cellar, you’ll find him wearing either the vineyard guy, handyman, heavy lifter, cellar rat, or disaster averter hat.
Heather Neff, White Winemaker
Heather handles the whites, the wine club, the website/printing/graphics stuff, and jokes that she is in charge of the pretty department, so if it’s broken or a tractor is required, forget about it.
Efrain Rangel, The Vineyard Guy
Efrain is the one who makes sure everything is pruned, mowed, tucked into place and growing beautifully. We grow amazing fruit and he is a big part of that. Efrain also steps into the cellar during crush to help press, punch down, and do all that winemaking stuff.
Anton Mayer, Cellarmaster
Anton, a.k.a Tony (only to those who grew up with him!) is a lifelong resident of the valley and is our go-to for any questions regarding Chelan (or the Seahawks). In addition to typical Cellarmaster duties (cleaning, topping, punch downs, pump-overs, crushing, pressing, more cleaning), Anton spends a good deal of time in our tasting room, being our resident handyman, and generally picking up the slack. He is really good at that, along with being the ever important 3rd (and often deciding) vote for blends!
FrFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS