The tale of this winery mirrors that of this young and growing wine region and is equal parts love story, passion for wine, and defiance.
The wife and husband team of Heather and Dean Neff began their foray into the world of winemaking in 1998 by planting a one-acre test block on a piece of family land 20 miles north of Chelan. Planting a vineyard in the area was, at the time, an audacious thing to do. While the area had a hundred year history of growing tree fruit and people had intermittently grown wine grapes, no one was yet producing grapes commercially in the area at the time. In fact, many believed it was too cold.
Heather Neff says of their decision to plant a vineyard and start a winery, “It was the whole thought that winemaking was romantic, that sort of life that you imagine in your head.” It was this life that the Neffs set out to find.
The couple’s experimental vineyard confirmed two things. The first was that growing grapes in the area was possible; the second was that learning to make wine would require more training. “We decided if we were going to put our life savings on the line, we had to get a lot of hands-on experience,” Dean says.
So they packed up their belongings and traveled to Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley where they spent the next two and a half years learning the tools of the trade. By the time they were lured back to Chelan, eager to start their winery, a fledgling wine industry had already begun to take root in the area.
The Neffs planted two vineyards near their original test block north of Chelan in 2004. Rocky Mother (“It is!” Heather declares of the name) is planted to Syrah while nearby Stone’s Throw is planted to Riesling. They also purchased land on the outskirts of Chelan for another estate vineyard and as a home for their winery. They planted this site to Syrah, Malbec and Viognier, naming it Defiance Vineyard because, after all, it was still questionable how wine grapes, or a winery for that matter, would fare at Lake Chelan.
On a romantic overture, the couple opened their tasting room on Valentine’s Day in 2006.
At Nefarious, the Neffs take a unique approach to making their wines. Heather makes the white wines; Dean makes the reds.
“It seemed like a logical thing,” Heather explains. “We could either divide up the varieties or we could make it really simple.” While for some this division of labor might prove difficult, the Neffs have thrived.
~Washington Tasting Room
bayleaf loves to harvest the latest and greatest seasonal treats for you, our loyal customers. Often, we find an item that is so darn good, though, that it’s worth a repeat appearance on the shelves. Last year staff and customers alike had such fabulous results from the Urban Accents Turkey Brine & Rub Kit, we brought it back again just in time for all of your holiday turkeys (referring – of course – to the birds, not the relatives).
With Thanksgiving less than a week away, panicked people, in search of the most tender and tasty turkey ever, were snatching up this foolproof, three-step kit before the shipment was even off the pallet - because they know brined is the only way to go.
Brined poultry (and pork) is always best because of osmosis, hypertonic saline solutions, semi-permeable membranes, and some other sciency words. More simply put, brining makes for moist and flavorful meat.
So, what are you waiting for? Get a turkey, get a kit, and get cooking! It’s as easy as 1 (brine the bird with the Spiced Brine Blend in the included leakproof, heavy duty, BPA-free, zip-top bag), 2 (season said bird with the Smoky Peppercorn & Herb Rub), 3 (roast, smoke, or deep fry).
Don’t forget, while you are in, to order some Oystercatcher rolls, pick up some Matiz Gallego Organic Chestnuts for stuffing, antipasto items for the relish tray, and wine…yes, wine…plenty of wine…like the annual favorite Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais nouveau or our latest find, Willamette Valley Teutonic Red Blend (an 80% Gewurztraminer 20% Pinot Noir blend that’s absolutely perfect for turkey) or even a bottle of Champagne, if you dare!
Susan Wenzel wrote this article.
Fall is here, followed soon, by the gray days of winter. One fabulous way to dispatch the seasonal gloom (and the associated sniffles and blues) is by snuggling down with a cozy blanket, a good book, and a quality cup of tea (or red wine).
While it isn’t always practical (or acceptable) to take a blanket, book, or glass of vino to work or out and about on errands, tea is, inarguably, one of the most portable and accessible creature comforts available anywhere.
In days past, the freshest, small batch teas – like those still found along the ancient trade routes called the Silk Road - were a precious commodity only available in specialty tea shops or to the most affluent connoisseur. Indeed, even today, most teas found on grocery store shelves are mass produced and often a year or more old.
However, one doesn’t have to travel to China or Japan or even head to a large multicultural metropolis (like San Francisco or Vancouver BC) to procure superior leaves. One of the preeminent lines of rare and artisan teas, Silk Road Teas, is available at bayleaf on Whidbey Island – the first location outside Canada to carry the award-winning blends .
Silk Road Teas found their start in 1992 in Vancouver’s historic China Town and our ever-searching staff found these select brews and brought them home to you. All varieties are made with premium quality, organic ingredients and contain no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners…and are always fresh.
(The fresher the tea, the more natural flavor nuances and beneficial antioxidants.)
Come in to bayleaf for all of your snuggle supplies like red wine, (cook)books, and now, superlative teas - perhaps paired with our decedent jams, cookies, or honeys!
~ Susan Wenzel
Genepi - Alpine Selections
Named for a wild flower found throughout the region, the Génépi Alpine cheeses represent the best of the Savoie tradition. Working hand in hand with cheesemakers and affineurs, we have sourced authentic, artisan cheeses made with the same traditional techniques that made the region famous. Focusing on raw milk, natural aging, and farmstead cheesemakers throughout the region, each wheel is selected and ripened with a specific flavor profile in mind. We are proud to introduce the authentic flavors and traditions of the Savoie through our Génépi collection of cheeses. Join us as we taste these cheeses and learn about what makes these delicious fall cheeses so special.
Seat includes tasting, educational seminar and special pricing on cheeses that evening. Please come early to purchase wine/beer pairing. Register here .
Special pricing will be offered at the event, these firm cheeses have a good shelf life - feel free to stock up or buy a friend a treat!
GARNIER - THIEBAUT TRUNK SHOW Superior quality French table, living and bed linens