Quintessential Wines, a family owned-and-operated wine import, marketing and sales company based in Napa, CA, has added Anthony Road Wine Company to their roster of producers.
Based in Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region, Anthony Road is the first U.S. winery that Quintessential represents, aside from a number of California labels.
“Once we tasted their impressive rieslings, chardonnays, cabernet francs and other varietals, and heard the story behind Anthony Road, we were struck by the founders’ tenacity, and by being able to pivot quickly, moving to new heights and greater success,” says Quintessential Co-owner, Dennis Kreps, who has been partners with his father, Stephen D. Kreps, since the company began in 2003. “With their family-focused, hands-on approach to running Anthony Road, we knew it would be a great addition to our portfolio of family-owned wineries.”
Anthony Road Wine Company was founded in 1973, when John and Ann Martini took the advice of a friend and began grape-growing in the Finger Lakes. They moved from Baltimore, where John worked for WR Grace, to land along the west bank of Seneca Lake. Neither John nor Ann had any farming experience, but, with the help of family and friends, they were able to plant their first five acres.
It grew to 30 acres by the 1980s. The Martinis were making a living selling bulk grapes to larger wineries, primarily New York State’s largest, Taylor Wine Company. Taylor was sold in the mid-1980s as the demand for grapes shifted, and Anthony Road was left with once-popular varietals dying on the vines, the company says. At this time, John and Ann decided to start making their own wines.
In 1990, Anthony Road was incorporated, launching the 1989 rieslings, chardonnay and cabernet franc, suited to the cold weather that usually starts in October and lasts well into spring, the company says. With more than 100 acres of vineyards in production, Anthony Road has become instrumental in the cultivation of the Finger Lakes grape-growing industry.
A family business, the management of Anthony Road has shifted to the Martini’s four children and their spouses. As their mother puts it, “The kids helped in the vineyards when they were young, from cane-tying to picking, and saw how much work it takes. I didn’t expect them to come back, but am sure glad they did.” Of the Martini children, Peter is currently vineyard manager, Sarah is business manager, Maeve is an integral part of both Martini Vineyards and Anthony Road as office manager, and Liz is the tasting room manager and tends to the gardens.
In 2013, the family met over dinner to discuss the future of the vineyard and winery. It was decided to keep it all in the family, continuing to build on the foundation Ann and John made. Peter has been involved in New York State’s VineBalance Program, guiding Anthony Road to become among the first to have their vineyards Certified Sustainable.
The first wines that Quintessential will carry are Anthony Road’s 2021 Dry and 2020 Semi-Dry Rieslings; 2021 Chardonnay; 2021 Pinot Gris and 2021 Rose of Cabernet Franc, with suggested retail prices between $15 and $50 per 750-ml. bottle.