In 1998 we planted a test block vineyard just 20 minutes north of Lake Chelan at the bottom of the Methow Valley. It has Pinot noir and Cabernet Sauvignon and everything in between. That was step one. In 2001 we loaded up our car, put our house up for sale, and headed to the Willamette to make Pinot noir. Dean 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 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. Washington and the allure of it’s endless possibility 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 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 wine making 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 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, Cooper and Lucy (the dog) Neff
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/graphic 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.