Anchor & Hope Winery crushes it, targeting Rumford wine tasting room
PROVIDENCE OF THE EAST – On our last visit Anchor & Hope in Rumford it was early 2020. James Davids and Marissa Stashenko were installing wine barrels at restaurants like Bayberry Beer Hall and Tavolo.
You know the rest of the story. Restaurants are closed until June due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their plan to have their Enotap wine barrels in restaurants across the state, two years in the preparation stage, has been canceled, Davids said.
But not their entrepreneurial spirit.
Anchor & Hope canned their wine
With the help of a mobile canning company, they launched a new product, their Canned Wines in May 2020. It was perfect for the Ocean State where boaters and beachgoers could take their own. wine, Stashenko said.
Single servings of cans have also proven to be popular during a pandemic at places such as Troop and Moniker Brewing in Providence.
“Nicks on Broadway did well with the cans,” Davids said of the Providence restaurant run by Derek Wagner.
“They made lunch boxes and dinner boxes and canned wines fit in,” he added.
Seven grape varieties were canned including Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Rosé.
As their Anchor & Hope wines became more famous and they started pouring at small events, they found they were asked a question: can I visit your vineyard?
The answer was no.
This is an artisanal winery, which means they source their wines from small producers around the world. Fermentation takes place in the producer’s cellar and the wines are shipped to Rumford shortly after harvest. Some come in bladders and others in hard-sided containers. About 50% of the winemaking process takes place in the field at RI where they bottle their Anchor & Hope wines.
It is a common business style in France, including names such as Louis Jadot. But their license did not allow them a tasting room.
Davids, originally from San Francisco, is the winemaker. Stashenko takes care of the marketing. They didn’t expect the passion for their wines to include road trips.
They therefore develop their activity. They changed their license to allow making wines with local grapes.
A tasting cellar in Rumford
A tasting room is under construction at the moment, but it is more about cleaning. They work with an architect but clean the space first.
It’s in the same complex where they make their wines – Phillipsdale Landing, a former mill along the Seekonk River – but in a different building. The new space is on the river and will have a view of the water. Adding windows and glass is part of restoring the space.
This was originally the space that held all of the copper wire produced here before a train picked it up for shipment, Davids said.
They are optimistic for an opening in early summer, possibly even Memorial Day.
“We want it to be a common space, as you see in the breweries,” Stashenko said.
They may be planning to host movie nights, pop-up wine dinners and food trucks, she said.
Last month, they started to develop the wines that will be served in this tasting room. They used their brand new press to crush the grapes grown at Greenvale Vineyards.
“It wasn’t what we wanted to do,” Davids said. “But we see an opportunity.”
When they started meeting with people in the industry, they learned that Greenvale had grown additional grapes, Stashenko said. They also imported grapes from New York’s Finger Lakes because of the passion for these wines of their employee Brian Hart, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University.
In all, they brought in 50,000 pounds of grapes.
1000 cases of wine
“This will translate to 1,000 cases of wine,” Davids said.
These will be the tasting room wines, so their customers can drink local and be exposed to the grape varieties grown here.
“Having a tasting room will be a way to share information about new varieties,” Davids said, which doesn’t mean just chardonnay and pinot noir.
He can’t wait to introduce the white vidal, for example. He compares it to sauvignon blanc in that it’s brighter with acidity, but says it’s not as aromatic and grapefruit.
He explained that what grows along the southern New England coast are hybrids like the white vidal. This is because the growing season here is almost three months shorter than in the major wine regions of the world.
Here, the grapes are not quite ripe before being harvested. In Europe, buds begin in March. Here it may be in May or June.
They will have merlot and chardonnay from these Greenvale grapes.
Davids is also delighted to make pét-nat wines. Natural sparkles are naturally sparkling and it will make a sparkling pet-nat Riesling.
Anchor & Hope is also expanding into other collaborations.
Their relationship with Tavolo, who owns three restaurants in Providence, Warwick and Smithfield, was rewarded by pouring Anchor & Hope into their wine bar at the Big E fair in September.
Collaborations around beer are also underway.
Proclamation Brewing will create a beer that ages some of their chardonnay grape skins, he said.
Moniker will ferment a sour beer with Merlot and Cabernet Franc grape juice.
“It’s an adventurous community that wants to try new things,” he said.