I arrived to our meeting while he was running some lab tests in an extremely cold room. No jacket and completely focused on what he was doing, he turned around after a couple minutes and extended his hand in a very determined way.
Like any good Michigander, Steve talked about his wines while pointing at a spot in his hand to show me where he was born. Just as his "Guy James" Syrah Steve's soft voice made me be completely at ease to pick up my camera and shoot, but just as I was ready to sink my finger on the shutter, a peppery comment would make me put down my camera and sip up another mouthful of the embracing Syrah.
After showing me around and tasting some wines, Steve invited me to go meet Steffanie, his wife and Sophia his daughter at their downtown tasting room. The rest of the session was a piece of cake. Sophia made sure everybody was entertained alternating between dégagé and balançoire moves.
I hope you enjoy the Anglims profile as much as I enjoyed meeting them.
Note of the Photographer: Don't leave the tasting room -located next to Paso's train station- without trying "Guy James". Cheers!
Here's Stephen Anglim's Profile, excerpted from "The Winemakers of Paso Robles" book, written by Paul Hodgins.
3340 Ramada Drive
Paso Robles, CA 93446
When Stephen Anglim was a senior in high school in Waterford Township, Michigan, 40 miles north of Detroit, his guidance counselor gave him two options for a career path: “Ford or GM.”
Since Anglim’s dad was a GM man, he picked GM, and after graduating from Central Michigan University with a quadruple major in finance, economics, accounting and math, he worked there for 11 years until taking a marketing job at Nissan and moving to Southern California.
It was in sunny Los Angeles that he met his wife, Steffanie, a high-powered business consultant, and got the wine bug. Together they visited every pinot noir producer in Oregon one summer. Steffanie’s favorites were old French wines – she loved the ’82 Latour – and as a gag in the early ’90s she helped Anglim’s young daughter buy him a home winemaking kit for Father’s Day.
It wasn’t so funny a few years later when she was trying to valet park a flatbed truck loaded with two tons of grapes at a fancy club in Beverly Hills. By this time, Anglim’s home winemaking was crushing 6 1/2 tons of Paso Robles grapes in his garage in Redondo Beach. He was away in Japan on business when the harvest came in, so Steffanie gamely took up the slack and went to pick it up, with only a brief stopover at a fancy work dinner on the way home.
When Nissan moved its operations back East, Anglim decided it was time to turn his garagiste passion into a new career. The couple looked at every wine region from Washington to Temecula but settled on Paso Robles, where they had been buying their garage grapes for years.
Figuring out the focus of their new business was systematic as well. “The world didn’t need another cabernet,” Anglim said, so he started a quest to find the best expressions of Rhône varietals – especially syrah. The first commercial vintage for their eponymous label was 2002, with Stephen com-muting and Steffanie continuing to consult.
In 2005, the family moved to Paso Robles and opened their downtown tasting room; Steffanie quit her job in 2007. “I was a road warrior for a couple of years. It didn’t seem like a lot of work at the time. I wouldn’t want to do it again,” she said.
The move paid off. With Stephen handling the winemaking and Steffanie run-ning the tasting room and the business side, Anglim soon had distributors all over the country and a growing wine club. Over the years, they have decided not to grow or replace distributors and have slowly but surely converted their business to 100 per-cent direct-to-consumer – exactly where they want to be.
In that time, Anglim has also settled into a wiser, long-term approach to wine-making. “In the beginning it’s easy to get sucked into trends and fads; now we just make wines we like."
Anglim admits he loves the centuries-old traditions of winemaking and acknowledges that the most important work hap-pens in the vineyard.
“Get the best fruit, and it will take care of itself. Every grape has its own innate potential. The job of a winemaker is to help realize that potential –and not make mistakes.”
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