Our Story – A Passion Worth Pursuing…
A story of opportunity and fate, Jake and I launched League of Rogues in the summer of 2014. Our journey to where we are today has been anything but conventional. We have bachelor degrees in business, not viticulture or oenology. We are not descendants of winemakers; the extent of our families’ connection to wine is an occasional glass or two at dinner. We won’t be inheriting a vineyard, a tasting room, or even a tractor for that matter. Simply put, winemaking is a passion Jake and I cultivated together. It is a dream we have been living out since we walked our first vineyard in June of 2012.
It was September of 2007, our senior year at Arizona State University, when Jake and I first met. A college tennis player, I was approaching my last year of eligibility and Jake was set to graduate early with me in May of 2008. After playing competitive sports for most of my life, I needed a fresh take. I wanted to embark on a new journey that didn’t require a racquet in hand. Jake, who has quite the culinary talent, was looking for something that could complement his skills in the kitchen.
Shortly after graduation, Jake and I spent time in Phoenix planning life after college. That’s when our passion for wine came to existence. A constant topic of conversation, wine very quickly became a focal point in our life. We thought, where better to start than by taking a trip to world-renowned Napa Valley?
After four days of walking vineyards, touring production facilities, and meeting winemakers, our passion for wine took an unexpected turn. We knew the trip to Napa would be memorable, but what we didn’t expect, was that this newly acquired passion would turn into a professional ambition. We began to envision making wine of our own. We were determined to find answers, figure out next steps, and learn everything we could. Thanks to some helpful advice from winemakers in Napa Valley, we began our venture searching for fruit.
Researching the many wine regions of California; Paso Robles seemed like a nice fit due to our love for Turley Wines and its close proximity to Phoenix. Within months, we flew out to meet with a grape broker who encouraged us to meet a friend of hers—Christian Tietje, owner/winemaker of Anarchy Wine Co.
After a two-hour meeting with Christian, drinking un-oaked chardonnay on his tasting room patio, Jake and I were hooked. Christian asked if we would be interested in working harvest that year and in return would guide us in the making of our first vintage. We ended up working with Christian for the next three years.
Over the years we have been fortunate to work with some of the best winemakers California has to offer. After our time with Christian, we decided to move our production to San Luis Obispo to work with Jeremy Leffert, now the Director of Winemaking for Tooth & Nail in Paso Robles. Our time with Jeremy was short-lived, but we cherished each day. An extremely talented winemaker, Jeremy was instrumental in the growth and recognition of our brand. He will always be considered a great friend and a massive contributor to where we are today. An unfortunate closing in SLO forced us to move our production back to Paso Robles, where we have been since 2015.
Jake and I have completed our eighth harvest. What started in 2012 as a 260 case production of zinfandel has turned into a 1,200 annual case production, across five different wines. Our journey has been wonderful. We have many people to thank in the Paso Robles community and look forward to calling Paso Robles our home for many years to come!
Win The Day!