A Lifelong Passion
John Thomas Sweazey, born and raised in Chicago, traveled west in the 1960s to attend Stanford University. During several college trips to the Napa Valley, John developed a passion and thirst for wine. After selling computer hardware at IBM for 3 years, he left his job, withdrew his savings and spent nine months in Europe traveling in his Volkswagen camper. It was during this adventure that he learned to appreciate the importance of wine to the European culture. Upon returning to San Francisco and entering the real estate finance business, he continued his study of wine production, including making wine at home, taking wine appreciation classes, and visiting the different French wine regions. It was during these personal visits with numerous French vintners that his dream of becoming a “vintner” became indelible. At that time, though, his wife-to-be, Kathleen, suggested that, as much as she wanted John to follow his dream, maybe they should wait until their children (not yet conceived) had finished college. After waiting for almost 30 years, his youngest son, John Michael, entered his freshman year of college in 2005, and John purchased a 16-acre plot of land in the windy heart of the Carneros region of Sonoma. It was not only the active intersection that was attractive to John but also the blustery anabatic winds which took him back to his time spent in the Rhône Valley. The powerful and symbolic mistral winds of the Rhône reminded him of this place, and here is where Anaba Wines was born.
Building a Legacy
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In 2017, John's son, John Michael, found himself in a similar situation to that of his father, except he was selling software instead of hardware, and it was LinkedIn instead of IBM. In the same way his father did, John Michael left his job and withdrew his savings to take a trip to the old world with his future wife. Crammed into a Fiat 500 for 5 months, the two of them made it their mission to taste wines from as many regions as possible, as well as get to know all of the vintners and their families along the way. After falling in love with wine in almost precisely the same way 45 years after his father, John Michael returned home and asked if he could join the family business. With John Michael on-board, the family broke ground on a new production facility and hospitality center. Their goal is to provide connoisseurs and first-timers alike, an escape where they can be surprised and delighted by what they experience.
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