Welcome to WildWood Wine
We're a new kind of winery. We are creating a new caring economy. Every bottle we sell will support an essential non-profit organization that is improving lives and contributing to the well-being of our community. And every wine we make will meet a standard of excellence in order to be worthy of the cause it supports.
Our mission: To create wines that are exceptional and provide economically sustainable support to deserving organizations.
Making great wine is our first priority; and every great wine comes from excellent fruit. So it begins with the terroir. Northern California is truly exceptional in that regard, as it includes some of the world’s finest wine making regions. From the world-famous Napa and Sonoma Counties to the less-renowned regions in the North Coast, Sierra Foothills, Central Valley, Central Coast, and San Francisco Bay, it is a Winemaker’s dream. Each region, and indeed each vineyard, has its own unique attributes of climate, soil, and topography. A great winemaker uses these tools to achieve a vision of a truly great wine.
Our Winemaker, Anthony Austin, will put those tools to use, along with his remarkable skills and decades of experience, to create unforgettable wines. Anthony defines a great wine as one that has nuance and complexity. And the reason is simple: it’s more rewarding to drink such a wine, because it can give you something different with each sip. Enjoying a really good glass of wine is like a small voyage of discovery with delightful surprises at every turn. Anthony is often heard to compare a good wine to a great tune performed on a piano. “It’s not the note you care about”, says Austin. “It’s how the notes are interacting. It’s the wine that has a thousand components, rather than one loud voice, that’s going to be the wine you’d want to have on a desert island, because it is so much more rewarding.”
Some of Our Key Partners
Food for Thought is a Sonoma County organization providing nutritional meals and support to more than 5,500 people living with serious medical conditions.
Ceres Community Project is a youth-development organization based in Sonoma County, in which youth grow and cook nutrient-rich, organic food and deliver it to individuals with serious illness.
Social Advocates for Youth provides crisis stabilization, housing, counseling, and career services to children, youth, and their families throughout Sonoma County.
California Nurses for Environmental Health & Justice is a statewide organization of Registered Nurses that is helping to integrate environmental health into nurses' education, practice, research, and policy.
Forget Me Not Farm is a Santa Rosa based children’s services group helping at-risk children and youth break the cycle of abuse through animal-assisted and horticultural therapeutic activities.
The Wildwood Team
Chris O'Neill, Owner & Proprietor
Chris comes to WildWood after a long tenure in the wine Industry. In 2008, he led a team of investors who purchased a moribund winery known as Russian River Vineyards (RRV). The inception of Russian River Vineyards began Chris’ association with winemaker Anthony Austin. It took an enormous effort and all of Austin’s wine making magic to revive the winery. Fifteen years on, Russian River Vineyards is now a successful and popular Forestville winery.
During his tenure at RRV, Chris had the pleasure of sharing the winery’s success with deserving non-profit organizations. But he did not simply make donations on behalf of the winery. Chris believed he could amplify the giving by generating donations with every purchase. His plan worked like a charm. Several local non-profit organizations like SAY, Food For Thought and Sonoma Bicycle Coalition were able to successfully raise money through the sales of RRV wines. Chris discovered that this was a win-win proposition, a more powerful form of charitable giving in which his winery partnered with a non-profit organization to generate ongoing funds for a worthy cause,.
Early in 2022, it occurred to Chris that this form of giving was quickly becoming his new passion, and he saw enormous potential. After leaving RRV he decided to create a new kind of winery. Therein began Wildwood Wines, a winery devoted to the great things that wine can do. With Anthony Austin joining as the winemaker, Chris is now devoting his time to building this new venture.
Anthony Austin, Winemaker
“My philosophy of winemaking is to take billions of tiny life forms and make art with them." -Anthony Austin
Anthony Austin is one of those fortunate few who have successfully turned their passion into a profession. A native son of Sonoma wine country, Anthony was born and raised in Healdsburg, California. He studied enology at UC Davis and then studied under Andre Tchelistcheff, and then became the first winemaker for Firestone Vineyards in the Santa Ynez valley. He went on to create his own Winery, Austin Cellars, which achieved international recognition for the quality of its wines.
About a decade later, Anthony was drawn back to Sonoma County, looking to take on the challenge of making Pinot Noir on the Sonoma coast. He was part of the team that created Sonoma Coast Vineyards, a winery dedicated to tackling cold-climate winemaking along the Pacific coast, west of the Russian River Valley. Pinot Noir quickly become a his award-winning specialty.
In 2008, Anthony joined the founding team at Russian River Vineyards, where he and Chris O’Neill began their association, making a series of award-winning wines with fruit from a revived RRV estate, as well as select grapes from all over the Russian River Valley. Anthony has joined the team at Wildwood with a mission to continue his tradition of making exceptional wines.