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The Legend of Betsy's Backacher

Betsy Spann is the winemaker and vineyard manager at Spann Vineyards and she calls her vineyard “Betsy’s Backacher”. This is a play on words because the vineyard is in the ‘back acres’ of the 40 acre Spann Estate and you get an aching back working in this steep mountainside terrain.

Betsy and Peter Spann are the only employees at this winery and recruit friends and family to help with their harvest. Betsy’s Backacher Red Wine was originally made as a special blend to give to these helpers as a “thank you”. The blend changed from year to year, depending on Peter and Betsy’s whims and was not meant for sale to the public. Their harvest helpers bragged to their friends about how good this wine was and soon the phone calls started coming from people wanting to buy it. After turning down several dozen requests, the Spanns finally relented to bottling more of it to offer for sale.


The blend still changes each year but is always made up of multiple vintages and two of the richest flavored red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are always prominent. The older vintages make it smooth and mellow while the newer vintages add fresh fruit flavors. The lighter tasting grape varieties make it easy going and soft on the palate while the Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon add richness. All together they make a delicious red wine that anyone can enjoy, especially at the end of a hard day’s work.

This wine is great by itself or with simple foods like pizza, barbecue, meat loaf or roast chicken.


After a few years of wonderful red wines, Betsy was asked to produce an accompanying white blend. To distinguish the label from Betsy’s Red, this wine was subtitled “Bottle Blond”. This is also a play on words. French winemakers refer to their red and white wines as “rouge and blond” and three women who work the Spann harvest are hard workers with blonde hair, which we suspect might have origins in a bottle.

All three were concurrently dating on the internet when the first vintage was produced so as a tribute, the back label description is done like a personals ad:

You: Seeking pleasure. . .longing to try something new and provocative.

Me: Perfectly proportioned, easy on the palate. . .ready for a walk on the beach or a candlelight dinner. . .this blond can have more fun.

The blend is Semillon and Chardonnay. Semillon is very rich in the mouth with a creamy lemon flavor. Chardonnay adds crisp, refreshing acidity.

Due to its crisp acidity and rich taste, this wine matches well with richly flavored foods like shrimp scampi, sea scallops, lobster or any seafood or fowl with a butter, cream or olive oil sauce.


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