There’s nothing particularly high tech about wine. So how did a couple of techies end up with their own winery?
Annie Shull, co-owner with her husband, Scott, of Raptor Ridge Winery in Oregon, describes their life as “a hobby gone awry.”
In the mid-1990s the two, not yet married, were working for Sequent Computer Systems in Beaverton, Oregon. Several years earlier Scott had started making wine for fun, tried out the products on friends and received some positive feedback. He kept at it, and eventually he decided to go commercial.
Through Scott, Annie got interested in wine, and when Sequent was bought out by IBM, she worked briefly for a small winery in the area. The two were married in 1998, and the administrative and marketing end of Raptor Ridge became a full-time job for Annie.
She grew up as Annie Christensen on Dudley Avenue in St. Anthony Park, where her parents, Marge and Jack, still live. Annie went to St. Anthony Park Elementary, Murray Junior High and Como High School. In junior high and high school, she worked at Bibelot.
The Shulls will be back in St. Anthony Park during the first week in July. They’ll visit family and take in the Fourth of July celebration at Langford Park. And on Tuesday, July 3, from 4 to 7 p.m., they’ll join the Little Wine Shoppe in hosting a tasting of their wines in the Milton Square courtyard.
A $5 donation will be requested at the tasting, with the proceeds being used to benefit the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.
Jeff Huff, co-owner of the Little Wine Shoppe, learned about Raptor Ridge from Annie’s father, Jack Christensen. A year ago Huff attended the Oregon Pinot Camp, where he heard more good things about Raptor Ridge.
“I’m amazed how many Minnesota connections there are in the wine business,” he said.
The Little Wine Shoppe carries the Raptor Ridge pinot noir and pinot gris, and just around the corner, Muffuletta Restaurant sells the pinot gris.
That corner, by the way — Como and Carter — is where Annie Christensen wielded an orange flag as a school patrol in sixth grade. On July 3 she’ll be back at the same intersection, but this time she’ll trade her flag for a carafe in hopes of introducing her old neighborhood to her new passion: pinot.