A family-owned winery from Amador County setting out to share their distinctive style
A passion project created by two successful entrepreneurs from Hawaii, Andrew Friedlander and his wife Janis Akuna, Andis Wines brings a modern and fresh approach to the Amador County winemaking region. Using both traditional and innovative winemaking approaches, the winery is producing some of Amador County’s most interesting wines while also earning glowing reviews from wine critics, wine competitions and consumers alike. Andis Wines (a combination of owners Andrew and Janis’ names) has only been open since November in 2010, but it is already among the favorite wineries in this up-and-coming wine region.
Prior to starting Andis Wines, Andrew Friedlander was living in Hawaii working as a successful commercial real estate developer. He always had an interest in the art of fine wine, and as the story goes, it only took one memorable night in Amador County for him to move his Aloha shirts to the Sierra Foothills to start up his own winery. He is still actively involved with the real estate business, but he now enjoys being the driving force behind his new state-of-the-art winery, Andis Wines. Andrew’s wife, Janis Akuna, is a Certified Financial Planner and Financial Advisor with a prominent Wall Street firm. She splits her time between Hawaii and California, but has an active role at the Amador County winery (she currently oversees the operational and philanthropic activities, contributes to the marketing effort, and sits on the tasting/blending panel).
The Andis wines are crafted from the 20-acre estate vineyard that surrounds the winery property, plus select vineyards located throughout Amador and El Dorado Counties. Speaking of the winery property - it is visually stunning and absolutely unique in appearance; clearly one of the more modern and striking estates in Amador County. The sleek 17,000 square foot facility is totally state-of-the-art and includes a fermentation room, barrel room, crush pad, and an elegant yet warm and peaceful tasting room that offers visitors a panoramic view of the surrounding vineyards.
As the vibe of the winery suggests, Andis Wines is all about trying to be different from the mainstream. They don’t shy away from risks and often embrace working with some of the more obscure wine varieties. Andis Wines is also known for using winemaking techniques and strategies that are relatively new to the region - including an egg-shaped concrete fermenter, a pair of larger antique versions of the concrete egg to age wine in, and a qvevri, a rare earthenware vessel lined with beeswax that was used in ancient winemaking methods. These unique and intriguing approaches have certainly set Andis Wines apart - and the community and wine industry press are big fans of the refined, distinctive wines the winery has been churning out.
We are proud to introduce Andis Wines to our Gold Wine Club members and hope you enjoy a taste of what Amador County has to offer. Cheers!
Map of the area
Philippe Melka - Winemaker
The winemaking team for Andis Wines is an impressive group of individuals led by Philippe Melka, easily one of the most celebrated winemakers in California. Philippe Melka is a native of Bordeaux, France and began his winemaking career at the legendary Chateau Haut Brion. From there, he took a position with the reputable Moueix Company and was sent to Dominus Estate in Yountville (Napa Valley) to study soils in 1991. This trip was a revelation for Melka, who then set out traveling, dividing his time between soil study and winemaking at world renowned wineries in Chianti and Australia. He returned to France in 1993 to deepen his expertise at Chateau Petrus.
In 1994, Melka returned to Napa Valley, and for the past 23 years, he has served as winemaking consultant for some of Napa’s most highly regarded properties under his consulting company, Atelier Melka (founded in 1995). Melka’s expertise is a welcome addition to the Andis Wines family and his efforts have resulted in many world-class, award-winning wines.
Located just a one-hour drive east from the city of Sacramento are several counties known collectively as the Sierra Foothills wine region. Within this huge AVA, a total of six sub appellations exist, including the best-known Amador County - the source of grapes for this month’s featured winery, Andis Wines.
Amador County is located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the vast majority of the area’s vineyards and wineries are found in the northern part of the county in the Shenandoah Valley, near the small town of Plymouth. Here, vines are planted on rolling, oak-studded hillsides ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation. Soils are mostly volcanic in nature and tend to provide an excellent home for the wide assortment of varietals that are grown here. The warm climate and large temperature swings from day to night also help the grapes retain acidity which is essential when crafting balanced wines. Andis Wines sources fruit from their estate vineyard in Shenandoah Valley and also select properties throughout Amador and El Dorado Counties in the Sierra Foothills.