“What the hell is that?” I ask. It’s the only question appropriate at this point as we pull into the Andis Wines parking lot. It was a rhetorical question, sure. I knew it was a winery; it just didn’t look like a winery. Sure, it was in wine country, tucked away in the rolling hills of Amador, just a few hundred yards from standouts Easton and Runquist, but it just didn’t feel right. To be honest it looked like a rural, modern, Scandinavian airport. A cross between Ikea and a heliport. As if the Copenhagen design school had a one night fling with the farmer’s daughter. It did not look like a winery.
But it is a winery. And a pretty damned good one. Andis Wines is overly image conscious, sure (one can tell that just by the logoed Tommy Bahama shirts every member of the staff is forced to wear), but beyond the artifice is some fine winemaking and skilled farming. Syrah and Barbera offerings are just lovely, and the Sav Blanc is as good as anyone else’s in the region. The wine pourers are comely and the grounds, once one gets over the shock of seeing a building that looks as if it were designed by someone wearing comically small spectacles and sporting a few umlauts in his name, are gorgeous, with rolling vines lapping up at the oversized tasting room windows, and a broad picnic lawn spread out under a clutch of snapping flags.
Andis also employs one of favorite new trends, wine kegging. Cheaper, quirkier, and more environmentally friendly, kegged wine on tap makes all the sense in the world. Grab a bottle, drink it within six weeks, bring the bottle back and fill it up again. It’s a system that breweries the world ’round have been using for centuries. I’m glad Andis is on board.
So, if you’re tired of the Italian villa style, or the country French style, or the back of someone’s warehouse style, then take a trip to Andis Wines and enjoy a flashback of Stockholm syndrome and some damn good vino.