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About Us

The soils in the Sierra Foothills are special. The microclimates and varying elevations hide unique opportunities; capable of growing a vast selection of varietals, including grapes traditionally considered obscure to California. 

As an avid wine enthusiast and Napa frequenter, to discover such a secretive wine region inspired founder, Janis Akuna. It gave her a vision to share a different kind of experience with other wine enthusiasts. 

But even more than that, it was the rural wine region of Amador County that struck her the most; reminiscent of the early days of Napa she so dearly missed. 

In 2009, Janis and her husband, Andy Friedlander, found their own stretch of land to replant portions of the vineyard originally planted in the 1970s, while seeking out the highest quality vineyards to buy additional fruit. Working closely with Sage Architecture and Sunseri Construction, they built a state of the art winemaking facility with two tenets; design a sustainable winery to produce world class wines that is attractive, but different from all others. 

Janis left her job for a new career in winemaking, following the hire of Lorenzo Muslia in 2014, who eventually became National Sales Manager, as well as a partner for Andis - joining partner, Jenae Plasse. Within those formative years, they contracted with renowned wine consultant Philippe Melka, who helped ensure the quality of wines met Lorenzo’s standards and liking. Later, fellow visionary Mark Fowler joined the team as Estate Winemaker.

All are a driving force behind Janis’ vision -  to handcraft world class wines that celebrate the pure expression of its soil.

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Janis Akuna : Co-Founder & CEO

None of this was intentional. It never not occurred to Janis to start a third career in winemaking, let alone plant roots in Amador County.
 
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Andrew Friedlander : Co-Founder & Marine Corp Veteran

One great night in Amador County was enough for Andy to move his Aloha shirts to the Sierra Foothills.
 
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Besmir 'Lorenzo' Muslia, Vintner - Partner

How does one go from a European life of higher education and notoriety to working in the quiet rural wine region of Amador County?

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Jenae Plasse, Partner / Chief Operating Officer

A native daughter of Amador County, Jenae grew up on the family cattle ranch in Jackson where she gained love and respect for agriculture.
 
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Natalie Nicastro, Regional Sales Manager

Natalie Nicastro is the regional sales manager for seven Southeastern states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, and Delaware. 
 
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The soils in the Sierra Foothills are special.

The microclimates and varying elevations hide unique opportunities; capable of growing a vast selection of varietals, including grapes traditionally considered obscure to California. 

 As an avid wine enthusiast and Napa frequenter, to discover such a secretive wine region inspired founder, Janis Akuna. It gave her a vision to share a different kind of experience with other wine enthusiasts. 

 But even more than that, it was the rural wine region of Amador County that struck her the most; reminiscent of the early days of Napa she so dearly missed. 

 

About Us

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