- CLUB ANDIS
- ABOUT ANDIS
The goal of Andis is bringing together a great team to make great wine. Amador County offers the canvas for great wines, and she also gave us the gift of a dynamic team.
Andrew Friedlander: Co-Founder & Marine Corp Veteran
One great night in Amador was enough for Andy to move his Aloha shirts to the Sierra Foothills where he could enjoy the unique wines and flavors of Amador County. After fifty years in Hawaii where he co-founded and built the largest commercial real estate company in the state, and while still actively involved with the business today, Andy started planning the next phase of his life. He is now the driving force behind Andis Wines, having built the winery and a great team of people to grow for decades. Andy hand-picked a group of quality people to make great wines and to offer the finest hospitality to our guests.
Janis Akuna: Co-Founder
Janis Akuna is a Certified Financial Planner and Financial Advisor with a prominent Wall Street firm. With her time split between Hawaii and California, she will at times be seen in the Andis tasting room where she loves meeting people, or be seen doing various chores around the winery. Janis oversees the operational and philanthropic activities, contributes to the marketing effort, and sits on the tasting/blending panel. With an undergraduate degree from UC Davis, she claims the winery business is in her blood, mostly through osmosis. Janis has an MBA from the University of Hawaii, and most recently, attended the UC Davis Executive Wine Program. Read the UC Davis Alumni Profile.
Mark McKenna: Winemaker
Mark McKenna grew up in beautiful Ventura, California before decamping to the University of California, Berkeley. While at Cal, he studied Chemistry and Engineering before finally settling on a degree in Geography. It was his weekend visits to Amador County during this time that first introduced him to winemaking and the incredible potential of the Sierra Foothills. Moving to Amador County the day after graduation, Mark started as a cellar worker for a small, family-run winery and climbed the ladder from there. Over the last 20 years, Mark's had the opportunity to work for, and with, some of the most forward-thinking and interesting wineries and winemakers in the region. When Andy and Janis gave him the opportunity to be involved in designing and starting Andis, he jumped at the chance of a lifetime. Mark resides in Amador with his kids, one dog, three cats, and seven chickens. Email Mark
Ruthie McRonald: Tasting Room & Wine Club Manager
Originally from Colorado, Ruthie now claims herself a real Californian and loves the Central Valley lifestyle. She received her degree in political science and history from the University of Denver, moved to California, and had a 10-year career in environmental consulting. While raising her family in Sacramento, Ruthie became Tasting Room Manager at Bogle Vineyards for 5 years, then Director of Hospitality at Bouchaine Vineyards in Napa before the long commute convinced her to look at neighboring Amador County. She has now been the Tasting Room and Wine Club Manager at Andis Wines since November 2010 when the tasting room first opened. During her free time, Ruthie volunteers at the Sacramento Children's Home and at Crocker Art Museum for special events. Email Ruthie
Jenae Plasse: Chief Operating Officer
A native daughter of Amador County, Jenae grew up on the family cattle ranch in Jackson where she gained a love for agriculture. After receiving her B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2005, Jenae interned at Edna Valley Winery working in the cellar and learning wine production. Two years later she joined a marketing firm in Paso Robles before moving back to Amador in 2009 with the belief that Amador wine country was where she wanted to make her mark. Joining the Andis team in July 2012, Jenae is now responsible for the day-to-day operations of the winery including events, bookkeeping, purchasing, community relations, marketing & advertising. She will often "escape" to the back of the house to get out of an office chair and enjoy the production side of winemaking. If you can't get ahold of her, she's most likely hiking in the mountains with her dog, where there's no internet or cell phone service. Email Jenae
Besmir "Lorenzo" Muslija: Brand Ambassador & Sales Manager
Lorenzo grew up between Albania and Italy. After graduating from the Jesuit High School, he attended the Polytechnic University of Milan studying Civil Engineering. It was his travels around the wine region of Tuscany that caused him to fall in love with cooking and wine. He soon realized that for him, wine was not just a liquid in a bottle, but a way of life. After working for famous Florentine restaurants, he decided to open his own in 2011 and was soon rated one of the top ten restaurants in the region. In 2013 his beautiful daughter was born, and the family moved to California where Lorenzo then enrolled in the Wine Business Management program at Sonoma State University. "It was a bottle of the 2012 Andis Cabernet Franc that got me hooked on this land" he says. In the summer of 2015, Lorenzo joined the Andis team as a tasting room attendant and was soon promoted to Sales Manager. Every day is a challenge, finding new outlets for Andis Wines and sharing Amador's history with folks all over the country. "Great wines taste like they come from somewhere. Lesser wines taste like they could come from anywhere". Email Lorenzo