Janis Akuna, Co-Founder
It never not occurred to founder, Janis Akuna, to earn, yet, one more degree and start a third a career in winemaking, dive into a profession few women have explored, let alone plant roots in Amador County.
Janis and her husband, Andy Friedlander, intended to move to Napa. To move forward with the next phase of their lives, but to their disappointment, Napa no longer offered a slower pace outside of traffic jams.
Then a rural wine region that many claim to be reminiscent of Napa’s early days caught them by surprise. It wasn’t just its historic stretch of wildland and the diversity of wines - Janis admired there was no sense of “exclusivity” from locals. Only a sincerity that led to friendships and a new dream to pursue.
“Instead of limos on the side of the road, I saw tractors. It was like the old days of Napa.”
After encouraging Andy to move forward with the next phase of their lives and start Andis Wines, Janis decided to take her own advice and retire from a prominent Wall Street firm where she worked for more than 40 years as a Certified Financial Planner and Wealth Advisor. Soon after retirement, Janis earned a winemaking certification from UC Davis.
For the past two years she has been working during harvest and assisting Estate Winemaker, Mark Fowler. With an undergraduate degree from UC Davis, Janis claims the winery business is in her blood. Janis also holds an MBA from the University of Hawaii and is involved with much of the strategic planning at Andis Wines.
Andy still balances his time between running the largest commercial real estate company in Hawaii and managing Andis Wines with Janis.