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Recent news, stories from the winemaker, happenings around the winery, recipes and more!

Rebecca Bozzo
March 1, 2019 | Rebecca Bozzo

California Welcomes Schioppettino (It only took 737 years)

But we’re glad it did!

Behind the Cellar Door is here again! And as a rare treat, we’re doing barrel samples of our limited production Schioppettino [skioppet’ti:no] I know it’s a tongue twister, but it’s delicious.

Schioppettino is from Northeastern Italy, near the Slovenian border.  Its known for its ruby color and traditionally makes light to medium bodied wines that are fruit forward, spicy and earthy. Meant to be consumed young like Beaujolais and some Barberas, this is an excellent food pairing wine.

Historically, it has been used in wedding ceremonies as far back as 1282 AD.  The name itself translates roughly to “gunshot” or “little crack.” The varietal almost died off in the Phylloxera outbreak in the early 1900s. At that time, many vintners decided to replant in favor of other popular varietals, which brings us to current time here in Amador County where Andis is one of a handful of wineries growing and making wine from the grape in California.

We welcome Schioppettino into our wine portfolio with open arms and we hope you do, too!

Cheers! See you at Behind the Cellar Door.

Rebecca and Team Andis!

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2019 at 6:00 PM Permalink to California Welcomes Schioppettino (It only took 737 years) Permalink
Shannon Landis
May 16, 2018 | Shannon Landis

Spanish Style Meatball Recipe

Who doesn’t love a great meatball, especially when paired with a good wine?! I’m not talking about a bag of frozen processed meatballs, I’m talking about savory little morsels you can customize with items from your spice drawer or herb garden.


Cooking at a winery means the perfect wine pairing is always at the forefront when developing recipes. This recipe uses Spanish smoked paprika to
impart depth and a handful of local fresh herbs to enhance the old world style of our wines. Andis Grenache is used to deglaze the pan, a grape commonly associated with Spain and an even better wine to drink alongside this dish.


The best thing about meatballs is how forgiving and versatile they are; you can switch out the protein, spices, herbs or sauce to reflect the season and to pair with different wine varietals. Try pairing lamb meatballs with Andis Mourvèdre or try pairing Andis Rosè with a cranberry turkey meatball. Be sure to grab a loaf of your favorite crusty bread to sop up the savory sauce.


Grenache is currently featured on our tasting menu at Andis Wines. Come visit the winery and buy a bottle for $25.99 or a case and receive a 10% discount. Join our wine club and save over $7 per bottle! For more information on the benefits of joining Club Andis visit /Club/Join-Club- Andis, or better yet, come into our tasting room and visit with one of our knowledgeable and friendly team members where you can try the meatballs and Grenache together firsthand!


Albondigas – Spanish Meatballs
(makes about 20 – 1 oz meatballs)
 1lb Lean Ground Beef
 ⅓ cup Plain Breadcrumbs
 1 Egg
 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
 1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
 1/4 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
 ¾ teaspoon Salt
 Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the tomato sauce
 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
 one large Red Onion, diced
 1 -2 Garlic Cloves, minced
 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
 A heaped teaspoon Smoked Paprika
 ⅓ cup Andis Zinfandel Wine
 1 x 400g Canned, Chopped Tomatoes
 1 x 400 Pureed Tomatoes
 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
 3 Bay Leaves
 2 stems Fresh Oregano
 2 stems Fresh Thyme
 1 small stem Fresh Rosemary
 Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix together until
well combined. Roll into evenly sized 1oz balls and rest in the fridge to firm up
for about half an hour. (Meatballs may be frozen at this point and used at a later
2. Heat the olive oil in a large based pan. Brown the meatballs on all sides, shaking
skillet so meatballs roll to brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. In the same
pan, sauté the onions until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a
further 2 minutes. Add the spices and stir through. Deglaze with the wine.
Reduce down by half. Now add the tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves and oregano,
thyme and rosemary. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Return
the meatballs back into the pan and simmer on low heat for about 20 - 25
minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the tomato sauce has
Meatballs and sauce may also be transferred to a Crockpot to finish simmering
on low.
3. Remove herb stems and bay leaves. Spoon meatballs into serving bowls and serve
with crusty warm bread and butter.

Time Posted: May 16, 2018 at 2:45 PM Permalink to Spanish Style Meatball Recipe Permalink
March 17, 2018 |

Winter Winemaking

What do winemakers do with themselves outside of harvest? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question. The truth is that we keep busy with the different cycles of vineyard and cellar work. As soon as the last 2017 barrel is put down in the cellar after harvest, we start breaking out the 2016 wines to work on our blends. Both the Atelier Melka and Andis teams are very excited about the 2016 Zinfandels and Barberas that we will be bottling in April.

When I’m not crawling through stacks of barrels or working on blends, I’m walking through our Estate vineyard. A lot of exciting changes are happening this year. If you’ve visited the winery recently you would have noticed that the vines closest to the parking lot were removed. These were some of the original Zinfandel vines planted on their own roots in 1978. Unfortunately, nature had taken its course with these vines and they were starting to succumb to the pest Phylloxera. After years of declining yield, we decided to remove the vines to pave the way for something new. The team and I are very excited to be planting Cinsault (pronounced Sin-So). This varietal is prominently featured in red and rosè wines from Southern France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region.

For the few who were able to try our small lot bottling, you may be excited to hear that we will be expanding the Schioppettino (pronounced scope-a-tino) vines in our vineyard. In the coming weeks we will be grafting our Malbec block over to Schioppettino and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The second most common question I’m asked in the tasting room this time of year is about the cold weather’s effect on the vines. In the last two weeks we’ve had freezing temperatures and even snow in Plymouth! However, this time of year the vines are dormant and totally unaffected by the cold, unlike the bundled up winemakers and vineyard managers. Luckily we finished pruning before the coldest weather hit.

In a few weeks we will start to see budbreak throughout the valley. Budbreak is when the vines wake up from their dormancy and begin to push little green shoots from their buds. This event will mark the beginning of the 2018 growing season.  To add to our excitement, 2018 will be the first year we are harvesting Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Petite Sirah from our Estate vineyard. Stay tuned, more news to come!

Time Posted: Mar 17, 2018 at 12:01 PM Permalink to Winter Winemaking Permalink
September 9, 2017 |

Heat Wave! Harvest 2017

If you asked us two weeks ago, we would have told you we’d be taking the long weekend off. I would have been relaxing by a lake with a refreshing bottle of chilled Andis Semillon. But sometimes Mother Nature has other plans for us. This latest heat wave sent many wineries into a picking frenzy. The field numbers that looked nice and stable not two days prior were starting to jump all over the place. The slow and easy trajectory of the vintage turned into a pipe dream. The staff and I ended up processing all of the 2017 Andis white and rosé grapes in just a four-day window. But surely coming out of a drought, after getting all that rain this winter, the vines must have kept their cool. Right? 
There is a saying that “stressed vines make great wines”. However, heat and water stress have very different effects on the grapes. Some varieties and vineyards handle the heat better than others. Older, dry farmed vines like those at Andis have extensive root systems that allow them to keep cool and ripen on their own schedule. They have spent years chasing water deep in the soil, as opposed to younger, irrigated vines that rely too much on the farmer for water. Regardless of age, heat pulls water from the grapes. This loss of water concentrates the sugars, flavor and acids.  For that reason my two interns and I ran around the Shenandoah Valley every few days  sampling each vineyard we source from to make sure we get our picks right. While that sounds like a lot of work, our diligence paid off.  The whites and rosé came in with beautiful acid profiles, stellar sugar levels and amazing flavor. 
Now that the worst of the heat is behind us we can take a moment to relax, but just a moment. The bulk of our reds are just around the corner from being picked. The first trickling of our Estate Zinfandel grapes, as well as Petit Sirah from around the area, have made their way into the winery. These two varieties don’t usually come in before some of our lighter grapes such as Grenache. But we always adapt to the situation and tell ourselves “when they’re ready, they’re ready.” The heat wave this year threw many of us for a loop. It forces us to think about things differently than we’re used to, to make the most out of what nature has given us. Not to say that this is a bad year (to the contrary, I think it will be excellent!), but it has so far been a year that has kept us on our toes. Making us work a little harder to process everything in a shorter window than we planned. But the long hot days and late nights will all be worth it when I have the chance to share my Andis debut with the tasters who stop by! 
Happy Harvest Everyone!

Eric Hildreth
Time Posted: Sep 9, 2017 at 3:18 PM Permalink to Heat Wave! Harvest 2017 Permalink
Jack Mitchell
February 10, 2016 | Jack Mitchell

Andis Wines — A Winery Looking to the Future

Usually, conversations with local wine makers and winery owners start with me asking, “What’s new,” or “What’s up?” And as most of us who call Amador County our home know, one of the special features of living here is that you actually meet, work with, play and party with not only friends who work in the wine industry, but also the owners of the vineyards and the winemakers. They are accessible to everyone, making a trip through our region and tasting award-winning wines all the more special. Such was the case when I ventured into Andis Wines (11000 Shenandoah Road, Plymouth), to catch up with Andy Friedlander, Andis Wines owner and Mark McKenna, winemaker. The question, “What’s new?” quickly turned into a conversation worthy of sharing with the readers of the Amador Ledger Dispatch.

Andis Wines opened in November of 2010. It is a state-of-the-art winemaking facility surrounded by panoramic 360-degree views of the Shenandoah Valley and the 25-acre vineyard site. What I did not know is that the winery was built to minimize energy requirements and water usage. “The 17,000-square-foot facility is set on an east-west axis in such a way as to reduce heat from the sun, thus minimizing the need for excessive air conditioning during the hot months,” explained McKenna. “We utilize evaporative cooling instead of air conditioning in our barrel and production areas. This is a tremendous energy savings as well as a system that causes less wine losses due to evaporation and allows the wines to experience moderate temperature fluctuations while aging, ultimately resulting in more stable wines.” Indeed, the winery design exceeds California’s strict Title 24 energy standards by over 15 percent. The beautiful decorative stave wall is made from retired and repurposed wine barrels — and includes names of club members in appreciation of their support and love of Andis Wines.

One of the big lurking issues for Andis Wines and the winery industry as a whole is sustainability, the hottest topic lately being water usage and the persistent drought we are all too familiar with in California. “Our grapes are almost exclusively dry-farmed, meaning we don’t irrigate them,” said McKenna. The only irrigation used is on newly replanted parcels to ensure vines get properly established. “This allows us to use as little water as possible and force the plants to develop deep and sustainable root systems,” said McKenna. All of Andis Wines landscaping was designed to require minimal irrigation, as well.

And in the “What’s New“ category, McKenna was kind enough to show me the steam sanitation process. In the past, washing and sanitizing a single wine barrel required approximately 60 gallons of water. The steam sanitation process is not only more effective, but reduces that usage to just three gallons of water per barrel. “It has reduced the amount of water we use to clean tanks from 200-300 gallons down to less than 15. It’s more effective and ensures the wines are even better cared for than before,” said McKenna.

As any Amador County gardener will tell you, mole and vole populations can be a problem. Andis Wines installed owl boxes to attract predatory birds to protect the vineyard. “This way we don’t have to use any chemical inputs in the vineyard or around the winery to control the rodent population,” said McKenna. “We use cover crops to help amend the health of the soils in lieu of chemical amendments and are planning to use baby doll sheep starting this year for weed control.”

In the cellars themselves, tradition and innovation go hand-in-hand. Using alternative aging vessels (concrete and “flex” tanks) in addition to barrels allows Andis Wines to make wine of more intense character while reducing the need for barrels, saving some trees along the way. My personal favorite is the refillable carafe. “We save a bottle, label, cork and case each time a customer purchases one of our refillable carafes,” said McKenna. “It also happens to be a great deal at $15 for a one liter refill (only $10 if you are an Amador County resident) — because for us, local matters!” Coming soon is the installation of one of only two Tesla and EV charging stations between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

Building a state-of-the-art winemaking facility and winery that utilizes “green” design is expensive. Andis Wines views it as an investment and critical to the future of the Amador wine industry. The mission is to craft delicious wines with balance, character and complexity. Garnering 90+ point scores in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, glowing reviews and placements in some of the finest restaurants in Northern California and Hawaii, I would say Andis Wines is the perfect blend of vineyard, winemaker and winery.

If you are considering a trip to the Shenandoah Valley and Amador wine country I would encourage you to relax in the picnic area, spending time with family and friends. As their website states, “Our contemporary design, gracious staff and commitment to making superior wines make Andis a must-stop on your Amador wine tasting adventure.” Personally, that statement is 100 percent correct. And knowing their commitment to sustainability and the future of Amador County, California and the wine industry as a whole makes their wine all the more delicious. Amador has made wonderful wine for a very long time — come enjoy the next chapter. Visit for more information on Andis Wines.

Copyright © 2016 Amador Ledger Dispatch

Time Posted: Feb 10, 2016 at 2:21 PM Permalink to Andis Wines — A Winery Looking to the Future Permalink

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