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Get to Know Your Winemaker: Andy Reagan of Jefferson Vineyards

Posted by on February 2, 2011

This is the first installment in a series we’re calling Get to Know Your Winemaker. You may not know this, but winemakers are real people with pasts and families and everything. Like teachers, however, they do not go to the bathroom. Odd. Anyhow, we’re kicking off this informative peek into the cellar with Andy Reagan, winemaker for Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Grape Envy Guy: Where did you grow up?
Andy: Norfolk, VA.

G: How long have you lived in Virginia?

A: 30 years.

G: What brought you to wine?

A: Sold to my sister Anne for $20 and a bottle of Chardonnay, made to work in the vineyards at the age of 15, fell for the vineyard life immediately.

G: Where else (besides your current winery) have you made wine?

A: Benmarl Vineyard, Marlboro NY; The Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg VA; Lakeridge Winery, Clermont FL; Chrysalis Vineyards, Middleburg VA; Old North State Winery, Mount Scary – I mean Mount Airy NC

G: What characteristics do you enjoy in wine?

A: Everything, really just depends on my mood, if I had to choose a couple though I more often drink higher acid whites with great aromatics, and reds with darker fruits, a good balance of oak and tannin, and I love old wine.

G: If you could have a private tour of any winery in the world, which would you choose?

A: Some place really old in Spain or Italy

G: What is your favorite food and wine pairing?

A: Albariño and paella, or a jammy, slight brett-infused Rhône with venison or rabbit.

G: What are your favorite wine varietals?

A: Albarino, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Syrah

G: A lot of wine folks are excited for the 2010 wines. Which of your wines are you the most excited about?

A: ALL OF THEM! (note: if every winemaker answers this way, there will be consequences. Andy gets the benefit of going first here -G)

G: Who is your favorite cartoon character?

A: hmmmmmmmm………………… Homer?

G: What is one thing we haven’t asked that you want Virginia wine lovers to know about you or your winery?

A: We make the best wine in the entire world…… least my own little world that is, we also are proud to say all of our wines are 100% all Virginia fruit. Not a bit of concentrate, out of state fruit or out of state bulk wine.


In the spirit of Inside the Actors Studio, Andy was gracious enough to also share his favorite curse word, which was quite good of him. Thanks a lot for sharing, Andy!

Creative Commons License
The Get to Know Your Winemaker: Andy Reagan of Jefferson Vineyards by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

11 Responses to Get to Know Your Winemaker: Andy Reagan of Jefferson Vineyards

  1. Neil Glaser

    Well? What’s the word?

  2. Jordan Harris

    I think the best question is the cartoon character fav. I have come to a realization that most winemakers do enjoy cartoons, however i am waiting to see if any of us say Handy Manny.

    It is great to have Andy and Jefferson Vineyards in the Virginia Wine Industry. They are huge advocates of the true local wine and have great wines.

  3. NoVa Winer

    This will be an interesting and educational addition to your reviews. It took me a while to recognize that while the cute server in the tasting room might make the wine more enjoyable, it is the winemaker that really determines how the wine tastes. One of the big clues to a change in a winery’s quality is a change in the wine maker. A couple of times I have noticed my enjoyment of a favorite wine changed, then later read the wine maker had started his/her own winery or simply moved to another opportunity.
    Thanks for including this valuable information.

  4. GrapeEnvyGuy

    Neil- it looks like I may have accidentally deleted the email. Maybe Andy will be nice enough to drop by and share

    Jordan – I threw that in because it’s totally random (suits this blog’s personality) and really, I think that if you know your cartoon characters, knowing someone’s favorite gives you a glimpse into their psyche. Let’s just say that I haven’t been shocked by any of the responses thus far.

    NoVa Winer – Glad you like it! We just thought it would be fun to highlight the people behind the wines and shove them out into the limelight a bit. Limelight. That’s actually pretty accurate, since that’s a Rush song. The winemaker is kind of like the bass player of the winery, really important but not always front and center – unless it’s a bass player like Geddy Lee of Rush, who’s also the front man.

  5. Rick

    Homer with a DOUGHNUT?

  6. GrapeEnvyGuy

    Rick – you try finding an image of Homer holding a wine glass that doesn’t require half an hour of photoshopping out backgrounds. Trust me, I looked!

  7. Rick

    I bet it would be easy to find him holding a can of Duff…….

  8. Andy

    my favorite curse word is: @$#%@$#*&!!!!

    but usually instead of cursing I just throw a wrench (if I’m outside)

    watch out for Jefferson’s 2010 Pinot Gris and 2010 Cabernet Franc

    for today they are my favorites, next week will probably be something entirely different.

    Great idea with this series, should be fun to keep up with!

  9. VAWineDiva

    Thanks for being so willing to play along with us, Andy. …and that’s quite a lab assistant you’ve got there!

  10. Andy

    he is a great lab tech, though typically very territorial. i was surprised he let me in the lab at all

  11. GrapeEnvyGuy

    Luckily he’s much shorter than you. You can do with him what I do when VA Wine Diva is mad at me, plant my hand on her forehead and let her flail away at empty space.

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