I always love the story behind a wine label. Where does it come from? Why was it created? Who wants you to open it and drink it? There are so many questions which can uncover fascinating facts about some of our favourite wines. So let’s take a moment, grab a glass of wine and chat to a winemaker who believes life should be soaked in passion and purpose.
Andrew Leembruggen established Andevine Wines in 2012 in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. We recently crossed paths as Andrew sells some of his wines through the Naked Wines website which I have recently become a member of. I thought it would be great to do a bit of a Q&A with Andrew to find out a bit more about who Andevine are…
You have been working as a winemaker for over 20 years at some of the flagship wineries in the Hunter Valley as well as around the world, what made you take the leap of creating your own wine and label?
Andrew: For a few years I was working as a Senior Winemaker for one of Australia’s top 5 wine companies, for family reasons I took a job with a smaller family owned estate. Although I loved the team I didn’t feel that they were ready to push the boundaries of quality and style that my domestic and international experience had led me to, so they only way for me to grow professionally and connect with wine drinkers was to strike out on my own. As a corporate winemaker one is sheltered from ones market and I have gone through a large part of my career disconnected from the consumer, creating Andevine Wines was a great way to connect and it has definitely helped evolve my winemaking through the feedback I have received across all of the varying price points within my brand.
Why Andevine? What does this name mean to you?
Andrew: The name was pitched to me by a small design team based in Sydney – Co-Partnership. The moment I heard it I loved it. It brings together my name, the ‘vine’ where all winemaking starts and it sounds a little bit Dutch which also reflects my heritage.
I have to admit, when I first saw the bottles I just loved the artwork. Is there a story behind this? Why did you choose this design?
Andrew: Again, this was created by Co-Partnership and the moment I saw their creation I was hooked. I wanted something that was completely different from the regular typography of a traditional wine label and that would set me apart. They fulfilled the brief of creating something that was, like wine itself, artistic and alluded to the floral and sensual delight of wine. The flowers on the label are all from NSW and Holland reflecting my ancestry and where I source my wines. The black on the label reflects the aromas and flavours emerging from the darkness and chaos of the universe. I loved it at first sight, it really taps into my personality.
How would you describe your winemaking style? Are you a traditionalist or an experimentalist?
Andrew: Having worked so many vintages in Australia and Europe I see myself as an international winemaker with a foot in both the traditional and experimental camp. The issue has been about moderating and defining when and where those elements interact and ultimately it is each vineyard and vintage that tells me where to lean. I would like to think that my wines walk a tightrope between the two worlds – my Chardonnay for example is made in using traditional methods augmented by the demand for freshness and vitality demanded by todays modern wine drinker. That’s how I see the dynamic playing out.
As we know, you’re part of Naked Wines, from a Winemakers point of view how has Naked Wines helped you?
Andrew: I wouldn’t be working for myself without the amazing support of Naked Wines. They are an amazing company willing to invest in talent and energy. Before meeting the Naked team I was starting to get frustrated and wondered just how I would make the leap from employee to employer in such a capital intensive industry as winemaking. Their support has been critical to my evolution and independence and I am grateful to them and the ‘Angels’ that have supported me on the journey.
What is your favourite grape variety and why?
Andrew: I have two children and know that it is impossible to have a favourite child; as a winemaker one cannot have a favourite variety given the physical and emotional investment that goes into each wine.
What would be your top recommendations for Hunter Valley wineries to visit? (After Andevine of course)
Andrew: Tyrrell’s is great Hunter institution but of the modern wave Gundog and Tinklers are the wineries to watch.
A big thank-you to Andrew for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s great to have further insight into the Andevine Wines range. Make sure to check out my tasting notes below:
- Andevine Wines 2013 Reserve Chardonnay
- Andevine Wines 2014 Reserve Shiraz
- Andevine Wines 2014 Reserve Semillon
For more details on Andevine and where to buy Andrew’s wines, check out his website here and make sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.