Andrew Will truly is one of the best wineries in America, let alone in Washington.
“Is this America’s Best Red Wine?” (referring to Andrew Will’s 2012 Champoux Vineyard Red Wine) wondered a wine contributor to Forbes, which published a piece with that title in July 2015.
Respected wine writer John Gilman published a pice entitled “Andrew Will - America’s Answer to Chateau Cheval Blanc,” referring to one of Bordeaux’s legendary wines (and, for fans of the movie “Sideways,” the cherished wine that Miles ends up drinking from a styrofoam cup at a fast food restaurant).
Winemaker/owner Chris Camarda on his wines and humble beginnings: “I like a sense of darkness, almost mystery in the wine. I like the person drinking them to be trying to access the qualities of the wine rather than the wine forcing itself on people with overtly flavored vanilla and other things from barrels. I prefer that the wines show themselves rather than me trying to do that through flavoring techniques.
The first winery location in 1989 was as simple as a building can be and still call it a building. At one time it had been the walkway between two adjoining structures that had a roof put on. We called it home for five vintages and were able to make 2000 cases in an area 10 feet by 60 feet. We used a tape measure. The winery was named for nephew Andrew and son Will.
When we moved to Vashon Island in 1994 it was as if the circus came to town. All of the barrels of wine I had made and all the equipment and all the case goods were loaded on two trucks and the 20 minute drive from Lower Queen Anne to West Seattle got underway. The winery landed on Vashon about an hour later and we unloaded all and got ready for the 1994 harvest.
Since then we have added another building for case storage and expanded the winery to allow for tanks and the rest of the machinery we use each fall. Every year we wait and take what is given us and are thankful for that start in making the newest vintage. Each year brings a sense of passage and surprise so that when all is in barrel in November we can sit and look at what we have done with a sense of something new and old being a few yards from our house. The history of the winery is the history of and repetition of this yearly series of events we participate in and later mull over. The history of the winery expands itself over time by opening the bottles and going over all that took place in time to get what is in the glass in focus and hopefully be glad for what we have done.
We are getting our fruit from Ciel du Cheval, Champoux, May’s Discovery, and Two Blondes vineyards. Since the first vintage in 1989 we have tried to improve our artisanal skills as winemakers as well as to conform to the simple ideas we started with. The most important of these has been the primacy of the vineyard. While it is possible for winemakers to muddy the reputation of a vineyard by hasty winemaking decisions it is not possible to take fruit from uninteresting properties and turn it through magic into an interesting bottle."