Meet the Winemaker
A wife suggesting that her husband finds a new hobby? That could be taken rather lightly. However, if your husband is Don Andreas, your suggestion could turn your home’s basement into a fully licensed, commercial winery in just over a year!
As Don Andreas’ daughter, Chloe, prepared to walk the stage at her high school graduation in the spring of 2018, his wife, Pamela, knew that he would need something to fill the absence of his daughter’s time away at college.
Pamela had introduced Don to enjoying wine many years ago, and visiting wineries become something they would frequently do together on the weekend to relax and put the work week behind them.
Andreas purchased a basic wine making equipment kit that summer of 2018 and began making wine from concentrate kits. He quickly searched for as much wine making information as he could get his hands and eyes on, leading to enrolling in Northampton Community College’s Wine Specialist program.
Wine making from concentrate kits would lead to wine production from grape juice (a common method of wine making in commercial wineries). Andreas would advance his winemaking skills by applying lessons from the classroom on wine blending, back sweetening, and sterile filtering, eventually creating seven crisp and unique wines from three juice varieties.
After receiving rave reviews from his fellow classmates, the seven wines would be entered into Winemaker Magazine’s International Amateur Wine Making Competition. The ‘lucky seven’ held up well among the 2,300 entries with the judges, bringing Andreas not only his first, but his first 4 amateur medals (a Gold, a Silver, and two Bronze). This, along with the completion of the Wine Specialist program in July of 2019, provided the assurance needed to take the necessary steps to convert Don and Pamela’s cellar into a licensed, commercial wine production facility.
With Don and Pamela's first batch of commercially produced wines under the Clever Girl brand well on its way, Andreas now teaches one of the classes at Northampton Community College's Wine Specialist program as a way of giving back what was brought to him. The first Clever Girl Winery bottles will be ready and available for sale in the Spring of 2020 at various local pop-up markets and wine festivals.