Andrew Rich Winery came into being
when Andrew Rich moved from Santa Cruz, California, to Portland,
in 1994–after a six-year stint at Bonny Doon
Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. He moved
with the idea of giving Rhône
varietals a particularly Northwest spin. Pity the grapes just weren't
With the 1999 vintage, the Syrah finally came in, but in the meanwhile
Rich turned his attention to Pinot Noir and Cabernet, the flagship
grapes of Oregon and Washington. Mainstream, sure, but in a brave
act of redemption he has taken up the cause of the noble and greatly
underappreciated Chenin Blanc, and continues to make a case for Rosé.
His Sauvignon Blanc has a following that buys up his entire supply
a few months after release.
Two labels exist, Tabula Rasa ("blank slate")
is the post-card label, originally reserved for blended wines, while
made in limited quantities are designated Les Vigneaux ("The Little
Vineyards"). The current ensemble comprises an octet of highly
distinctive wines-white, pink, red, redder, sweet-culminating in the
sensuous, opulent, and oh-so-well-balanced Gewurztraminer ice wine.
Andrew left a successful career as a magazine editor to enroll in wine
school in the Burgundy region of France, where he developed an interest
in the wines of the Rhone. The one other American student was Oregonian
John Eliassen (now of La Bete wines). Andrew soon became friends
with John and wife Kay. Their freindship would lead to his discovery
studying in France and developing an interest in the wine of the
Rhone, Andrew sought work that would allow him to develop his
skills with Rhone varietals. He was attracted to Bonny Doon Vineyard
in California when he discovered that Randall Grahm, Bonny Doon's
owner and winemaker, was making wines from Rhone varietals. Andrew
applied for and got a position as "cellar rat" and later
was placed in charge of Bonny Doon's second wine cellar. He was in
charge of making the white wines, including the dessert wines, beginning
with the '89 vintage. He remained at Bonny Doon for the 90, 91, 92,
and part of the 93 vintages, moving to Oregon in January 1994.
Andrew chose Oregon after his friends the Eliassens invited him to
volunteer for the '88 IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration,
held in Yamhill County each year). He enjoyed the experience and
returned to Oregon over the next few year, making other wine industry
friends. The more time he spent in Oregon the more he liked it, and
six years later he decided that Oregon was his place to be.
Andrew worked at Ponzi in 1994 for the harvest and by '95 was making
Grenache and Syrah under his Tabula Rasa label. He made his '95 vintage
at, his '96-'99 vintages at Eola Hills Winery,
his 2000 and Witness
Tree Vineyard 2001 at Adelsheim, and starting with the 2002 vintage,
makes his wines at the new Carlton Winemakers Studio.
The Northern Willamette Valley