Archive for January, 2013


Winemaker Reagan leaves Jefferson Vineyards

Posted on Jan 22 2013 | By

Vintner earned hundreds of medals during tenure 

As 2012 came to a close, so did Andy Reagan’s seven year stint at Jefferson Vineyards in Charlottesville. Last year’s wines are still in barrel and tank but Reagan will not be bottling them.

“Let’s say I had a difference of opinion with the owners coupled with a desire to build my own brand. After twenty years in the industry I’m looking forward to creating my own vision of Virginia wine,” says Reagan.

Andy Reagan

Andy Reagan

The man will have a challenge to equal and exceed the wines he produced at the historic site on the outskirts of C’ville. Italian winemaker and industrialist Fillipo Mazzei planted grapes on the winery’s grounds in 1774, with the help of Thomas Jefferson who invested in the new venture.

Last year Wine Spectator observed, “Jefferson winery produces 12 wines from 25 acres and has one of the region’s most consistent track records.” Similar accolades poured in from around the state and nation since Reagan took control of the cellar in 2005.

During his time at Jefferson, Reagan’s emphasis on quality wine resulted in more than a doubling of production and an increase in net profits of 250%. He credits his multiple roles as General Manager, vineyard manager and winemaker to his success.

Reagan is now looking for both a site and financing to open his own winery which will be called AJUDE Wine Company. Jude is Reagan’s middle name.

“To succeed in this business you need to produce quality wine at a great location. I intend to stay in the Charlottesville region because it’s home to some top wineries and has the best winegrowing land in the state. Being near two or more quality establishments is key to a successful venture,” he emphasizes.

Reagan underscores his success will be achieved by starting small and performing most of the work himself. Major investments and large annual case production can often lead to over supply and the inability to sell a warehouse full of wine. Reagan’s first year production will be 500 cases with an ultimate goal of 2,000 cases annually, numbers that are clearly in the boutique winery category.

The winemaker has written a business plan and identified possible properties to purchase but securing financing is his primary goal; not an easy task in a tough economy. While his preference is to obtain a full loan for the venture, he is also open to investors bankrolling his dream. “I’ll talk with anyone interested in producing limited quantities of very high end wines,” he says.

His intent is to pursue varietals that he built his reputation on: Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petit Verdot.

Not only has Jefferson Vineyards recently lost its winemaker but Rappahannock Cellars, Boxwood, Chrysalis, and Ingleside vintners have also moved on for various reasons. The early months of winter are prime time for a change of winemakers. The past vintage’s wines are sleeping safely in the cellar and its months before the next harvest will commence.

Reagan asks any readers who may have an interest in becoming part of his vision, or know someone who is, to contact this writer at



Categories : WINE ARTICLES