Andrew Jones is the winemaker behind Field Recordings, Fiction, The Fableist, Alloy, and Wonderwall wine brands.
Jones’s primary job is at a vine nursery, where he plans out and plants vineyards for winemakers throughout California, especially in the Central Coast region. By his estimation, he has stood in almost every vineyard in that region. Through this work, he has developed a keen ability to identify unknown and under-appreciated vineyard sites that he feels have enormous potential. It also allows him access to high-quality grapes from small vineyards throughout the Central Coast. Jones uses this fruit to make the wines for his different brands. Despite making wine for his five wine brands, he is still first and foremost a wine grower. Jones believes “if you get it from the right spot, the work is already done for you in the vineyard. It’s the winemaker’s responsibility to not screw it up.”
Jones’s flagship brand, Field Recordings, are single-vineyard expressions meant to demonstrate the value and unique character of some of these small sites that he has discovered. The wines are inspired by the people he has met and the places he has visited while working with wine growers and winemakers across the state. The Neverland Cabernet is a special project of the Field Recordings line, using fruit from Santa Barbara. Layered with notes of black currant, spearmint, bacon, and smoked cedar planks, this is “a truly California Cabernet” according to Jones.
In contrast to Field Recordings, the Fiction series of wines are multi-vineyard blends designed to highlight the best qualities of the given vintage. These are everyday wines, designed to go perfectly with tonight’s dinner and this weekend’s party with friends. The Fiction red blend is a Zinfandel-based blend with smoky tobacco notes and rich tannin.
Jones’s next wine brand is called Wonderwall. These wines are based on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown in Edna Valley within the California Central Coast. Jones has put his stamp on these Burgundy grapes with his selection of vineyard sites that allow for longer-than-average “hang time” for the grapes, so that they can more fully develop without getting too hot and losing their acidity.
Inspired by craft beer makers who were canning their beers, Jones became one of the pioneers of wine in a can. In addition to several Fiction and Field Recordings wines that come in a can, his Alloy brand is entirely can-based. The Alloy Chardonnay has flavors of vanilla, lemon, pear, and almond. The Alloy Grenache Rose has flavors of strawberry, grapefruit, rose petal, and guava.
Jones collaborates with fellow winemaker Curt Schalchlin to create The Fableist wine series. Each wine in the collection is an interpretation of one of Aesop’s fables. The Merlot is their interpretation of the fable of the snake, the eagle and the farmer --Life’s road may wind unfairly, and serpents may lie in wait for do-gooders and villains alike, but The Fableist believes good deeds deserve reward and will always offer grateful grapes to worthy wanderers. The eye-catching label illustrations, accented with copper foil, won “Best in Show” at the most recent Wine Packaging Conference (Yes, there is such a thing!).