An Interview with Andrew Maxwell of Grosgrain Vineyards by Heather Coffey
Andrew Maxwell may have begun his path on the western portion of Washington State but has found a home and a direction as a vital part of Grosgrain Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington, as Assistant Winemaker. With a double degree in Political Science, Arabic, and Islamic Anthropology, and an affinity for art, travel, cooking, and music, afternoons working together in the cellar always went quickly, rich with conversation, playlists, and laughter. I also learned a thing or two about winemaking. The following are some of his thoughts regarding winemaking in Washington State.
Heather Coffey: Can you please update me on some basic information, including your date of graduation from the EV program, current employer and position, social media handles, and preferred contact details?
Andrew Maxwell: I graduated in the Class of 16, I am the Grosgrain Assistant Winemaker, @mandrewmedward on Instagram, and I guess this is my preferred contact.
HC: How did you get into wine?
AM: I got into wine after taking a trip out to Walla Walla and seeing a lot of people my age making good careers for themselves. After that, I took a chance and made the move.
HC: Is there someone in the EV world that you admire, including fellow EV alums?
AM: I admire the people who make all this happen. The skilled vineyard workers and cellar hands who do their job day-in and day-out with very little spotlight or thanks.
HC: What’s special to you about working in the wine industry?
AM: What’s special to me about this industry is being a part of a millennia-old tradition that’s practiced all over the world.
HC: What is your favorite part of your job?
AM: My favorite part of the job is watching bottles roll off the line and feeling a sense of accomplishment.
HC: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the industry?
AM: Some challenges I’ve faced in the industry are the egos that it seems to attract.
HC: What do you think differentiates and excites you about Washington wine?
AM: What differentiates Washington wine, in my opinion, are the possibilities. We’re still finding what we do best and realizing that we don’t have to have one thing in particular that we choose to make our name with.
HC: How do you foresee climate change or social issues affecting the local industry in the next few years?
AM: Climate change should be the number one thing on all our minds. This industry will look radically different within the next few decades. It’s everyone’s duty to make sure that there’s still a future for us to practice our chosen vocation in.
HC: What are some up-and-coming trends in wine that you’re following?
AM: I hope that the trends toward sustainable practices in grape growing/winemaking, and the revaluation of labor continue. We’re all in for a bleak future if they don’t.
HC: What advice can you share with future EV graduates?
AM: Something I think all future grads should have in mind is to think about your place in this industry. How can you make this latest chapter in the history of winemaking an important one? What are you doing to set not only yourself, but those around you up for success?