Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Andrew Albin: For better worse, I cannot remember a time in my life not being in the wine industry. I grew up on the vineyard that my parents planted in 1981, and from the time I could reach the tractor pedals, they put me to work. It wasn’t until my early twenties, when I was a semester away graduating from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree and aspirations of running far away from the wine industry, that I realized I wanted to come home. I remember sitting on the back porch with my future wife drinking a glass of wine and discussing my career aspirations. I just couldn’t see myself not being around my family and living somewhere far away. I could picture working alongside my dad like he did with my grandfather. I could picture bringing my kids to the winery like my dad did with me, and I thought about what a unique and fulfilling life I would have working with my family—creating something both artistic and scientific.
What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?
AA: After I graduated from the University of Oregon, I decided to go back to school at Oregon State University and got a degree in viticulture and enology. It was there that I really fell in love with the process of winemaking. The chemistry and the microbiology were fascinating to study. It was like looking behind the curtain of my childhood. I also value my time at school for the friends I made, many of whom I am still close with today.
How has being in the wine industry changed you?
AA: First and foremost, my decision to come back to the wine industry has brought me closer to my family and that’s something I am very thankful for. I feel lucky to work with my parents and lucky to have the kind of career that I can include my wife and two daughters.
What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
AA: One of my favorite things about being in the wine industry is everyone’s attention to detail in both wine and food. I really enjoy talking with my peers about what they’re cooking and what restaurants they like to go to. We all really seem to enjoy breaking things down. We analyze our food and drink to the point of exhaustion. It probably drives my wife crazy, but I love it.
Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?
AA: One of the draws for me to come back to winemaking is that I can satisfy both a creative and analytical itch that I have. I enjoyed my time in journalism, I liked the creative part but I missed the science. I now get to spend time in the lab and solve wine making problems with good chemistry. I also get to work on blends and spend weeks using sensory analysis to create a beautiful and balanced wine. Another aspect that has kept my heart in winemaking is the ability to connect to nature. It is always a breath of fresh air, literally, to get out of the winery or off of the computer and get out into the vineyards.
You can learn more about Six Peaks Winery and buy their wine on their website: