Andrew Kilian - the uncle's story
My journey into winemaking began quite late. I was 40 years old when I did my first harvest overseas. The rest of the winemaking team were in their early 20’s. Someone called me Uncle and got the ball rolling; Uncle is a nickname that stuck.
My passions in life are my family, friends, travel, good wine and good food. I traveled for 5 years to different wine growing regions around the world to make wine, and in my travels, I visited beautiful places both to live and make wine. I met amazing people in the industry, some of whom I am happy to call my friends today. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make wine in these faraway places. I started bouncing the idea off some of my friends and they were very
interested and excited to make my dream a reality.
During the 2018 vintage in Germany, I helped out at a friend’s winery. We were busy hand de-stemming Cabernet Sauvignon for barrel fermentation. It was a long but beautiful afternoon. As we worked, we tasted various Cabernet wines from different regions of the world to benchmark and imagine the direction the wine should take. During that afternoon of tasting and work, my friend said we should create an Uncle’s label, and so dream became reality.
I then contacted friends in Napa Valley, Languedoc in France and on the Luxembourg Mosel to see if I could work with them to make wine for the UNCLE’S Label. The response was extremely positive, so plans were made.
The Uncle's Style
I have been very fortunate in my travels to have worked in what I call the “new and old worlds of wine.” I could take the best of both worlds and integrate them into my wines, a sort of fusion or crossover.
What varieties, what vineyard, how to vinify those grapes in the UNCLE’S style was a list of many questions that needed to be answered.
My personal wine style is wine with power, complexity, and balance. Style question answered!
Passion. Emotion. Time.
UNCLE’S wines are made in very small quantities (1 or 2 barriques), all French oak for the white wines, new and old barriques for the red wines. There are two reasons for this. Less new wood influence, and secondly it was practical.
For me, winemaking is to care and nurture something beautiful which nature has gifted us. Let the wine guide you and accompany you on its amazing journey full of passion, emotion and time. I intervene when necessary and go a lot on my gut feel!
Uncle’s wines are made with minimal intervention, mostly natural ferments with little or no manipulation on my part. I want the vineyard to talk to me when I enjoy the wine. I am aware of the risks of this type of winemaking, and I do not throw caution to the wind. Small numbers mean it hurts when things go wrong, so extreme control throughout the winemaking process is a must!
The UNCLE'S philosophy
When selecting a vineyard, the first questions asked are what variety of grape, what soil type is best for the wine style, the age of the vineyard, the yield, and of course tasting wines from previous vintages to see how the vineyard behaves and how the wine evolves in the bottle over time.
Once these questions are answered, we select the vineyard and plan accordingly. What is such a pleasure is that we are very close friends and for the most part share the same philosophy and ideas. When we have different views on a matter, we exchange opinions and ideas. Our relationship is based on mutual trust and respect. I visit the vineyard a few times a year and am present when the grapes are picked and then always vinify them myself to keep them true to the style and philosophies of UNCLE’S Wines.
UNCLE’S wines invites you to join us on our journey!