By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

Andy - Head Shot I first "met" Andy Marshall, the assistant marketing manager and jack-of-all-trades at Hunt Country Vineyards via Twitter. Since that initial introduction, we've had numerous discussions on nearly as many topics in recent months and I thought him the perfect person to resuscitate our Q&A series with, after all, there are more than just winemakers and winery owners behind the wines you drink.

A December 2005 graduate of Keuka College, Andy holds a B.S. Business Management with a minor in Computer Technologies. He's also Hunt Country’s resident vegan, and has been helpful in developing and promoting the winery’s vegan-friendly initiatives. 

Personally, I like Andy because he's a guy with ideas and opinions — and he isn't afraid to share them.

Now, on to our standard set of questions:

What event/bottle/etc made you decide that you wanted to be in the wine industry?

No one thing made me want to be in the wine industry. Hunt Country Vineyards was actually my first job out of college. 
What made me decide to stay in the wine industry was my very first harvest in 2006. Our cellarmaster was out sick one day and they needed someone to climb inside a tank and shovel out the sediment in the bottom of the tank after fermenting some red wine juice. I thought, “why not?” and volunteered. Standing knee-deep in wet, aromatic grape skins I realized that this had to have been one of the most entertaining moments in my working career and decided to keep at it. 
Almost five years later I’m still enjoying myself; plus, the industry discount doesn’t hurt. 

What (and where) was the first bottle of wine you remember drinking?

It was in December 2005 in Ball Hall, Fourth Floor, Keuka College, Keuka Park, NY. It was Da Vinci Chianti and I was a  21-year old college student at the time, but I’m still a wine drinker and even go for Chianti from time-to-time, so I guess it wasn’t too bad!

Which of your current wines is your favorite and why?

My favorite of our current wines, with the pinot gris out of stock, is the Valvin Muscat. I’m a big fan of rich, spicy (the hotter the better) foods.

The Valvin Muscat pairs beautifully with Thai dishes. There’s nothing more delicious than a glass of chilled Valvin Muscat and a steaming bowl of my specialty — Thai carrot and coconut soup.

What has surprised you most about being a member of the Finger Lakes wine community?

I think the thing that has surprised me the most is the sense of community. Everyone looks out for one another and really pull together to help each other out. We’re known to have fundraisers to support other winery workers when catastrophic things have happened in their lives. 

It’s nice to be counted among their numbers.

Other than your own wines, what wine/beer/liquor most often fills your glass?

It's a toss up — either Grey Goose Vodka, neat, straight from the freezer or Crown Royal and Coke.

Is there a 'classic' wine or wine and food pairing that you just can't make yourself enjoy?

Not technically a wine and food pairing, but I just don’t get the whole Port and cigar thing. It ruins a perfectly good cigar.

Wine enjoyment is about more than just the wine itself. Describe the combination of wine, locations, food, company, etc. that would make (or has made) for the ultimate wine-drinking experience.

Tough call. There are a lot of moments that would be pretty cool, but the ultimate? I’m a sports nut so I’m thinking, sitting at the 50-yard line at the Super Bowl while watching the Indianapolis Colts (sorry Lenn, not the Steelers) make the winning field goal while enjoying a glass or two (maybe a bottle) of wine.