Life is a dance with many steps that you make & take along the way.
This is the story of Gypsy Dancer.
When I met Gary Andrus, I was working three jobs living in a tiny cabin at a drive-in movie theater in Colorado. One of my jobs was working for a wine distributor and Gary and I met one fateful day at a wine event in Vail. Gary said he knew the moment that I walked in the door that he would marry me. I wasn’t quite as optimistic. A few weeks later, he flew to Colorado to take me on a date and proposed that night.
Together we embarked on an amazing journey. We travelled, started two wineries on two continents in two hemispheres, and had two beautiful daughters, Gypsy and Romanee. Gary was such an icon to so many, but to us he was just Daddy, husband and partner. We had so much fun making wine together and we did make a lot of wine. Having the winery in Oregon and New Zealand meant two harvests per year. When we hatched the plan, we were thinking endless summer but in reality, it was endless work. I must say, the work was fun and exhilarating and I learned quickly what it took to make very high quality Pinot Noir. It was an education anyone with a passion for wine would love to have.
It broke our hearts when Gary passed away. The girls were very young and I decided to leave Oregon and start a whole new life in hopes it would ease the pain of his loss. We moved to South Dakota and went into the Bison business. We run our herd, a breeding operation, at my sister and her husband’s Prairie Moon Ranch and live in a tiny little prairie town near Badlands National Park. The girls are thriving and settled and that was the objective, but I felt a yearning for what I finally admitted was my passion, making wine.
I approached Rebecca about making a 2012 vintage 2 weeks before the harvest and it was almost magical the way that everything fell into place. We were able to get grapes from Dukes Family Vineyards, great friends that Gary and I helped start in the wine business. Rebecca and I spent a lot of time talking about what kind of wine “the new” Gypsy Dancer should be stylistcally and she took the reins and made an impressive wine. I decided to start small in the first vintage and build from there.
One day as I was visiting with an old friend of Gary’s, a very successful winemaker, I told him that I was planning on re-launching the Gypsy Dancer brand. He was shocked that I hadn’t asked him to make the wine at his winery and had chosen another path. He then recounted how Gary had mentored him when he was starting out and how influential he had been in his career and his life. Further, he went on to tell me that he had made a “Gary wine” two prior vintages ago, but that it didn’t “fit” with his current winery’s style. To me, Todd seemed almost confused as to why he made the wine in the first place. When we tried the wine, I was so amazed at how similar, stylistically, it was to Gypsy Dancer and how different it was from Biggio Hamina, Todd’s winery. Moreover, it was with such passion that Todd told me how he had made the wine, in Gary’s style that struck me as meaningful.
When I left his winery, I realized what direction I wanted to go with Gypsy Dancer, how I was going to tie the past to the future. I realized that I needed two wines going forward. One, Gypsy Dancer Legacy which would help the girls and I to celebrate Gary and our lives together going forward, and a second, Gypsy Dancer Tribute, made by his fellow winemakers, people who were touched and influenced by Gary made in tribute to his contribution and style in the wine business.