Born from a leap of faith by founder and alchemist Andy Wahl, Ammunition Wines & Whiskey is a brand with a new story to tell.
For founder and alchemist of Ammunition Wines & Whiskey Andy Wahl, there is “truly nothing better than a big glass of pinot noir or a nightcap with a bourbon neat.” That classic enjoyment of fine wines and whiskeys is what drew Andy Wahl to the vineyards of Sonoma County, California to discover the vibrant world of wine culture.
But a natural instinct toward a good drink is something that Andy has always had. “My mother’s Irish heritage always usually ended up with a neat pour of Tullamore Dew,” he says. “In fact, when I turned 21, I went to an old dive bar in San Luis Obispo and ordered an old fashioned. The bartender looked at me like I was crazy then asked, ‘what are you, a grandpa?’”
After being influenced by his mother’s Irish heritage and growing up in the hub of culinary creativity that is Sonoma County, California, Wahl dove headfirst into his own wine and whiskey label, working under some of the greatest minds in the wine region to develop his own unique brand that answers the age-old question: Why do killer wines need to be so expensive?
While wine was the initial driver of Andy Wahl’s passion, it wasn’t long before whiskey became another fascination of his. “We started with Ammunition Wine in 2014,” Wahl says. “At a wine dinner in Huntsville, Alabama, one of the attendees was a former general in the U.S. army in charge of ammunition. I found myself at the bar post-dinner with a lot of the attendees drinking whiskey. I thought this core group of people that loves our wines so much could also be huge Ammunition whiskey buyers.”
Andy, along with his business partner and co-founder Bill Kerr, began Ammunition Wines & Whiskey as a leap of faith, buying a few tons of grapes to create their first vintage of 400 cases in 2014. However, for Andy, it was never just about the product. He wanted to tell a new story. Particularly, he wanted to shine a light on the true heroes of the industry — the agricultural workers.
“Our Ammunition story is about the farmers and growers that help provide the backbone of any great product from grapes in the vineyard to the grains in the field,” he says. “Grapes and grains are our ammunition to make great wines and whiskey. This story is one that resonates with every American across the country.”
An appreciation for the farmers and growers that supply Ammunition Wines and Whiskey’s key ingredients mixed with a taste for discovery has led to some wonderful products that have achieved some huge milestones for Andy.
“For years I have wanted to get our product in a favorite hotel of mine, the Watergate in D.C.,” he says. “Turns out that the owner of the hotel grabbed our rye whiskey and drank nearly the entire bottle on his plane later that week. He called and said we have to carry this Ammunition whiskey at the hotel.”
While no one can resist a great wine and food pairing, Andy and his co-founder Bill are reaching for the stars. “To be frank, I really do think that truly great wines and whiskies are not something that people believe to be paired, but rather something you savor independently,” he says. “I aim to make our wines versatile enough and our whiskies smooth enough to stand up with most cuisines.” It’s that versatility that keeps people coming back to Ammunition Wines & Whiskey to become a part of the family.