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Wonderwerk: House of Fermentation
is Issamu Kamide and Andrew Lardy, two high school friends from Virginia seeking new directions in fermentation. Since their inception they've worked with amazing farmers and vineyards from all over California to make wines that everyone can wavelength with. Issamu and Andrew produce and bottle with their own hands and feet. Every bottle begins as a concept - a look, a feel, an occasion, a vibe - that range from low-intervention to high-innovation production methods in the cellar. Wonderwerk began as a long night on a disco dancefloor that finally wound down and they didn’t want the party to end. Now, it’s flowed from there into the wines you see and drink today.

The grapes come from different vineyards around California, selected by the duo based on their respectful cultivation: “We seek responsibly farmed fruit that provides us with unique character in the winery. Sometimes we go looking for a particular profile or varietal, sometimes the site finds us. Most of our vineyards use organic practices and are pursuing certification, sustainable farming is a minimum requirement,” they assert. In the cellar, Wonderwerk is about inclusivity and the freedom to explore new directions in fermentation – “bringing our desire to twist, turn, and tweak flavours and ideas into something enjoyable for everyone”, Issamu describes the philosophy behind their co-fermented wines and piquette, all made without fining or filtration, with just a bit of sulfur at bottling.

The name “Wonderwerk” actually reflects on this experimental, avant-garde spirit as well – it originates from a cave in South Africa that is believed to have the earliest sign of human cooking – a million-year-old hearth – where humans manipulated nature for enjoyment as much as sustenance. The guys both currently still work full-time, fermentation-related gigs while running Wonderwerk: Andrew is the Head Distiller at the Spirit Guild Distillery in downtown Los Angeles, immersed in botanicals and aromatics day and night, and Issamu does marketing and product innovation for a major kombucha brand.

Wonderwerk stands out also for their colorful, eye-catching labels: “We wouldn’t be anywhere without our friends Anton Goddard and Lana Shahmoradian who design all of our branding and label artwork, as well as the slew of other friends who lend their creative energy to making some of our more absurd and visual ideas come true,” Issamu acknowledges. “It’s true that you “drink with your eyes first” and so we’ve always wanted to create wines that jump out at you, grab your attention and make you go “what is this all about…?” 

Come along for the ride, bring your dancing shoes and an open mind, I promise their wines won’t disappoint.

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