A Q+A with Andrea Hillsey

Owner of Square Wine Company
By Corey Dane
Photos by Josh Witzel

Wine and Cheese Taste for a Cure | June 11 | Square Wine Company | 6-8 p.m.

Join BRAVA Publisher Michelle Reddington for a delectable fundraiser to raise money for JDRF. Reddington will pedal her bike100 miles in Death Valley this year to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Come taste California wines with Square Wine Company owner Andrea Hillsey. Pairings include wild-morel-and-leek jack and chipotle cheddar from Meister Cheese Company. There is a suggested $20 donation at the door for the tasting, plus you’ll have a chance to win fabulous raffle prizes.

Q: What are some of the most stellar things you’ve sipped this year?

A: I’ve been impressed by sherries imported by De Maison and European Cellars, Bereche and Tarlant Champagnes, the 2013 Arnot-Roberts, Trout Gulch Vineyard Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz mountains and anything from Clos Rougeard. (It’s also common knowledge that I adore Burgundy, Austrian Riesling, Piedmont reds and anything Arianna Occhipinti or Elisabetta Foradori.)

Q: Does Price Matter?

A: We have wines for less than $15 and they are perfectly serviceable, but Eric Asimov, The New York Times’ wine writer, believes $20 is the magic price. Spending more money doesn’t always mean the wine will be better, but I try to carry wines that justify the increase in price because of appellation, production numbers and vine age. In my opinion, to get an honestly made wine, you’ll spend $15 to $30.

Q: What are you most excited to imbibe this season?

A: I get embarrassingly excited about rose season because they are one of the few wines I can afford to drink on a regular basis. They are the freshest wines on the planet, a great way to taste high-end producers at a much more affordable price point and extremely food friendly because you get the acidity of white wine with a texture you find in many lighter reds.

Q: What are your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?

A: For me, the most stressful time was getting all of our ducks in a row upon opening. We didn’t open the shop with a ton of money, so coordinating the timing of when our lease began with the many license approvals needed was the most difficult. I didn’t want to be wasting money paying for a space that we weren’t licensed to sell wine in. Now, the biggest challenge is in finding a work-life balance. I always wanted a career that didn’t feel like work and I think I have achieved that, but the same way it never feels like work can make it always feel like work. There is no punching a clock, my mind is always racing with new, fresh ideas for tastings, dinners and just general ways to improve what we are doing.

Hillsey offers Friday night and Saturday afternoon tastings. 5 N. Pinckney St., Madison. (608) 819-6191. squarewineco.com.

Check out p. 70 of BRAVA Magazine’s May edition for more on Andrea Hillsey and her Square Wine Company.

Written By
More from BRAVA
Not long after Jen Roman joined the Madison Fire Department, she had...
Read More
0 replies on “A Q+A with Andrea Hillsey”