There is no such thing as “business as usual” in the life of our winemaker, Richard Carmichael. So, what’s a typical day for him? That depends on the season. As June and July ease us into the dog days of summer, his focus is on the vines and bottling blends for two chardonnays and two reds. “It’s kind of a grab bag of things between the vineyard and cellar,” he says.
Richard caught the winemaking bug at a winemaker’s conference and quickly packed his bags and headed for the West Coast to learn firsthand. His experience has taught him that winemaking is neither an art nor a science, but a craft. “I don’t know if anyone can ever master this craft,” he says, but with seasons of practice under his belt, he’s well on his way.
When a degree in oeneology (yes, there’s a degree for winemaking!) from California State University harmonized with a few years of West Coast winemaking and a growing passion, the conditions were right to venture back East. He started growing and producing estate grown wines at Greenvale in 1997. “I joined Greenvale for the opportunity to work in the vineyards and in the winery which allowed me to see the grapes from the beginning to when in the bottle and being poured,” he says. Greenvale was ripe for Richard to test his talent against Newport County’s taste buds. Fifteen fruitful years later, it’s safe to say he’s passed the test!
Richard won’t admit to a favorite Greenvale wine, but reveals his all-time favorite type to make: red. “It’s a lot more hands on,” he says. “You can see the transformation as it ferments.” And when he’s not on the clock, Richard has got his nose in a good book, and his mind on next season. It’s what keeps him going, and he says, “I’m always looking forward to the next vintage. Last year was a trying time, and we said, well, next year will be better. You never know what’s coming up!”