Staff Profile: Brian Schopfer, Farm Manager at Greenvale Vineyards

Brian Schopfer joined the Greenvale Vineyards team in 2001. He started in the tasting room where he offered visitors wine tastings and giving vineyard tours. After a brief absence for a sailing trip (with his future wife, Aynsley!) he returned to us in 2003 as the Farm Manager. He does landscape and building management projects on our historic farm as well as his own unique woodworking projects made from fallen trees on the farm. Check out his handmade furniture, cutting boards and more.

While Brian’s main responsibilities include looking after the three important structures at Greenvale Vineyards, he has also been known to help with the harvest, offer wine pairing recommendations to visitors, and deliver friendly belly-rubs to the vineyard dogs. We asked him some questions about his experience at Greenvale.

What’s the best thing about working at Greenvale?
The best thing about working at Greenvale is working in such a beautiful environment every day. Whether it’s sunny, foggy, raining or snowing it is always beautiful out here. It’s also a real honor to work with such a wonderful group of people.

Tell us something people might find surprising about life on a vineyard.
I think the thing that would probably most surprise people is how much work there is to do year-round. Its We only get one shot with the grapes every year so there is an extraordinary amount of care that goes into taking care of each vine all through the year.

Has working at a vineyard changed your influenced your views on small farms?
Working on a small farm has turned me into much more of a locavore. There are lots of small farms producing healthy delicious food for us to enjoy while preserving the landscapes we all love. Small farms improve our communities and, by leaving a smaller carbon footprint, help our world too. What’s not to love?

What’s your typical day like?
I typically start my working day meeting with our wine maker, Richard, and our vineyard manager, Hever. We discuss the weather, how the vineyards are doing, equipment issues we may have and just about everything from politics and football. We also line each other up to help with projects for the day if someone needs a hand.

My tasks vary from day to day, which is one of the things I love about the job. I often have a larger project that I am picking away at while still trying to keep up with the maintenance. I get to spend a lot of time outside.

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about Greenvale Vineyards?
The one thing I would want people to know about Greenvale is that this farm has been in the same family for over 150 years. It’s a rarity and a gift to have such a beautiful piece of land remain whole after all that time. It’s a real credit to the Parker and Wilson family.

What drew you to Greenvale?
I came here to apply for a part time job in the tasting room in January 2001. Once I got to know the land and people I recognized how special this place is. An ongoing joke is that once people come here they never really leave. It’s great to see someone who hasn’t worked here in years coming in to help out when we need it.

You live in the main house on the Greenvale property. What’s it like to live in the same place you work?
Living at the same place I work is, for the most part, great. I have two young sons and a beautiful wife who I get to spend more time with than a lot of working fathers. I love that they get to see what I do and often times hang out with me while I’m working. We get to enjoy this place every day of the year which is a real gift for all of us. Obviously there are some days where I can’t get a free moment and it seems like everything is breaking at once but I imagine, I’m not the only one who feels that way in their jobs from time to time.

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