Ever think about taking your hobby to the next level and selling your wine commercially? Lots of WineMaker readers (56%) say they’ve thought about making the jump to professional winemaker. Find out what it is really like from three pros who understand first-hand the steps, hurdles and rewards that come with the decision to open a commercial winery.
Michael Muscardini started his new winery Muscardi Cellars in the Sonoma Valley with his first crush in 2005. After being an avid amateur winemaker and taking winemaking classes through University of California at Davis and Sonoma State University he made the jump up to turning professional. His wines, including Sangiovese, Syrah and a Super Tuscan-style blend, have already won awards.
Daniel Pambianchi is the General Manager of Maleta Estate Winery in Ontario and was recently awarded the Ontario “Wine of the Year” trophy for his oak-aged Vidal icewine. Many hobby winemakers are very familiar with his popular book “Techniques in Home Winemaking” as well as his “Techniques” column in every issue of WineMaker. Daniel also serves as the magazine’s Technical Editor reviewing all articles for accuracy. During the 2008 conference, Daniel covered “Barrel Use and Maintenance” and “MLF Comparison: Show & Taste” as well as sitting in on the panel discussion “Going Pro Roundtable”. All are available for sale as recordings.
Jeff Ritchey is a Partner and Winemaker in two wineries, Sensorium and Blue Cellars, as well as serving as a winemaking consultant in the Central Coast and Napa Valley areas of California. In the last 14 years, he has helped start three different wineries and participated in the design and construction of two winemaking facilities. Currently he is working with five different clients to help them create small lots of fine wine.