Winemaker, North American Wines, Blend Poet
A highly accomplished and passionate winemaker, Richard applies his sophisticated intellect to everything he does. In college, he learned German just to meet girls. To party with his friends, he made wine. That brainy approach to having fun eventually landed him in the wine business. After earning his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Oregon, he moved to Germany for a 3-year apprenticeship, and completed his dual Master's degrees in Viticulture and Enology from Germany's famed Institute of Winemaking in Geisenheim. He then moved back to the States and established his own winery, Callahan Ridge, in Oregon. Driven to expand his knowledge and extend his mastery, he moved to Napa, where he honed his skills as Winemaker at well-respected wineries such as Stags' Leap Winery, Palmaz Vineyards and the Bradford Mountain Winery. He joined WX in 2008 and his experience and depth of knowledge made an instant impact on the team. He has a deep commitment to quality and an exceptional ability for creating innovative blends that bring forward the best in each varietal. Away from work, Mansfield spends time with his wife Leslie at their home in St. Helena.
Washington - United States
Washington State may seem like an unlikely place to grow wine when you think of rainy Seattle. However, a majority of the grape production takes place on the eastern side of the state. While other wine regions at this latitude deal with adverse weather during spring and fall, Eastern Washington sits in the rain shadow of the massive Cascade Mountains. This towering mountain range runs north to south and essentially blocks the clouds from the Pacific, creating a desert-like climate to the east. The northern latitude provides the benefit of longer days—often two hours longer than those in Napa Valley—and warm, but not excessively hot, temperatures throughout the summer. This combination of extended light and warmth develops lush, ripe flavors in the heat-loving varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. At night, the temperatures drop by as much as 50°F and enable the vines to shut down and rest, preserving a nice balancing acidity. Soils consist of sandy-loam layered on top of gravel and basalt that force vines to send roots deep. This lack of moisture combined with sandy soils minimizes pests, and Washington is one of the few wine regions in the world to not have to contend with phylloxera or vine grafting. Although it is subtle, some say these vines give a purer expression of the varietal.