Wineries often make a choice whether to attend wine festivals or not. One winery that does attend wine festivals is Perrine Winery from College Station. Rick Leopold is the co-owner and winemaker for the winery and is always a fun staple when visiting wine festivals. Love that Zombie Walk wine! We are proud to feature the winemaker behind those wines, Rick Leopold!
1. What did you do before becoming a winemaker (if anything)?
I was an agronomist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
2. What is the toughest challenge about being a winemaker in Texas?
The greatest challenge is to make consistently good wines at an affordable price.
3. Is winemaking an art or a science or both?
It is definitely both, but at Perrine Winery we treat it more as an art. We do very little lab work and rely mostly on my wife Beth’s tasting ability. Our goal is to balance the taste of the wine with the oak on our varietal selections, and to make our fruit infused wines taste like the fruits they are infused with.
4. What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
I am pretty basic when it comes to food and wine pairing. I like to pair wines with various cheeses and dried sausage. Throw in some bread and I believe I could live on that. I also like our red dessert wines paired with dark chocolate.
5. If you didn’t make wine, what would you do?
We would travel the world enjoying wine. The Perrine family came to North America from France, so we definitely would tour France. I like Italian and Spanish reds, so those are on the list too.
6. What first attracted you to winemaking and how long have you been doing it?
I grew up in NE Ohio and had wineries in my hometown. I went to wineries a lot when I was a kid and always talked with the winemakers. I was fascinated by the whole process. I worked in vineyards a bit there as well.
7. What is the most common question you are asked as a winemaker?
People ask, what kind of barrels do you use? My answer surprises many because we don’t use barrels. All of our award-winning wine, except for the bourbon barrel aged wine, are made using French and/or American chips added to the tank during fermentation and aging.
8. After a long day in the winery or vineyard, what do you do?
I like to sit on the patio at home, smoke my pipe, and have a glass of wine or perhaps sip some bourbon.
9. What’s the greatest part about being a winemaker?
Creating wines that folks like and chatting about wines when folks visit the tasting room. If not for the interaction with people, making wine would just be work. People make it fun.
10. What is your winemaking philosophy, that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?
We strive to make smooth easy drinking wine that can be enjoyed for any occasion.
11. Anything else you would like to add? We thank all our fans for sticking with us through these tough times.