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It is with great sadness that we announce our Director of Winemaking Raphaël Brisbois' passing. A beloved and essential part of the Rack & Riddle family, Raphaël possessed an unparalleled talent and dedication to creating superior sparkling wines. A native of France, Raphaël brought passion, wit and joie de vivre to each project he touched.
Raphaël received his master’s degree in viticulture and enology from École Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomie in Montpellier, France, and went on to specialize in sparkling wines. He led both sparkling and still winemaking operations around the world on four continents, from Champagne Piper in Reims, France, to consulting at wineries in Chile, Nova Scotia and beyond.
Prior to settling in California in 1987 to work for Iron Horse Vineyards and Rémy Cointreau, Raphaël spearheaded the first sparkling wine operation in India to be made by méthode champenoise, a labor-intensive approach involving fermentation in the bottle.
“It’s an adventure and a challenge to be part of a big operation like this,” said Raphaël, who was the first client winemaker of the seven-year-old Rack & Riddle facility. Having known founders Rebecca Faust and Bruce Lundquist for 16 years, Raphaël was not only a valued colleague, but also a dearly loved friend. During his time here, Raphaël led all fruit sourcing and the production of client wines and Rack & Riddle's brand wines. Through happy memories and superb wines, Raphaël's legacy will not be forgotten.