After a 45-year career – 13 as Winemaker/GM at Bouchaine Vineyards in The Carneros – Michael Richmond will be retiring. Replacing Richmond, Bouchaine owners Gerret & Tatiana Copeland have appointed Chris Kajani as the winery’s new winemaker and general manager.
Chris Kajani represents the next generation for Bouchaine, which was founded in 1981 – and the next phase of Bouchaine’s history. “Chris was chosen for her love of Carneros and of Pinot Noir,” and “fits perfectly” into what Gerret Copeland says reflectively is a “continuing quest to find the perfect Pinot Noir, the Holy Grail,” for Bouchaine. Adds Tatiana Copeland, “We’re extraordinarily excited that the next winemaker at Bouchaine is a woman.”
The appointment marks the beginning of major restructuring for Bouchaine. Plans are on board for a new hospitality center and tasting room, and a renovation of the winery.
During his illustrious career, the 69-year-old Richmond, who co-founded Acacia Winery (also in The Carneros), joined Bouchaine in 2002. His time in The Carneros was spent as a champion of the region’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Of Pinot Noir, Richmond believes, “(It is) ever the capricious and precocious child, rewards humility and patience. Harvest each unique vineyard with your best intuition, protect the wine from evil, allow it to express itself with a minimum of interference, trust in providence.”
Kajani, 44, has been with Saintsbury winery – also in The Carneros – since 2006, and was promoted to winemaker there in 2013. Kajani was previously at the Napa Valley winery Pahlmeyer. Chris has a 5-year-old son Nico. Her husband Alex also works in the wine industry.
“Carneros has been my home for almost nine years, and holds a special place in my heart,” Kajani commented. “I’m thrilled to join Bouchaine, a pioneering winery in Carneros, and continue to focus on quality winegrowing. I’m excited to work with its team and extraordinary estate vineyards. This estate has such a rich history, and I look forward to continuing to build on the legacy of Mike Richmond and executing the Copelands’ vision for the future.”
Bouchaine Vineyards (www.bouchaine.com) 1075 Buchli Station Rd., Napa, CA 94559