Vineyard Manager and Winemaker – The Life of Rachel Lipman

1st September 2023

Vineyard Manager and Winemaker The Life of Rachel LIpman

Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the dedicated skills of a Winemaker and the nurtured touch of a Vineyard Manager, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations, this series of Industry Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.

In this article we speak with Rachel Lipman, an amazing Winemaker and Vineyard Manager in Maryland, United States, let’s discover a little about her time in the Wine Industry.

Tell Us About Yourself

“My name is Rachel Lipman and I am a fifth generation winemaker and meadmaker for my family’s winery and vineyard, Loew Vineyards which is located in Mt. AIry, Maryland. My role at my family’s winery continues a long and complicated history and legacy that dates back to the mid 1800s in mead production in Poland. My grandparents started the winery and vineyard here in Maryland as a tribute to my grandfather’s family history. By the start of WWII, all of the family meaderies (honey wineries) were destroyed–as well as the people. My grandfather was a Holocaust Survivor. So, not only am I a winemaker, I am also a 3G (a grandchild of a Holocaust Survivor). Most of what I do revolves around wine and mead and the Holocaust.”

How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?

“I basically grew up in the industry. My family spent a lot of time visiting my grandparents at the vineyard and helping out during festivals. I used to think that wine festivals were family reunions growing up because all of my family would volunteer, and it felt like a big collaborative event with music, great food, and just a happy energy. I would also sleep over at my grandparents’ house at the vineyard the night before holidays helping my grandmother prepare for family to come. My grandfather would often bring me down to the winery to teach me something. I learned chromatography probably at the age of 12 or 14. I loved spending time at the winery with my grandfather. Over time, that interest evolved once I learned I could have a career as a winemaker. From then on, it was important to me that I learn every aspect of the industry. Beyond my University degrees and winemaking certification, I worked in retail beer and wine stores, in pathology labs, an organic vineyard in the Loire Valley, as a distributor, traveled to wineries all over the world, and of course worked for and alongside my grandfather.”

As The Vineyard Manager, What Challenges Do You Find Yourself Facing Each Year?

“When you work for and run a winery, or any small business for that matter, you wear multiple hats. For a winery and vineyard, you have to basically operate three businesses in one. So, as one can assume, it is hard to manage the growing season and winery operations. I am the sole full-time employee. We do have help and part-time staff, but it can be hard to prioritize time. Mother nature is unpredictable. So, late frosts and excess rain can be given challenges for grape growing on the east coast.”

What Is The Most Exciting Part Of Managing Your Own Vineyard?

“The winery and vineyard owned by my grandparents, well, now my grandmother. Managing the vineyard is exciting and nerve-wracking during budbreak. I love seeing the new growth. It is one of the only “romantic” aspects that this job has. There’s always something so beautiful seeing new growth emerge when the shoots are just a couple of inches tall. It’s promise.”

As A Winemaker, What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine?

“I’ve been making wine for over 10 years. I think that there are still new challenges that arise each year. But, if you have confidence, really, most problems in a winery are preventable and can be figured out. I think at this point, the biggest obstacle I have is time. There’s only so much time in the week to get tasks done and only so much of that time can be dedicated to one specific task. So, in my perspective, it isn’t the actual making of the wine that is difficult, it’s the other aspects of the business that can take away from the time I would like to spend in the winery.”

What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?

“I love harvest. I think any winemaker would say that. Harvest is high intensity and high energy. It’s quick thinking and chemistry. I played a lot of sports growing up and harvest provides me that same feeling when you walk onto a field before one of the most important games of the season. I get that feeling everyday during harvest. I have to say, one of my favorite products to make are meads. When we make mead, the winery is engulfed with the incredible aroma of heating honey. It’s a sticky process, but it’s always so fun.”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“My first memorable moment drinking sparkling was in France. The winemaker I worked for in Saumur hosted a Cavist (wine purveyor) one evening and invited his friend, Francois, who brought a bunch of his wines to show. That was my first introduction to dry sparkling red wine. It was a sparkling Cabernet Franc. It was medium bodied, full of concentration with notes of plum, raspberries, game, and black pepper. Red sparkling wines in my perspective are entirely underrated.”

Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Rachel Lipman. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.