September 10, 2011–A woman leaned in across the tasting bar and hesitantly whispered, “Is it okay to ask what happened to Richard?” I had just introduced myself as the new owner of Silver Thread Vineyard and poured her first two samples of wine. “Of course,” I replied, “he’d be happy to know you asked!”
Paul and I took over operations at Silver Thread on September 1, 2011, from founder Richard Figiel after a long transition that began in January 2010. Richard was ready to retire from winegrowing after 30 years of intense efforts. He yearned to return to writing and publishing, his original career, and spend more time with his family. He has already commenced researching an expanded and updated history of the New York wine industry, which will be published through Cornell University Press. Richard previously self-published Culture in a Glass: Reflections on the Rich Heritage of Finger Lakes Wine, in 1995. That excellent book is offered for sale in our tasting room.
Richard has agreed to assist us during our first year at Silver Thread, and has already returned to help with bottling the 2010 wines, picking the 2011 grapes, and tractor-driving lessons for me. We wish him the best and promise to carry on his tradition of sustainably grown wines. We will make you happy you chose us to carry on the Silver Thread legacy.