Stephen BarnardPam Riley
Stephen is currently the Winemaker and Vineyard Manager for Keswick Vineyards located just outside of Charlottesville Virginia.
Born and raised in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa, surrounded by the Constantia vines and estates that were established in 1685. It was at Groot Constantia [the oldest winery in South Africa] where he is love for all things wine was cultivated in 1995. After completion of his studies of Enology and Viticulture at Elsenburg Agricultural College and further stints at Morgenhof and Flagstone wineries, Stephen came to the United States via The Ohio State Internship Program.
The plan at that stage was to gain experience in Virginia and take up a contract in the Colchagua Valley of Chile. As fortune would have it, Stephen met his future wife Kathy who had just moved to Virginia to pursue her PhD at UVA. They married in August of 2009 with the ceremony taking place at Keswick Vineyards, still the best decision he ever made says Stephen.
After a two year stint at Keswick Vineyards, he took a position with Rappahannock Cellars as their winemaker and won the first of his three Governors Cups with his 2005 Viognier Estate Reserve, made entirely with fruit purchased from Keswick. A return to Keswick was always the likely outcome and in 2006, Stephen returned to Keswick as Winemaker and General Manager, a position he held until 2012 when he asked to take control over the vineyard and relinquished the GM position.
His approach to wine is fairly simple; hands on in the vineyard and hands off in the winery. It is this simple yet fundamental approach that has helped Keswick Vineyards gain a reputation as one of the finest wine producing estates in Virginia. Named as one of the top 100 influential winemakers in the USA by into wine and having received multiple 90 points scores by Robert Parkers Wine Advocate; Stephen is quick to point to the efforts of those around him, namely his incredible team of assistants.
While proud of his accomplishments as a winemaker he is still a family man first and foremost, citing his daughter Aria as the best thing he has and will ever make. Calling Virginia home since 2002 Stephen is excited to be part of a dynamic wine industry that is continually growing and making world class wines.