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Behind the Barrel: A Winemaker’s Journey

Apothic Winemaker Ashley
Ashleigh “Ash” Ricchio

In the world of winemaking, Ashleigh “Ash” Ricchio blends time-tested tradition with a flair for innovation, culminating in a unique and captivating approach.

Ashleigh’s journey to Apothic was sparked unexpectedly by a visit to Hunter Valley, Australia, where she first discovered winemaking. "That was my first interaction with winemakers. I learned from them how wine is a beautiful relationship between art and science.”

Ashleigh joined Apothic in 2019, where she found a team united by their passion and energy in creating Apothic Red. "Within my first few days on the team, I was blending and learning and creating,” she recalls. The experience was transformative, not just in her personal growth but in seeing the collaborative spirit it fostered within the team. “From our vineyard teams hunting for the right vineyards, to our cellar teams paying extra attention to detail while blending and bottling it for the first time ...the excitement that radiated in the winery was unmatched to anything I had ever worked on before.”

This collaborative spirit is a cornerstone of Ashleigh’s approach to winemaking, driving the team to explore new techniques, varietals, and processes. "While tradition is important, innovation is even more important to us as a team," she asserts. Ashleigh and her team, harnessing a range of perspectives and experiences, are dedicated to their unyielding pursuit of excellence. “We are constantly looking at what we can do to keep our consumers excited and pushing ourselves to try new things.”

Ashleigh honed her craft under the tutelage of Apothic’s previous head winemaker, Debbie “DJ” Juergenson, drawing knowledge and inspiration from her in equal measure. "I am so lucky I had the opportunity to learn everything I know from Deb. I feel fortunate to continue the legacy she started."

Carrying forward this mentorship ethos, Ashleigh's leadership style is marked by nurturing growth and self-assurance among her team members. “If I am mentoring someone, it is important for me to not tell them exactly how to do things, but to give them an idea on how to learn or build the confidence to challenge themselves to come up with their own ideas.”

Central toAshleigh’s approach to winemaking is her belief that wine is more than just a drink — it’s a way to connect over shared experiences. "The hope for Apothic Red when it was launched as the first blend in the Apothic portfolio was to make a wine that everyone could enjoy.” This vision reflects her conviction that each bottle of wine offers an invitation to share in its unique story. When it comes to varietals, Ashleigh looks for what will complement each wine best. “I want to showcase what’s known about the varietal but try and make the mouthfeel approachable,” she explains.

When asked which is her current favorite, Ashleigh affectionately describes the "jammy cherry and raspberry, with hints of caramel, brown spice, and vanilla” of Apothic Pinot Noir. “My secret to blending the Pinot Noir is the Graciano, a Spanish varietal that we use as a “backblender.” She goes on to explain how the Graciano works its magic, “It has incredible notes of dark raspberry with some floral character that really pushes that jammy cherry.”

From the vineyards that are "the starting point" of every bottle to her belief that every Apothic blend and varietal ensures "a different, unique experience," Ashleigh’s story is a true testament to the art and science of winemaking.

Try Ashleigh’s Favorite

A flavorful Pinot Noir with rich, smooth layers of dark fruit character and an intriguingly lighter-bodied style. Apothic Pinot Noir offers notes of ripe raspberry and black cherry, with a touch of caramel and vanilla from the oak.