In 1990, Michael moved to France where he enrolled in the Lycée Viticole de Beaune in Burgundy to study oenology and viticulture. Here, he was privileged to study under the guidance of Burgundy's noted professors and winemakers, working two vintages at the esteemed Maison Chartron et Trebuchet in Puligny Montrachet.
In 1995, Michael moved to Virginia to work at Jefferson Vineyards as head winemaker and general manager, where he quickly accumulated numerous awards and acquired a reputation as one of Virginia’s up-and-coming winemakers. After six vintages, Michael ventured out on his own and began producing wine under the now highly regarded “Michael Shaps” label. He initially partnered with King Family Vineyards, where he helped launch their brand as well as his own.
In 2004, he partnered with his old mentor and head winemaker at Maison Chartron et Trebuchet and together they opened a winery and rental house in Meursault, France, one of Burgundy’s most renowned winemaking villages.
After seven vintages at King Family, Michael found a new home for his brand when he and a partner opened Virginia Wineworks in 2007. This multi-faceted operation is both the home of the Michael Shaps brand and Virginia’s first and largest contract winemaking operation, more commonly known as custom crush. In 2014 Michael bought out his partner, and with investors expanded Wineworks into an operation that approaches 30,000 cases of annual wine production, including over a dozen contract winemaking clients. The winery is now marketed as Michael Shaps Wineworks, and is growing exponentially.
In 2018, Michael purchased the historic Shenandoah Vineyards and began making wine under the Shenandoah Vineyards label.
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