MEET THE WINEMAKER:
RICHARD ADAMEK, VIVAT ALFA WINERY
- Richard Adamek, Vivat Alfa Winery
Why did you decide to have your winery in Bucks County?
My wife, Mirka, and I were looking for the right place to start our winery. Originally, we were looking at upstate NY, the Lehigh Valley, King of Prussia - you name it. After 2 years we found a neglected farm in Doylestown. It had everything we wanted. Location, slope, sun exposure, barn and a 1750 farm house.
What is your winemaking process like?
Our winemaking process starts in the vineyard, that's where you actually make wine. If you don't grow high quality grapes, you won't have high quality wine. Very simple. We pick everything by hand and bring it to the cellar. We’re close to nature as much as possible.
- Wine and Cheese tray
- Vivat Alfa Winery
How did you get into the winemaking business?
In 1990 I entered a very unique winemaking school in Slovakia. I was 14. The school was established in 1884 and has been raising young winemakers ever since. Main subjects obviously are vineyard management and enology/the winemaking process. It takes 4 years of intensive training in the vineyards and wine cellars. Besides the strict biology and chemistry course, each year you go away for a week to a different part of Europe and do tastings at 10 wineries a day. (Yes, at age 16 we were tasting/judging 100 samples a day!). You work hard, have your goal and you become a winemaker.
In 1994 I was hired by one of the biggest wine factories in Europe: Vino Nitra. Their annual capacity is 10 million gallons. What an experience! You filter wine worth $1 million a week. It was a lot of tastings, judging, understanding, learning – overall becoming a well-tuned instrument.
In 1997 I came to the United States. I worked as a winemaker and vineyard manager for 8 years. In 2005 I left and started a trucking company. It was the only path that I saw at that time to make real money, enough to start a dream. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I worked with wine for 30 years. I didn't start this winery as a hobby with a lot of money!
What are some of your favorite places in Bucks County?
Our favorite place is obviously our winery, where we make people happy and it makes us happy!
- Richard and Mirka, Vivat Alfa Winery
What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
I pair a bottle of wine with nothing. Our old winemasters taught us to never get distracted with any other flavors. If you really want to understand the depth of the sample. Even your mood has to be perfect to fully concentrate. “De gustibus non est disputandum” - about tastes, it should not be disputed nor discussed.
What do you hope to see the vineyard doing in the future?
My son Richie and I entered a one-year beekeeping program. We would like to start our own apiary, have our own honey products and eventually expand our tasting menu with mead wine.