Rick Hutchinson of Amphora Wines has been crafting and creating wines for over 35 years and his expertise hinges not only on his experience, but his passion and creativity. He is comfortable living in his “right brain” without the pressure to conform to anyone else’s standards or rules. This self knowledge and ease has allowed him to pursue his interests and business in an organic way.
Growing up in a large family (he is number 8 out of 9 kids), he learned the necessity and value of hard work and that got him noticed in the early days at Sebastiani. Beginning with mopping floors and being the general gopher, his duties evolved into assisting during harvest and wine making. Winemaking, he says reminded him of home smells, “Mom was always canning fruit, and she did a lot of canning and preserving”.
He started Amphora Winery in 1997 when he had an epiphany about his retirement plan. “I don’t plan on retiring”. Motivated by experimentation and his studies on grape varietals, Rick’s wines are alive. He describes himself as a “left handed, right brained, artist, musician” who’s work is his art and his art is his work. He is also the potter behind the beautiful Amphorae illustrating the labels of his wines.
The wines themselves are rich, complex, bold and full of flavor. They are not the soulless, thin, two dimensional, chemistry experiments that categorize many of the mass produced wines on the market today. He believes in the individual character and personality of the grape, small production and commitment to creating an insanely good wine.
His focus has been, primarily, on Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blends) and Chardonnay. In 2008 he branched out to Mourvèdre, Teraldego, Grenache, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet and the list of varietals continues to grow. He states that “everything you do to the wine affects the outcome of the final product, starting with the growing, treatment and handling of the grapes”. He believes that great wines are balanced and readily drinkable yet stand up to cellaring.
Rick works in tandem with equally committed and passionate farmers to nurture the best grapes from proven vineyards, and then works with that fruit to create perfectly balanced wines that reflect their varietal and vineyard.
Now his Amphora wines are earning medals and he continues to create the arts of his work.