Prince Michel wines have obtained internationally acclaimed status due in part to the efforts of Winemaker Brad Hansen. Brad began his agricultural career with a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Marshall University. Following his undergraduate training, he worked with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Fruit Pathology Division in Maryland. While there, he directed research in grape diseases.
Brad then met Dr. Richard Vine, a renowned author and professor of Enology at Mississippi State University. In 1986, he left the USDA to study winemaking under Dr. Vine’s direction. As part of his graduate study, he apprenticed with both Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia Crest wineries in his home state of Washington. Immediately upon earning a Master’s degree in Enology in 1990, Brad accepted a position as Assistant Winemaker at Chateau Elan in Georgia. Promoted to Winemaker in 1992, Brad was later made Director of Winery and Vineyard Operations. While at Chateau Elan, Brad’s wines received over 250 awards.
Looking for a new challenge, Brad accepted the position of Assistant Winemaker for Prince Michel Vineyards in 1999. In just over a year he was promoted to Winemaker. Under his guidance, Prince Michel wines are now internationally recognized and have won over 400 awards.
In 2002, Brad was instrumental in developing a plan that focused on fostering relationships with many of Virginia’s premier family vineyards. His vision for Prince Michel has expanded their line of wines to include unique varietals and a boutique style series called Vineyard Designates. These wines showcase exceptional Virginia vineyards and emphasize the crucial relationship between excellent winemaking craftsmanship and vineyard microclimates.
Brad emphasizes the consistent quality of Prince Michel wines and credits this success to excellent ownership and the best grapes we can either grow or obtain from superior sources. “I have the opportunity to hand craft wines from the best grapes Virginia has to offer. I also have at my disposal the highest quality barrels available from around the world and the most technically advanced machinery in the industry.”
Brad is also a member of the American Wine Society and the American Society of Enology and Viticulture. He is a sought after judge at International Wine Competitions and consultant for winery design and production.