Meet the Team

  • Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery Owner, Kristin S. Easter

    Kristin S. Easter

    I have to say that we’re all pretty happy here at Prince Michel, however, there are days when there’s a little bit more pep in our steps.  The giggles are a little bit more frequent, and there’s just an energy about the winery----that’s Kristin.  Kristin, our owner and #1 spark plug, can be described in three little letters—joy. Her ready smile and infectious laugh are as much a part of her persona as are her fashion sense, two incredible children, and Yooper accent.

    Kristin acquired that accent naturally by growing up in the upper peninsula Michigan and later graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Interior Design.  That degree has served her well since she, like all winery owners, feel sometimes that they’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  Thankfully Kristin is a great designer, and she keeps us all afloat through the constant industry changes and challenges.  

    Kristin inspires us each day to enjoy life and cherish what is precious in our lives.  We love you Kristin—don’t ya knooooooow!

  • Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery Winemaker, Brad Hansen

    Brad Hansen

    See Brad Run.  Run Brad Run.

    Brad, our Wine Maker and General Manager, runs!  He runs down to the bottling line for Quality Assurance checks.  He runs to Charlottesville and Roanoke to monitor the status of grape acid levels at our partner vineyards.  He runs to northern Virginia and Richmond to distributor meetings, and he runs around the winery from his desk in the administrative offices dealing with day to day operations to his other desk in the winery.  Thankfully Brad loves to run.  He’s been running since childhood.  Originally from Seattle, Washington, Brad moved with his family to the DC area where he still holds track records at the high school level.  His love of running gave him a full scholarship to Marshall University where he began to focus on botany and eventually wine making.  More degrees from the University of Maryland and Mississippi State University gave him the experience and knowledge to become an enologist and eventually the maker of all our Prince Michel and Rapidan River wines.  

    Brad has been running around Prince Michel Vineyards and Winery for over 16 years.  His expansive knowledge in wines coupled with his easy going and positive style have made him a favorite in the wine business.  His enthusiasm and commitment to the Virginia wine industry is apparent in every encounter—you just have to catch him!

    When Brad isn’t running around the winery and vineyards, he is happily running around with his wife Lydia and their two children---well they aren’t so much children now.  Aside from loving to run, Brad loves to travel and hike with family and friends.

  • Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery Sales Manager, Caitlin Powers

    Caitlin Powers

    Caitlin’s the newest addition to our PMV family.   She’s sort of like watching a tennis match—born in Connecticut, raised in Charlottesville, went to college in South Carolina, worked 11 years in New York City, and now back in Charlottesville.  You rarely see Caitlin not bouncing around which is fortunate for us since she manages all the Sales Departments for Prince Michel.  One day she’ll set up wine pourings at Harris Teeter and the next she’ll create our festival schedule for the following year.  It takes a lot of energy, and Caitlin certainly has plenty.  Did we mention that she actually plays tennis and was top ranked in the USTA?

    Caitlin also has plenty of heart.  She’s from a big family with no reservations in claiming to be the loudest and most outgoing of her three siblings.  Family is a crucial part of who Caitlin is so maybe that’s why she is such a “foodie”.  She loves cooking and sharing her love of good food and wine with others—perfect for the wine industry!  She’s also happy to be back in Virginia and is setting up life in the Commonwealth.

    Caitlin will most likely be the one of us you meet and later go, “wow, what did I just say yes to?”  Although she developed her sales skills in NYC, she has triple doses of Southern charm.  We’re thrilled to have Caitlin with us at Prince Michel and enjoy the positive energy and enthusiasm she’s spreading around.  She’s a huge sports fanatic, and there’s nothing like a Red Soxs fan to keep you eternally hopeful.  

  • Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery Sales and Distribution Manager, Dave Sisson

    Dave Sisson

    Dave loves to spend time driving all over the east coast selling our wonderful wines to anyone over 21!  His mailing address is his white Toyota in which he has recently outfitted the back seat with a mini fridge and flat screen TV so he can watch golf between distributor calls.   Actually, Dave is our Director of Sales and Distribution for both Prince Michel and Rapidan River wines.   Even though he might think he lives in his car, in reality he lives with his lovely wife Terri and two amazing sons right here in Madison, VA.   

    Dave began his almost 20 year career in the wine industry as a sales rep for a very, very, very large wine distributing company in Virginia.  After perfecting his skills and knowledge from that end of the industry, Dave moved over to the “darker side” of the wine industry—that’s selling for the actual winery.  

    When he isn’t being hounded by us to increase revenues and create floor displays, Dave is most likely fishing or coaching youth hockey and baseball.  A native Virginian, Dave is a positive spot in the PMV employee roster with his ready laugh and quick wit.

  • Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery Office Manager, Beth Burton

    Beth Burton

    Most of the folks who know Beth consider her purrrr-fect.  (FYI, you are about to be bombarded with a multitude of cat-puns.)  Beth started out with us over 5 years ago (that’s over 35 in cat years) as one of our fabulous tasting room associates.  She has now moved up, or perhaps down depending on her day, in our ranks to Office Manager.  Most of you don’t see the “behind the scenes” life of our winery, but if you did you’d understand that Beth’s job is about as easy as herding cats.  We seriously have no idea how we managed life before she came to us.  

    Beth may not have been Virginia born, but she sure has taken on that lovely southern style that makes you always feel welcome and always a priority.  It’s Beth’s voice you typically hear when you call during the week, and it’s Beth’s skills you typically can attribute to having your problem solved.  She also manages our luxury suites and is the one responsible for making sure your needs and concerns are addressed.  

    Beth lives in Culpeper with her wonderful husband, Patrick, and more cats than should be allowed by city ordinances.  She loves wine and we love her.

  • Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery AP/AR Accounts Manager, Suzette Turner

    Suzette Turner

    How many winery accountants does it take to change a light bulb?  One to issue the PO; one to receive it; one to make sure it was taken out of inventory; one to create a TTB report…………

    Suzette heads up the accounting at Prince Michel.  She’s in a really big office with lots of file cabinets and papers all over the place.  It used to be real neat, but then we started doing more wine festivals, created more wine clubs, and opened other tasting rooms.  Now, well you should get the picture.  Suzette also tries to keep all our numbers and wine “stuff” neat too, but that’s pretty impossible with most of us in this industry.   

    Suzette is a native Virginian—born, raised, and raising her own in Culpeper.  She’s pretty serious during the work day, but after hours she’s a completely different person.  Maybe it’s the wine or maybe it’s that she’s away from the computer screen glow of excel files.  Suzette also has a hidden talent; she’s about the best proof reader I’ve ever seen.  Perhaps it’s because she plays with numbers all day that she seems to have a personal vendetta against typos and poor subject and verb agreement.

    Suzette also has another hidden talent—one of the best white wine palates we’ve seen.  She can spot oak aging about as fast as she can spot negative balances in the budget.  It’s a good thing for trees, but if you give Suzette a glass of Chardonnay with any barrel aging, you will regret it!

  • Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery Human Resources Manager, Lydia Hansen

    Lydia Hansen

    Lydia wants to live in a world where every book club only reads wine labels and William Faulkner.  A native Mississippian, Lydia brings her southern style to all aspects of Prince Michel as the Human Resource Manager and #1 writer of PMV stuff.  In other words, she can resolve work-place conflicts and missed time clock punches as quickly as she can create tasting notes on our latest vintage of wines with the proper grammar only her grandmother would fully appreciate.  

    She credits her degrees in psychology as her greatest advantage in the day to day aspects of working in the wine industry.  After working years in Healthcare Administration, the exciting yet relaxed pace of winery life is a perfect environment for her to write about the world of Prince Michel and Rapidan River wines with a dark humor most oenophiles can enjoy.

    Yes Lydia shares the same last name of our Wine Maker—that’s because she’s been married to him for over 25 years and would never want to change her monogram.  Lydia is blessed with a wonderful husband and an incredible son and daughter.  She loves to read, hike, and volunteer—not all three at the same time!

  • Kylie Ashcom

    Kylie Ashcom

    Location, location, location…. We think with Kylie it’s all about elevation.  As our tasting room manager at our Wine Shop on Carter Mountain, Kylie has certainly moved up in her career—literally.  Pouring wine at a location which boasts the highest elevation for any tasting room in Virginia is perfect for Kylie.  Two years snowboarding in Colorado created the need for her to never work at a place below 1000 feet, and we’ve met that challenge!

    Kylie was raised in New England but has been a Virginian for the past 12 years.  Although we can’t convince her to stop being a Patriots fan, she’s a vital part of our Prince Michel family.  Kylie wins the award for being the most upbeat and easy-going of our staff.  Perhaps it’s all that mountain air.  Kylie and her wine shop team make everyone feel welcome—there’s a happy tranquility which comes not only from the breath-taking views of Charlottesville but from Kylie’s infectious smile and hospitality.  

    Kylie’s tastes in wine change with the seasons.  If you stop by the Carter Mountain Wine Shop when we open in April, Kylie’s favorite wine is the Prince Michel Pinot Grigio.  Stop by before we close for the winter season after Thanksgiving, and Kylie’s wine of choice is our Symbius.  No matter what wine you pick as your favorite, you can be 100% sure that Kylie will make your experience at Carter Mountain a pleasant and memorable one.

  • Liz Kemp, Wine Shop Manager

    Liz Kemp

    How do you instantly add worldly sophistication and gracious, refined hospitality to your wine shop?  Hire a Brit!  We’ve done just that, and as a result our international band of Southerners, Yoopers, Jersey Girls, and Commonwealth natives are better for it.  Of course there is the inevitable language barrier between Liz, our wine shop manager, and the rest of “us”.   So, to reduce confusion in reading Liz’s bio, we’ve added some italicized translations throughout the text.

    Liz, or Elizabeth as it seems all girls are named in Blighty Britain, crossed the pond moved to America with her family from the Cotswolds of England a group of villages where every building could be photographed for use on a postcard or souvenir shot-glass. 

    When Liz first interviewed with us, it was apparent that in regard to wine, she knew her onions was knowledgeable.  Liz has traveled around Europe experiencing wine on a level most of us only dream of.  Although she is gidder kipper slightly overly excited with Cabernet Sauvignons, her passion over red blends is contagious.  Liz gives the best wine tours in the industry, and her discussions on how each wine has the “personal touch” of the winemaker leaves you anxious to try whatever wine she suggests.  Liz actually loves wine so much that she compares her three teenage children to a barrel of Cabernet Franc.  She says her children are like Cabernet Franc aging in a barrel.  They know what to do and will do it—it just takes an absurd amount of time.  

    Liz also brings to Prince Michel loads of experience from her years of work in the hospitality industry.   We don’t know if she’s ever watched “Downton Abbey”, but she certainly could have been one of the cheeky impertinent cast members.  She’s great fun, but always encourages us to be a tad a bit more civilized.   The wine shop now sparkles with her continuous efforts to keep all our bits and bobs stuff sorted arranged, and we’re completely god smacked amazed that she always has such a positive and helpful attitude with both staff and customers.  Just remember if you need directions to the bathroom, it’s called the loo, and if you want plonk cheap, bad wine you’ll have to go elsewhere.

    Are we happy that Liz is our wine shop manager?  Absobloodylootely YES!!