In 1990 Michael Shaps moved to Burgundy, France where he enrolled in the Lycée Viticole de Beaune to study oenology and viticulture. During his schooling, Shaps worked for Maison Chartron and Trebuchet in Puligny Montrachet, and after receiving his diploma in 1991, he continued to work there for an additional year before returning to the United States.
In 1995 he moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the position of winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards for six vintages. With the 2000 vintage, Shaps produced his first wines under his own label, “Michael Shaps” Viognier and “Michael Shaps” Merlot. The initial release of his wines drew acclaim regionally: the Viognier was quoted in the Washingtonian as a “lavish white [that] shows that Virginia can make world-class Viognier.” In 2007 Saveur proclaimed “It may well be America’s best.” In 2004 Shaps won the coveted Virginia Governor’s Cup for his 2002 Cabernet Franc.
In 2007 Shaps created a new home for the “Michael Shaps” wines. Michael Shaps Wineworks produces the “Michael Shaps,” wines as well as a second label under the Virginia Wineworks brand, and the first bag-in-box wine program in Virginia. The Wineworks facility is also home to Virginia’s first custom crush operation, now producing over twenty-five different client brands.
Michael is focused on all of his vineyard leases whether in Burgundy or Virginia and spends a great deal of his time working with his growers. He believes that the wine is made in the vineyard and the wine quality and success of his wines are a result of the efforts to grow the best grapes possible.
In 2004 Shaps’ dream of returning to Burgundy was fulfilled. Maison Michael Shaps in Meursault produces small lots of white and red Burgundies from leased vineyards in the Cote d’Or. The focus is on producing world class Burgundy wines that reflect the soil, climate, beauty and traditions of the Burgundian region.