Todd Ricard - Senior Winemaker
Todd Ricard grew up in the country just outside of the small town of Mount Vernon, OH. Driven by the need to get out of town at age 17, Todd enlisted in the U.S. Army as a satellite controller, determined to see the world. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, for two years, he developed a love of sushi and Asian cultures. And after Okinawa, while stationed at Camp Roberts in SLO County, his affinities for home brewing, specialty foods and music would pave the way for a career in the wine industry.
After his work in the Army, Todd settled into the central coast town of San Luis Obispo and enrolled in Cal Poly, earning a B.S. in Wine and Viticulture. He secured an internship at Le Cuvier Winery in Paso Robles, where he learned the ins-and-outs of the winemaking process as a cellar worker both during harvest and throughout the year. As he worked his way up to becoming Le Cuvier Winery's Assistant Winemaker, under the tutelage of John Munch, he truly began to see the shape of his future in the business. Todd had always been inspired by music and he discovered a way to combine this love with the winemaking process in a way that humanized wine for him. "John was the man. I connected with him over this passion for music and realized that wine is a product of earth to share with people. The fact that people really care about the artisanal quality of the product itself, versus simply manufacturing it, struck a chord with me," he says. Further piquing Todd's interest, John Munch made wine unconventionally. John didn't specialize in any one varietal, but instead on making wine with native yeast and long barrel aging. His methods were developed over a long career, and made a lasting impression on Todd and his ideas about the simplicity of wine.
Armed with a solid background in the industry and looking to further explore this humanized connection to wine, Todd accepted a position as a temporary cellar worker in 2010 and as the Senior Laboratory Technician at Wild Horse Winery in 2011. Four years of hard work and dedication later, he was promoted to Winemaker. Not all of Todd's past remained in Ohio once he left the rural countryside. He loved hunting and fishing as a youth with his Uncle Joe and continues to enjoy the outdoors today. Other passions include foraging for chanterelles, fermenting craft beer from locally grown hops and discovering other new libations.
Hailing from the mountains of Northern California, Kip's passion for wine developed while living on the Central Coast after his matriculation from the University of California Santa Barbara. After three years in the wholesale industry, Kip chose to pursue that passion and turn it into a career. Leaving behind the corporate life, Kip took a temporary harvest job as a cellar hand at Orcutt Road Cellars in San Luis Obispo in the famed Edna Valley AVA for the 2010 Harvest. After harvest, Kip was awarded a full time position where he learned the fundamentals of crafting award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the ground up.
Taking the next step in his career, Kip pursued an opportunity at Bronco Wine Company, one of the largest producers in the state. There, he honed his skills as a lab tech, cellar supervisor and ultimately elevated to an Assistant Winemaker position, overseeing red wine production, as well as crafting wines for both domestic and international customers. In 2015, Kip was given the opportunity to return to the Central Coast as part of the winemaking team at Terravant Wine Company, a custom crush facility in Buellton. There, he was afforded the opportunity to work with some of the best vineyards and fruit in the state, as well as work, hand-in-hand, with some of the most highly lauded winemakers.
"The entire process, from vine to table, is fascinating," says Kip, "We take something that we foster up from the earth and create something that is so nuanced and complex and brings so much joy to people. It's a wonderful combination of art and science, akin to a modern-day alchemy." When asked about his winemaking style, Kip responds with "Stand back and let the fruit do the work. We want our wines here at Wild Horse to show a sense of place. We really want to showcase the vineyard in the finished wines with as little intervention as possible."
When not in the winery, Kip enjoys all that the Central Coast has to offer by way of surfing, hiking, backpacking, hunting and fishing.