MEET OUR PEOPLE
Richard Lauchland Vineyards / Owner & Grower
HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY BEEN FARMING WINEGRAPES?
My family has been farming for more than 100 years. Officially, I’ve been farming for 30 years; unofficially, I’ve been farming since I was a child.
I FARM BECAUSE…
I grew up in a wine grape growing family in Lodi. While I found it enormously entertaining as a kid, I soon learned that it was hard work. As I grew up and looked towards higher education, my thought on farming was: what a miserable way to make a living. I was highly motivated to do well in school, get to college, and escape to an easier, dreamier life of NOT farming! So off to college I went. I selected one of the best Agriculture schools in the country. And in my four years, I managed to take a total of zero ag courses. I got my degree in engineering. I went to work in engineering, construction, and ultimately real estate development. I ended up in a very corporate environment, working behind a desk. From behind that desk one thing became very clear: Farming grapes was a pretty good gig. Back I came to Lodi apologizing for my lack of understanding and poor judgement. So, I currently grow grapes because I was fortunate enough to see the other side. For me, it’s such a great fit: the great outdoors; taking charge of your own destiny; doing something with a tangible outcome; and it’s a great environment to raise a family.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF FARMING WINEGRAPES?
Farming itself is quite satisfying; the business of farming has become quite burdensome. The deteriorating business climate, increasing regulatory burden, and working with larger industrial buyers threatens the happy aspects of farming.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ANOTHER CAREER OR START OVER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I’d become a travel writer.
WHAT CHORE DO YOU ABSOLUTELY HATE DOING?
Checking drip lines for coyote bites.
WHAT’S THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
I’m currently working my way through Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books.