hroughout the seasons, the devoted vineyard staff carries out the rigorous work of caring for the vines. Our vineyard manager Stephen Mudd, is dedicated to sustainable agriculture, safeguarding the quality of the wine and raising it to its utmost perfection. Stephen brings over 30 years of experience in managing vineyards and is considered one of the pioneers of Long Island grape growing. Most of the work is done by hand, year-round — from pruning to leaf pulling. The ancient practice of fruit thinning is carried out during the summer and fall. Approximately half of our crop is sacrificed every year to insure that the remaining fruit will reach the ultimate peak of ripeness. Raphael is one of the few wine estates in the United States that harvest entirely by hand. Work carries on until the carefully chosen moment-when the harvest starts and the grapes are gathered by hand in the traditional and time-honored way. Nothing but the best fruit makes it into our wine.