Going Behind the Scenes with a More Personal Patrick Duffeler in his New Book
As much as the Williamsburg Winery has evolved over the last 20 years, so, too, has its founder, Patrick Duffeler.
Readers of the second edition of “The Art and Science of Viticulture and Winemaking at the Williamsburg Winery,” released May 19, 2021, will not just learn about the labor-intensive process to make and store quality wine — topics from the original book published in 2002.
Unlike the text heavy first edition, this coffee table book is visually appealing with photographs that document the winery’s timeline from 1983 with the purchase of Wessex Hundred to the present day.
A sit-down with new 168-page book reveals the personal element specific to the Williamsburg Winery as told by Duffeler, admittedly far less guarded than he was 20 years ago.
It’s not that the Belgian-born Duffeler ever thought of himself as aloof, but the focus and drive he brought to the winery — similar to the mindset needed to develop the original Marlboro Formula One racing team in the ’70s — can trump chit chat.
“Why are you so aloof?” he recalls a colleague asking him at a motor race in Brazil in front of Philip Morris leadership.
He was miffed by the question at the time. Highly focused on the tasks at hand certainly, but not aloof, he says in describing himself.
Even so he’s aware that he doesn’t always project the warmth he feels or didn’t back then. It’s would be hard to spend time with him today and not marvel at Duffeler the storyteller, with a remarkable sharpness for dates and details. He’s generous with his wit and his engaging sense of humor make for delightful conversation.
But those are qualities that speak to his time and experience. In writing this book, he has the benefit of both and the pages celebrate that.
“Years ago, I was constantly reflecting about what I was doing,” he says. “Did I reflect about life in general as I do now? Definitely not.”
Today Duffeler is purposeful about taking his weekends and enjoying a day’s series of moments, whether he’s catching up with a longtime friend, walking in the woods around the farm or enjoying a double espresso and a chocolate chip cookie at the Gabriel Archer Tavern.
Many of the trimming of this business world, particularly the pocket-sized computer that buzzes with notifications nonstop if allowed, prevents many of us from engaging in true reflection. It’s noise that Duffeler isn’t afraid to silence. Yes, he is still growing the business, but he’s also learned to appreciate all it takes to do so.
While not one to boast about leaving a legacy, he is mindful of the multiple epiphanies that are part of a life well lived.
He reveals some of those thoughts in an entirely new section of the book, Part 3, which explores the people and places of the Williamsburg Winery.
He’s grateful of the relationships — and Duffeler treasures long lasting ones — that make the winery more like a home and less like a business.
So while readers of the new edition will gain a better understanding of grape varietals and winemaking in general, they will also receive an intimate look at everything special about the Williamsburg Winery and the man behind it.