Richard Betts, Founder, Winemaker

After an academic journey that included a BS, an MS and nearly a JD, Richard finally found his way to his real love: Wine. While traveling in Italy, he fell in love with the country’s dining tradition and came to regard wine “as a grocery and not a luxury.” He served as the wine director at The Little Nell in Aspen from 2000 to 2008. In the spring of 2003, Richard passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Masters Exam on the first attempt, the ninth person ever to do so. He co-founded the wine labels Betts & Scholl in 2003 and Scarpetta in 2006 and founded Sombra Mezcal in 2006. Today, Richard spends his time guiding My Essential Wines, Sombra Mezcal, Astral Tequila, and his newest wine project “An Approach To Relaxation.” Richard is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert” and “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All.”  

Making good on our mantra of “wine is a grocery, not a luxury,” we’re producing extraordinary wines that can be, and frankly ought to be, consumed every day. In each case, we’re looking for the essence of the place and expressing it in an ultra-delicious wine. So far, we’re doing a Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and a Rosé that we LOVE; after all, that’s the point. Heck, if you won’t drink it, we’re prepared to drink it all so we might as well make it how we like it. We also continue to explore other ”essential” ideas around the world so who knows what is to come.