“The farmer’s footprint is the best fertilizer. When the land is well-trodden, the vine will be well-tended, the details not overlooked.”
The Pied à Terre Philosophy
Pied à Terre is the realization of a dream and the culmination of 20 years of experience as a professional wine buyer in New York City.
It is my belief that great wine only comes from great grapes, so the farmers we partner with are meticulous and exhaustive. I also strive to make wines that are not manipulated – wines that express their place of origin and the vintage; I am not making a mass-produced beverage. In the cellar, my goal is to keep everything Felix Unger-clean and shepherd the wine holistically. I taste barrel by barrel and create hundreds of blends until I find the blend that resonates to my core. That’s when I know the wine is good enough to put in the bottle. That is when I know the wine is delicious – and with soul.
I even believe, as not many do, that sometimes, certain vintages shouldn’t be created at all. For example, the 2011 and 2020 vintages yielded grapes that didn’t meet my standards so I passed on the vintages entirely; I didn’t make a single bottle of wine.
About the Winemaker
Richard loves the world of restaurants, wine and hospitality. This Brooklyn, New York native started as a busboy at the age of 13 and has never since stopped working in the wine and food business. Today, Richard is the Wine Director of Manhattan’s highly acclaimed restaurant, Les Trois Chevaux.
Before joining Les Trois Chevaux, Richard served as the Wine Director for Cookshop and its three sister restaurants and before that, at Washington Park Restaurant, where he worked as its General Manager and Wine Director. At that famed establishment, Luftig was responsible for the maintenance of a $7 million dollar cellar, which garnered the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” in the restaurant’s first year and then the illustrious “Grand Award” the subsequent year.
Richard’s knowledge of wine was greatly enhanced when Lidia Bastianich took a chance and hired him as Wine Director at New York’s famed Felidia Ristorante. There, under the watchful but encouraging eyes of Lidia and chef Fortunato Nicotra, Richard says, “I learned an immeasurable amount about Italian food and wine, which remain a strong passion of mine today. I also developed an appreciation for the art of food and wine pairing. Lidia and Fortunato taught me a lot.” Felidia won the Grand Award every year that Richard worked there (and hasn’t won it since Richard left).
Richard is also an avid “student” of wine, always looking to learn more about a wine region or the latest technique in agriculture and viticulture, all the while recognizing—and accepting—the fact that the more you learn, the less you know. Having said that, Richard has taught a wine series at the French Institute Alliance Française and many other classes. If nothing else, he hoped to instill his passion and love of wine in others, while emphasizing that wine (and food) should always bring people together.