What Next for Ochota Barrels?
Among the grief and sadness over the last 10 months since Taras Ochota’s passing, that's been a recurring question. For a long time I didn’t know the answer, and I don’t think that Amber, Ochota Barrels co-founder and Taras’ business partner & soul mate, knew the answer either. Ochota Barrels without Taras seemed impossible to fathom. When I spoke with Amber yesterday, she still doesn’t really know the answer. At this stage the furthest she is ready to plan is 2022. So, we count ourselves lucky today to welcome the 2021 spring release.
Does this signal a new beginning for the label with Amber steering the ship? I would say it doesn’t - this is the continuation of the true spirit of Ochota Barrels. With undeniable magnetism, Taras' was the face everyone knew. But to be clear - Ochota Barrels was always a partnership. If you had the privilege to meet the pair early in their career before children, it was Taras & Amber at every wine fair; on every sales trip. It’s not often that you meet two people who truly work together as well as they did, like left hand and right.
Even after we saw less of Amber on the road, with the arrival of their first and then second child, she was still actively making the wines with Taras. There’s much to be said about women sidestepping glory or putting careers on hold for the labour of love that is raising children but this is not the time or place. And Taras was never anything but supportive of Amber’s work. Indeed each year Taras would lovingly comment that the best wine was the one Amber took complete creative control of: the Home… pinot noir.
Louis Schofield, who has been working with Ochota for about 5 years, was also indispensable in making the wines this year, along with Taras’ dad, Yari.
We are incredibly privileged to have the first release from Ochota Barrels since Taras passed away last year. Across the full release the wines speak for themselves, and I cannot say enough for the courage, determination and love of Amber, Louis and Yari to get these beautiful wines into bottle.
I hope that you all get a chance to taste some of the wines.
Please note due to very limited nature of these wines and high demand there will be a limit on the amount of each wine available. This is just so as many people as possible have a chance to try.