Brian Mischel is Riverside’s program manager supporting on-site National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects for their National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS). He is a Project Management Institute-certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a 25+ year veteran of the space industry. He also served as a space systems officer in the U.S. Air Force, leaving the service as a Captain.
But Brian’s favorite thing to do is tend to his half-acre vineyard, Eartham House Vineyard, situated on the southern slopes of the Bull Run Mountains in northern Virginia, about 30 miles west of Washington, D.C. near the site of the Civil War Bull Run battlefields. He grows Vidal Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes, selling most to local Virginia wineries, but keeping enough to produce under his own label.
This year, Brian harvested 3,000 pounds of Vidal Blanc for Quattro Gumba Winery in Aldie, Virginia. The resulting 220 gallons of wine are being aged in stainless steel and will be bottled as a single varietal sometime in the spring. Brian also harvested an additional 250 pounds of his reds that are currently undergoing malolactic fermentation in his own production facilities. These will age in oak for a year before being blended and bottled under Brian’s label. If you find yourself in Haymarket, VA, stop by for a tasting!
- What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at work?
Reading history, working in the vineyard, and travelling.
- What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
I was once a chicken farmer. I’ve been working non-stop since 7th grade, and this was my first job. I made $1/hour picking up eggs, feeding, cleaning pens, discarding carcasses, etc. at a hatchery in Wisconsin. After that job, I could not eat chicken for years. Now I have two dozen pecking around the yard at home.
- What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I’d be a college professor in ancient and European history.
- Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I’ve lived in Australia and Canada as well as in England twice.
- If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?
Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Hannibal, and Alexander the Great. It would be fascinating to watch the strategic competitiveness among the world’s greatest generals.
- What was your favorite subject in school and why?
History, and it’s still a passion unblemished by not having to make a living by it.
- If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
The Battle of Austerlitz, seated next to the Emperor Napoleon.
- Tell us about your most unique travel experience.
I traveled to French Guiana as part of the launch campaign for the Astra 1D spacecraft. While there, I went on a jungle trip, fished for piranha, and visited the French Foreign Legion base (and they let me out again!).
- What’s your #1 item on your bucket list?
To walk the full 80-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.
- What’s on or in your nightstand?
Heart of Europe, The Holy Roman Empire by Peter H. Wilson. It’s the antithesis of exciting reading – only 686 pages!
- Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
Liver and onions. I still have nightmares of returning from grade school and smelling it from a block away.
- What are you most proud of?
Having cleared, installed, and planted my vineyard without killing myself. You could usually tell where I was on the property from the buzzards circling overhead.
- What’s an ability you wish you had?
I would love the ability to speak foreign languages, but I seem to have no ability to retain the vocabulary or hear the words.