In 1990 Michael moved to France where he enrolled in the Lycée Viticole de Beaune in Burgundy to study oenology and viticulture. Here he was privileged to study under the guidance of Burgundy's noted professors and winemakers, working two vintages at the esteemed Maison Chartron et Trebuchet in Puligny Montrachet.
In 1995 Michael moved to Virginia to work at Jefferson Vineyards as head winemaker and general manager, where he quickly accumulated numerous awards and acquired a reputation as one of Virginia’s up-and-coming winemakers. After six vintages Michael ventured out on his own and began producing wine under the now highly regarded “Michael Shaps” label. He initially partnered with King Family Vineyards, where he helped launch their brand as well as his own.
In 2004 he partnered with his old mentor and head winemaker at Maison Chartron et Trebuchet and together they opened a winery and rental house in Meursault, France, one of Burgundy’s most renowned winemaking villages.