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Featured Wine Christopher Carpenter
The eternal debate about winemaking— art or science?—is easily answered on a crisp morning high atop the undulating ridgelines of Mt. Veeder and Howell Mt, where some vineyard sites date back to a time just before the Civil War. As hawks soar and hummingbirds hover, a winemaker knows that his craft is as much about nurturing the vine as it is about applying the well-learned lessons of decades of mountain winemaking challenges. With each dawn, the sun peaks over the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges of the Napa Valley far above the fog line, illuminating the pallet that winemakers work with. At that moment, the spiritual side emerges, and it's easy to endorse the notion of how important it is to the development of these mountain vineyards and ultimately the wine. For Chris, a founder of the Napa Valley Convivium of Slow Food USA and Chair Emeritus of the National Board of Slow Food, artful winemaking really means allowing these pristine sites to reveal themselves in each vintage. Originally from Chicago, Chris has a curious mind meant for exploring. A chance visit to Napa captured his imagination and, ultimately, his heart. His practical side was demonstrated with a BS in biology from the University of Illinois, then an MS in both viticulture and enology from the University of California, Davis. He also holds an MBA in marketing and international business from the University of Illinois. Enhancing all this was a prestigious research internship at Tenute Antinori in Tuscany and further study at Università per Stranieri di Perugia. These experiences led to the development of an old world sensibility paired with a new world sense of ambition and insight. Chris now creates four different wines produced in Napa Valley, Cardinale, Lokoya, Mt Brave and La Jota, and one way currently being developed in the McClaren Vale in Australia. Chris makes his home in Napa Valley with his wife, Tina and daughters, Maggie and Sadie, taking the pulse of a great winegrowing region with regular stints behind the planks at the Rutherford Grill.