After growing up in Nebraska and working in Seattle, Chris Brockway arrived in California to study winemaking. Following a textbook education at UC Davis and Fresno State, Chris’s experience of drinking and enjoying more low-intervention wines persuaded him to take a somewhat different path to most of his classmates. In 2002 he began working at an urban winery in Oakland, before leaving in 2006 to set up his own label from a small industrial unit in Berkeley. Today he runs his operation from a slightly bigger premises around the corner, but the focus remains producing wines from organic or biodynamic fruit in a decidedly hands-off fashion – natural ferments and no additions (save for the odd SO2 adjustment when required).
Chris is an open-minded and innovative winemaker and his winery reflects this, packed from floor to ceiling with the innumerable projects that he has on the go at any one time. Terracotta fermentation vessels (based loosely on amphorae) full of Nero d’Avola vie for space with sealed tanks of Carignan going through carbonic maceration and a lineup of majestic open top wood fermenters. He enquired about buying one from Domaine Chandon and they told him that he could have them for free, as long as he took all five!