Chris Carpenter is winemaker for Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard in South Australia’s McLaren Vale. Chris grew up outside Chicago and developed a thirst for knowledge. During a visit to Napa Valley in 1993, Chris discovered a lifestyle that could challenge him both intellectually and creatively, while combining his love of science with his growing passion for culinary and wine pursuits. Soon after, he started studying at UC Davis, where he earned a master’s degree in both viticulture and enology. He studied further in Italy at the Tenute Antinori, Santa Cristina Estate, now known as Tignanello. There, he worked in the cellar and vineyard and was also hands-on in the lab. Chris credits his time in Italy with teaching him how wine, food and culture are all intertwined.
In 1998, Chris ultimately found himself back in Napa Valley at the Cardinale Estate. In 2000, he was appointed winemaker for Lokoya, where he crafted stellar wines from the finest mountain fruit. He quickly went on to assume the same role for Cardinale a year later, and was named winemaker for La Jota in 2005 and for Mt. Brave in 2007 with the purchase of the vineyard properties on Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder. In 2012, Chris commenced a new project, Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard, in McLaren Vale. Since its establishment in 1971, the Hickinbotham vineyard has become a part of Australia’s wine heritage, supplying fruit to produce many of the country’s greatest wines. Chris is breathing new life into the historic vineyard and has commenced a new era of Hickinbotham’s prestigious legacy, building upon and honoring the vineyard’s acclaimed record.