The 23rd Annual Nantucket Wine & Food Festival: May 15-19, 2019

Chris Upchurch

Winemaker

DeLille Cellars
Red Mountain, WA

Chris’s love for wine started in his youth, with extensive travel throughout the Grand Cru wine-growing regions of Europe and the west coast of the US. “I had to start off developing my palate and my perspective. How can you make great wine if you don’t know what that is?” he reflected. After attending the University of Colorado for three years, and then graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington, Chris began his career as a wine merchant, working with several of Seattle’s best-known restaurants. This experience allowed him to hone his palate while tasting wines from around the world. Deep in his heart, Chris knew he wanted to express his passion in the production end of the wine industry.

 

Armed with his love of wine and commitment to learning its craft, Chris initially developed a successful grape-brokerage business contracting grapes from Washington State and selling them to winemakers. Chris uncovered his true calling once he started spending endless hours in the vineyards. That love of the land, the vine and its fruit, fostered Chris’ passion of winemaking and his passion for charting a course in Washington State. An acclaimed professional winemaker for over twenty-seven years, Chris still spends much of his time in the vineyards of Washington State, primarily in the Yakima Valley and Red Mountain AVAs. Reflecting on the great European winemaking tradition, he remarks “The truly long-lived wines are made in the vineyards. I expect to be here for many years to come.