Born into a wine-loving family, Chris Phelps completed a degree in enology at UC Davis prior to studying viticulture and enology at the University of Bordeaux. He was selected by his future mentors, Christian Moueix and enologist Jean-Claude Berrouet, of Château Pétrus and Ets. Jean-Pierre Moueix, to direct winemaking at Château des Laurets in Puisseguin-St. Emilion for the 1982 harvest. This led to extensive training at Château Pétrus and other Moueix properties on the Right Bank, and then to 12 years as founding winemaker at Dominus Estate, the Napa Valley property owned by Moueix. After Dominus, Chris served in as winemaker at Caymus Vineyards, prior to joining Swanson Vineyards, where he directed production until 2015. Chris likes to make “New World wines with an Old World sensibility,” blending experience and intuition with appropriate technology. He is passionate about bringing elegance and balance to the wines with which he is privileged to work. Chris has been producing his own Napa Cabernet Sauvignon under the Ad Vivum label since 2007. In addition to serving as Associate Winemaker for Inglenook Winery in Rutherford, he continues to consult for several other brands in Napa Valley and the Pacific Northwest. Chris and his wife, Maria, live in St. Helena, Napa Valley, where they raised their four children.
Country born: United States
Years in the wine industry: 30+ years