Winemaker, White Rock Vineyards
Christopher Vandendriessche was raised in Napa Valley, learning the wine business from his parents. Growing up on the farm, Christopher felt that his first passion was science. While at UCSC pursuing a degree in Physics, Christopher began brewing beer in his dorm room. After graduating in 1992, he came home to tell his father he was, “fascinated with fermentation technology.” Realizing the potential of combining his new found interests with the family business, Christopher moved to France and enrolled in the University of Bordeaux. He graduated with an Enology degree, and went on to work at Chateau Pape Clement in Bordeaux. Following harvests in Burgundy, Spain (Remelluri in Rioja), and Argentina (Catena in Mendoza), Christopher returned to Napa for a position as Assistant Winemaker working under John Kongsgaard at Luna. For the next two years, they made wine for a legendary group of winemakers including David Ramey, Dan Baron, Bill Knuttel, and Marco Capelli, among others. In 1999 Christopher returned to White Rock as Winemaker, excited to apply his winemaking techniques to the property he knows so well. Today, Christopher and his brother Michael have taken over the business, working together to craft thoughtful and balanced wines showcasing the unique terroir of White Rock Vineyards. Christopher and his wife Sarah live with their son in Napa.
Country born: United States
Education: BA Physics, UCSanta Cruz, UV Oenologie Universite a Bordeaux, 3 years work in France, 1 harvest work in Rioja, Mentors(Henri Vandendriessche, John Kongsgaard, Dave Ramey, David Danielak)
Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years
Noble winemaking involves stewarding the terroir to it's natural and balanced expression in the wine. When in doubt always choose balance over power. French Oak should be a spice, not a dominant flavor. Make minimal inputs, find natural balance in the vineyard through careful farming.