Chris is a New Englander, having grown up throughout the region, including upstate New York, Amherst, Boston and Cape Cod. His foray into restaurants began at the age of 13, when he lied about his age and became the dishwasher for a country club in Pocasset, MA. Soon after, Chris learned basic knife skills and eventually began working on the line, and by high school assumed the role of sous chef. Directly after graduation, Chris attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY to build upon the skills learned on The Cape. Part of the curriculum was the wine course that first exposed him to the magic of pairing wine & food, as well as its rich history. The ever-evolving world of wine captured his interest but was put on the back burner as Chris continued to focus on the kitchen.
Following his time at the CIA, Chris worked in restaurants all around the country, including Boulder, Scottsdale, Santa Barbara, and eventually Seattle. Along the way he took an interest in the service side to get a clearer picture of how restaurants operate as a whole, thus was his introduction to hospitality and a shift in his long-term focus. Having a closer interaction with the guest and creating a memorable experience through graciousness and knowledge gave him a new challenge, as well the opportunity to pick-up his wine studies. Chris began to take classes with the International Sommelier Guild, which at the time were taught by a Master Sommelier. The amount of knowledge, excitement & confidence demonstrated by this instructor inspired and convinced Chris to take seriously the pursuit of attempting the Master Sommelier exam.
Chris passed the Certified exam in 2008 while working as the Wine Director and General Manager for Crush restaurant in Seattle, followed by the Advanced exam in 2009 while Wine Director for Matt’s in the Market. In preparation for the Master’s exam, Chris spent time working with Canlis, an icon of fine dining for 64 years with a 2,400 bottle list, followed by working with Rajat Parr to open Seattle’s RN74 where he specialized in Burgundy & Bordeaux with vintages dating back to the 1940’s. During his first attempt at the MS exam in 2012, Chris passed 2 (service and theory) of the 3 sections, and the following year was spent honing his tasting skills to great success – he earned the title of Master Sommelier in May of 2013.
In this new position with Vinum, Chris’ role as Portfolio Manager will be to streamline the catalog utilizing his many years of buying experience in the Seattle market while collaborating with producers and suppliers through visits to the properties, managing inventory levels and setting short & long term goals for market growth. He will also be working as an educator to enrich the knowledge of the sales teams and their buyers. While it is a new role, Chris looks forward to rounding out his understanding of the wine business, and also contributing to cultivating a savvy sales force and customer base.