We had a chance to ask Cris Carter, proprietor and winemaker at Weatherborne Wine Corp, a few questions about wine, life, and his influences. Weatherborne has been selected for inclusion in the Winestyr wine clubs and the wines from this new producer are already garnering serious critical acclaim (sorry, at this time Weatherborne's wines only ship to California):
2012 Pinot Noir: 92 points from Wine Enthusiast - "Distinctly wet-earth aromas of mushroom surround a line of graphite with touches of red fruit in this impressive bottling from young winemaker Cris Carter. The umami-driven flavors of shiitake and dried figs are elegant and soft in the mouth, a great fit for lovers of earthy, savory Pinot Noir."
2013 Pinot Noir: 93 points from Wine Enthusiast - "Brewer Cris Carter, who works at Golden Road Brewery in Los Angeles, also makes stunning wines, in this case from John Sebastian Vineyard, showing a lush cherry-vanilla nose that’s tightened with iron, iodine and earth. It’s soft on the palate, with violet and rose petal florals and plum-skin tartness in the midpalate."
What is your name and title?
Cris Carter, Winemaker + Founder at Weatherborne Wine Corp.
How did you get your start in wine? When did you know you wanted to make it a career?
I studied Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis as an undergrad. Sometime during my first harvest, up in Napa Valley, I realized that I really enjoyed the process and could see myself doing this full-time.
What wine did you make that you are most proud of and why?
My first year’s Pinot Noir, the 2012, is exactly what I was going for- clean, spicy and great acidity. Going into my first harvest for myself, I don’t think I could have been happier with how the whole process turned out.
What do you strive for in the wines you produce?
I want to make wines that taste good. Bottom line. This is California, so there should be some fruitiness, but enough spice and texture to make it interesting. Minimal new oak so that the fruit can shine through. I’m not making a wine so you can see how much I like my cooper.
What is the worst wine you’ve ever made and why was it so bad?
When I worked for a winery up in Oregon, we made a really insipid, too-sweet rose of Pinot Noir. It was the runoff juice from processing the main lots. Too much sugar and not enough acid to be a nice rose.
What is your favorite thing about being in the wine industry?
I love being part of agriculture. People who work in the vineyard everyday are blessed with a beautiful workplace that changes all the time. Oh, and drinking good wine.
How do you see the wine industry changing over the next 5-10 years? Drought will enter the average person’s consciousness and questions will arise about how much water we’re using for a luxury product.
Who or what are your biggest influences? Steve Doerner up at Cristom winery in Oregon is a great winemaker. He has a style that shows through in all of his wines, but it’s not heavy-handed and he adapts to vintage challenges well.
If you could meet any person, deceased or living, who would it be and why? Mark Twain would be a good man to share some drinks with.
Did you ever have a lifechanging wine? What was it and how did it impact you? Lifechanging, no, but when I started tasting the breadth and uniqueness of Pinot from around the world I knew I had to be a part of it.
It’s an early Fall evening, sweater weather, what are you drinking? Probably some earthy Cab Franc. I love the pepperiness of good ones.
What’s your favorite drink other than wine? A good, simple margarita with a little mezcal in there. Made with fresh lime juice, of course.
What is your favorite food? I love pizza. Not some delivery stuff, but Neapolitan style.
Favorite food and wine pairing? Pizza with a good Ridge Zinfandel.
Favorite restaurant? Currently I like Bestia in downtown LA. Everything is delicious.
What is your favorite band? Don’t have just one, but I do love Otis Redding.
Best concert you’ve ever been to? My first, and best concert, was Bob Dylan in 1995 at the American Theater in St. Louis. Incredible energy and a great crowd.
Most amazing place you've ever visited? Patagonia was gorgeous. Cold, wild, windy and stark, but beautiful.
Other than wine country, what is the best place for people to visit in California? You can’t go wrong wandering around San Francisco, though the High Sierras are pretty spectacular.
Article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without? I love my Blundstone work boots.
What is your favorite Hobby or pastime? Other than traveling, I love to backpack and watch Miami Dolphins football.
What is your favorite book of all time? Why? "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy was phenomenal. The language was stripped down and bare, the setting was felt through the pages.
You can taste the very best wines from Weatherborne Wine Corp and many other acclaimed small wine producers by joining one of Winestyr's wine clubs. To learn more about our wine clubs, click here.