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Talking Chardonnay with Blake Gray

We recently sat down for a round table on Chardonnay with Blake Gray. We hit on a lot of points; some of them are pasted below. Read the whole piece here.

Gavin Chanin, Chanin Wine Co.: There’s a way to make Chardonnay that’s so hands-off. Back in ’92 a bunch of winemakers did a signature series at Sanford & Benedict, where they all made wine from the same vineyard. The ones that did the simplest winemaking were the ones that aged the best. As winemakers we always want to do something. Fighting that urge is a good thing. Thinking a couple steps ahead is really important. When I rack, I’m thinking about bottling, even though it’s six months away … When I first started working in the valley, people talked about winemaking all day long. Now they talk about vineyards. The future of the county is vineyards.

Me (Blake Gray): What do you think of natural wines?

Chanin: I try to portray myself as vineyard-driven rather than natural wine. There’s so many natural wines I can’t drink. I think I’m a very natural winemaker. But I do it to make better wine. I don’t do it to make natural wine.


Chanin: Once a wine passes a certain percentage of alcohol you lose the expression of the vineyard.