When worlds merge
As often happens in our lives, outcomes are a product of many things coming together at a certain time and place. This seems especially true for Upchurch Vineyard: the family, the vineyard, the wine.
For Chris Upchurch, his interest in wine dates to his world-traveling father, a chemical engineer in nuclear fission who worked on the Manhattan Project and held a white card at Los Alamos, the security level just below Robert Oppenheimer. After the war, he got a Master's Degree from Columbia and spent his career buying and selling uranium. Through his travels, he began appreciating wine and drank it at home, allowing Chris to taste in his teens.
Chris was raised in New Jersey, graduating from Princeton High School. "I was the black sheep in the family," he says. "My grandfather, father, and brother all graduated from Columbia. I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying environmental sciences and animal behavior. I enjoyed studying, but never thought of it leading to a career." He later took a few courses at University of California, Davis, to fill in some viticultural holes in his knowledge. He mentored under David Lake at Columbia Winery who taught him to "get into the vineyard, stay in the vineyard, and if you come out of the vineyard, go back in."
Check out this beautifully written article on the story of how Chris and Thea met, how Chris became one of the founding fathers of the Washington State wine industry and why Upchurch Vineyard is a family legacy.