Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Winemaker Q & A - Chris Stamp, Lakewood Vineyards

Name & title: Chris Stamp, Winemaker/VP

Winery name: Lakewood Vineyards

WW: Briefly describe your philosophy of winemaking:
CS: It's all about the fruit. We're non-elitist. There are very few bad grape varieties for making wine, but a whole lot of bad ways to make wine. We strive to find the best approach to unlock the greatest beauty in each variety.

WW: If you were dropped on an island and could have any 3 wines, what would they be?
CS: Which island? Different wines go better with different islands.

WW: Do you prefer real cork, synthetic cork, or screw cap and why?
CS: Natural cork. One of the characteristics of wine that separates it from widgets is sensuality. You put a screw cap on and you take the sensuality out.

WW: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a winemaker?
CS: It's not a romantic job. You'll have a lot of dirty T-shirts at the end of the day.

WW: What wine tasting advice would you give to someone visiting the Finger Lakes for the first time?
CS: Get here soon, before the rest of the world discovers us. The lines will be shorter and the prices more attractive.

WW: What makes the Finger Lakes are special to you?
CS: How can a place this beautiful not be over run with humanity?

WW: What is the wine you are the most proud of making and why?
CS: That's like asking me which one of my kids is my favorite. We give 110% to every one of our wines. The rest of the equation is up to God.

WW: What new wines are in the works for your winery?
CS: It's top secret. If I told you, I'd have to kill you.

WW: Who are your 3 favorite Finger Lakes winemakers?
CS: There's not a one of them I don't consider a friend. I think I'll take the fifth.

WW: What are your 3 favorite non-Finger Lakes wines?
CS: Do they make wine other places?? Seriously, it's a moving target, but I'd have to say, Peju Province Cabernet Franc, Alsatian Gewurztraminer, and Gran Reserve Tempranillo from the Rioja region.

WW: If you had to be something else besides a winemaker, what would it be?
CS: Beer maker. Is there a pattern emerging here?

WW: Who has been the most important person to you in your development as a winemaker and why?
CS: My dad. His homemade wine was so bad I was inspired to study the right way to do it.

WW: Who is your favorite musical artist or band?
CS: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band.

WW: Who is your favorite movie actor?
CS: Certainly nobody from "Sideways." Maybe Gene Hackman. He was awesome in "Unforgiven," one of my favorite movies.

My thanks to Chris for answering my questions and for making great wine. See my post above for my visit and tasting notes on Lakewood Vineyards.

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