In 2004, Chris moved to Seattle to study wine and work at the legendary Canlis Restaurant. There he met Master Sommelier Greg Harrington of newly-formed Gramercy Cellars, who invited Chris to work harvest in Walla Walla. A couple years in, he was encouraged to make a few barrels of his own Syrah in exchange for his prolific forklift skills and willingness to scrub fermentation tanks.

An offer to run the wine program at Wolfgang Puck's flagship Spago in Beverly Hills prompted a move to Los Angeles, and studying winemaking in Santa Barbara under local legends Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton in Sta. Rita Hills. In his day job as the buyer for one of the country's most prominent wine programs, and host to massive wine collectors’ tastings, Chris had the daily opportunity to taste through the great wines of the world, particularly Burgundy and California.

Years later at the Naples Winter Wine Festival, Chris met Peter Figge, owner and winemaker at Figge Cellars in Marina, California. Peter was fortunate to grow up in a wine-loving family and had a clear focus from a young age. Together, they explored the top vineyard sites in Monterey County, and considered how much potential had yet to be realized.