When the very first commercially-produced Tempranillo wine from Texas came out, then-wine-retailer Chris Black and his colleagues geeked out on their little 2-case allocation and gleefully turned customers on to it. That wine, Alamosa El Guapo, made abundant sense to them as it drew upon Texas’ hot-climate counterparts in Europe that Chris and his mentors were already introducing their customers to every day.
Chris ultimately spent 7 years buying and selling wine for that store, Grape Vine Market – a Food & Wine Magazine American Retailer of the Year honoree and winner of countless Best of Austin awards in the Austin Chronicle. He organized and taught portions of the store’s Grape Vine University 14-week wine class, put together wine cellars for collectors, and at times may have handled more wine for Austinites’ wedding receptions than anybody else in the city. Friends and clients have long marveled at his savvy with such value gems, calling Chris “the king of under $10” and wondering “Where was this guy during my college days?” – the author of that second quote now even has his Certified Sommelier pin!
In subsequent roles, Chris worked as a territory rep for Australia’s Yalumba Wine Company as well as for Texas wine icon Cap Rock. Most recently, he helped launch Hye Meadow Winery from 2013-2015, where lasting camaraderie and professional respect with Cellar Rat guides Clint Thomas and Clem Villars first flourished.