Do something for 30 years and you’re
bound to get pretty good at it. During his three decades in the
wine business, Chris Whitcraft has learned just about every aspect,
from selling to reselling to writing. And finally, Chris Whitcraft
the winemaker has a roof over his head that’s all his own.
Though not far from his old location, which Whitcraft shared
with Jaffurs Winery for four years, the move to 36 South César
Chávez offers all the autonomy and pride of ownership that comes
with having a place of your own. But it also offers good news for
drinkers of fine wines: The new place will allow Chris and his son
(and sole coworker), Drake, to double their production. After all,
Whitcraft isn’t some industrial-sized, conveyer-belt, winemaking
operation. This is handcrafted art in a bottle.
Chris has always taken great care with his wines. “We make all
our reds and most of the whites without fining, filtering, or
pumping and as little sulfur as possible,” he said. “Nothing else
except natural acid adjustments, if needed, and occasional
nonnative yeasts.” And because every harvest is different, every
vintage is treated special. “There’s no recipe for winemaking,”
Drake explained. “We have to bend what we do every year to
complement what Mother Nature gave us.”
Whitcraft is most renowned for bending grapes into high- class
Pinot Noirs — it even scored them a lingering label shot in
Sideways — but they also create delicious Chardonnay and Lagrein.
At just 1,500 cases a year, they always sell out fast. As Drake
says about the new place and his father’s realized dream, “He’s
been doing this for 30 years, it’s about time.” Congratulations,
Chris — you’ve earned it!
4·1·1 Whitcraft Winery 36 S. César Chávez;
weekend tastings begin in late April. Call 965-0956 or visit