Sr. Director of Winemaking
E.&J. Gallo Wineryhttps://www.gallo.com/
When Chris Munsell arrived at Gallo in 2009 to manage a team of winemakers in California’s North Coast, he already had more than 19 vintages behind him. After honing his craft at some of the industry’s top wineries, including Geyser Peak and Domaine Chandon, Chris discovered that life at Gallo is a little different.
“It’s possible to do so much more here,” Chris explains. “The support for winemaking is tremendous. When I check in with an enologist, I could be talking to a PhD. You just don’t see that at other wineries. ”
As Sr. Director of Winemaking for Gallo’s Luxury Business Unit, Chris oversees the Winery’s Luxury Wine programs across a range of California appellations. He has been instrumental in creating new wines for Gallo, leveraging the Winery’s premier vineyard properties in Napa and Sonoma Counties and the Central Coast.
“My job is to help our winemakers achieve their ultimate vision for each wine,” says Chris. “I really enjoy the depth of talent we have at Gallo. It allows us to marry traditional approaches with cutting edge winemaking.”
Chris grew up in Southern California and spent his summers with his grandmother at the family vineyard in Solano County. Those formative years gave Chris a deep connection to viticulture. As a college student, he interned at wineries in California and France, before graduating from the University of California at Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Fermentation Science, specializing in Viticulture and Enology.
Chris was an associate winemaker at Geyser Peak, before spending 13 years in various winemaking and operations roles at Beam Wine Estates. Most recently, Chris was Estate Director at Domaine Chandon and Newton Winery, both part of LVMH. With 32 vintages now behind him, he’s ready to help the E&J Gallo winery and family focus on the future.
“I am passionate about winemaking, and I truly enjoy the process, from vineyard to bottle,” says Chris. “At Gallo, I get tremendous satisfaction from working with so many talented people and being part of such an incredible collection of wines.”