Weekly Interview: Chad Stock

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 05-23-2014

Picture of Chad Stock and familyEach week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Chad Stock, the proprietor of Minimus Wines and the winemaker at Omero Cellars in the Willamette Valley.

Originally from Concord, California, Chad became interested in wine after learning that Fresno State offered a degree in viticulture and enology. Until then, he had planned to study business.

After graduating in 2006, he landed a harvest job at Rudd Wines in Oakville, California. The next year, he moved to Oregon to work at Antica Terra. Chad would then work at Two Hands, Johan Vineyards, and Durant Vineyards.

In 2011, Chad launched his own wine label, Minimus. And he joined the team at Omero this spring. Check out our interview with Chad below the fold.

What is your general winemaking philosophy?

Be humble, work with intent, keep it clean, no additives, let the wine speak for itself.

What’s open in your kitchen right now? 

A 2012 Domaine de Terrebrune Rosé, NV Primitivo Quiles Vermouth Rojo, and whisky, which is open all year around.

Who are your favorite winemakers in history, through personal account, or their wines?

Anselme Selosse in Champagne and Josef Leitz in Germany.

What new winemakers are you most excited about, and why?

In my region, I would bet on Sterling Whitted and Michael Garofola. They both think about wine in a big, visionary way, and I would like to see someone invest in their future. Outside Oregon, I would say I am excited about Benjamin Leroux for his responsibility at Domain Comte Armand as well as founding his own label.

How do you spend your days off?

Days off?

What’s the best wine you’ve ever tasted? The most interesting?

The best wine I ever remember tasting was a 1961 Chateau Montrose, which I remember opening with some friends in 2007. I love old Bordeaux — before it modernized — and this was the best I ever had.

The most interesting wine I can remember would be the 2011 Vinos Ambiz Carbonic Macerated Malvar, which had a tremendous amount of character — not just in the wine, but also the packaging and story. This wine is quite an achievement in my book and it’s priced in a range that most people can afford.

What’s the oldest bottle in your cellar? The most expensive?

The oldest and most expensive wine I have in my cellar is a 1990 Caves Bourdy Chateau Chalone.

If you had to pick one red and one white to drink for the next month with every dinner, what would you choose?

For the white, Emmerich Knoll “Vinotefullung” Gruner Veltliner from any vintage. For the red, Jacques Puffeney Arbois “Vieilles Vignes” from any vintage.

What’s your biggest challenge as a winemaker?

Being American, making wine in America, I struggle with the fact that there are no native American grapes conducive to the production of world-class wines that would rival vitis vinifera.

I feel like the wines I make are constantly compared to the wines of their homelands. In Oregon, for example, Burgundy is always a point of reference — and it’s often considered an achievement if a wine you produce tastes like it came from Burgundy. There is just a lack of ownership in that result that’s off-putting for me when I realize that I just made something that tastes like the real thing.

What’s your favorite wine region in the world — other than your own? 

I am a big fan of wines from the Jura region of France for both the distinction and breadth of the wines available. There are reds and whites both blended and varietal, flor aged wines, sparkling, fortified wine, desert wines, and of coarse Chateau Chalone, all in this tiny region. If I could live and work with vines anywhere in the world, this is where I would be.

Is beer ever better than wine?

Physically, yes. Mentally, no. Wine is the most complex beverage on the planet but that doesn’t mean it will always quench your thirst. I should mention here that my favorite beer is not available in the United States – it’s Westvleteren 8 dark.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am an open book. I’d like to be clever here, but the reality is that I hold nothing back!

If you weren’t making wine for a living, what would you be doing?

Looking for a job!

How do you define success?

Personal accomplishment. Set your goals and see them through. If you give everything you got and fail, you have achieved more than most people. The greatest form of happiness is through acceptance of one’s own self.


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