I’m not sure when I first met Blake. I’ve known of him for several years at least and appreciate the knowledge he has, his eagerness to continue learning, and his delivery. It’s my personal opinion that he is an up-and-comer in the Paso Robles wine scene and I suspect we’ll see him do some unique, noteworthy things in this business. These are the people that are fun to follow. Now, learn a bit about Blake.
Matt: Are you from the Paso Robles area? If not, where are you from and how long have you been here?
Blake: Yeah, I grew up in A-Town
Matt: What’s your background (education, past jobs, etc.)?
Blake: My previous career was in the golf industry playing professionally for a few years. I then went and got a job at Hunter Ranch Golf Course and was there for a little over 3 years before I fell into the wine industry.
Matt: How long have you been involved in the wine industry?
Blake: I have been in the wine business over 5 years now.
Matt: What wine jobs have you had and what wineries have you worked for?
My first job in the wine industry was running the tasting room at Daou. After working there I was fortunate enough to work for Michael Mooney at Chateau Margene for almost 3 years working harvest and running the west side tasting room. And about a year and a half ago I came over to work for McPrice Myers and Paydirt, where I now spend the bulk of my time in the cellar.
Matt: What’s your favorite aspect of the wine business?
Blake: How helpful our neighbors are. If you have a question or are trying to find something whether it be grapes for sale or a tank to borrow for bottling, there is a good chance that someone in your phone can help you out.
Matt: Least favorite aspect of the wine business?
You are trying to get me in trouble, aren’t you? As someone who takes pride in good customer service, if you are a winery and you want people to enjoy their visit make sure the people pouring your wine know what they are doing and take it seriously. If I had my own tasting room I wouldn’t hire 90% of people working in a tasting room on the central coast. As far as getting me in trouble I think that will do it!
Matt: Who all are you working with/ for right now?
Blake: McPrice Myers and Adrian Perez
Matt: What was the inspiration behind starting your own label, Christopher Blake Wines?
Blake: My inspiration wine wise are guys like Jacob Toft, McPrice Myers, Michael Mooney, Tyler Russell, Ryan Pease, Edgar Torres, and Russel From. You make the wines (varietal) in the style you want and at the end of the day people are going to like them or they are not. Hopefully they like them more then not and you get to continue to hone your craft.
Matt: How many cases do you make?
Blake: Very small 25-50
Matt: What varieties are you messing with?
Blake: Started with Rhone but let’s be honest there are a lot of great winemakers making some amazing Rhone wines. Plus, my first love is Bordeaux so that is my main focus at the moment.
Matt: What are your goals with your label?
Blake: Make wines in the style that I want and hopefully other people will enjoy them. If that happens maybe one day down the road I’ll get to work for myself. But at the moment I’m learning as much as can from Mac and Adrian.
Matt: What’s your favorite thing about Paso Robles and the central coast?
Blake: Wineweatherfood – does that count as a thing?
Matt: Least favorite thing about Paso Robles and the central coast?
Blake: Trying to travel somewhere, I can’t afford to fly out of SLO, haha.
Matt: Do you feel Paso Robles is getting near it’s limit of wineries or what do you think the limit is?
Blake:If Paso Robles can support more wineries I hope they are wineries that push the envelope and don’t make cookie cutter wines, we have enough of those.
Matt: When you’re not working what do you like to do?
Blake: Golf, spend time with my family and friends, BBQ, enjoy a cold beer or a nice bottle of vino