Talking to the Cellar Master
What is it like working with someone who says very few words, is looked at as a god in the chemical engineering world, and the Cellar Master for one of the most successful wineries in the state of Indiana? All I have to say to that is it is way easier than some may think.
When I started working at Lanthier Winery, I was just a part-time employee who sold wine, cleaned and worked in the gardens. Chris (the Cellar Master) was only ever seen if there was wine to be made, the river was going to get in the building, or it was payday for the staff and he had to drop off checks. This, and stories of his prolific work at DOW Corning, only added to the mystery behind the man who makes the coveted Lanthier wine.
I got to know Chris during my senior year at Hanover College. I guess it all started with brewing beer… In school I was studying to be a strength and conditioning coach. That all changed when I grew interested in brewing beer for myself and my friends. It was my junior year and I thought, “brewing beer is a chemistry… why not take a chemistry course for my spring term class?” this led me to contacting Dr. Cunningham about getting signed into his chem 161 class. During our meeting I found out about the fermentation and distillation class that would be offered for the first time. Long story short, I had the time of my life nerding out with Dr. C. One thing led to another and I met with Chris to talk about doing a directed study with him and Dr. C looking at ideal wine fermentation conditions.
This isn't out Lanthier Winery makes our wine...
Once I got comfortable talking to Chris, I laugh at how much trouble everyone else on staff has talking with him. They say I must have learned how to speak “Chris”, to them it’s a series of shrugs and a grunt here and there.
So now that I can speak “Chris” I have learned so much. He is patiently teaching me how to make wine, weld, wood working, and even a crash course in chemistry every now and then. He and his wife Tami have been so great to me, and because of them I decided to move to Madison and continue working at the winery. That proved to be a great decision; I am 23 years old and the operations manager of one of the most visited business in Indiana
Come stop in, ask for Mulligan, and I can share the rest of the story!