Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Chad Stock: I discovered at a young age that I was overly sensitive to, and very aware of, my sense of smell and taste. Many week nights and weekends were spent cooking in the kitchen with my mother. When I turned fifteen, I started my first job at a local sandwich shop where I spent most of my earned money eating and playing with the ingredients in the shop pantry, creating “off-menu” sandwiches. When I entered college, I contemplated culinary school, food science, and eventually learned that fermentation science was an option. In my late teens, I chose to study Enology and Viticulture and just never looked back. It’s been a hell of a ride! I love what I do.
There was a small wine shop in Eugene, Oregon where I purchased most of my wine. The shop hosted local winemakers during their semi-regular tasting events who shared wine stories and wines. The store owner knew I was very inquisitive about wine and encouraged me to attend a tasting featuring a prominent local winemaker.
Prior to that event, I had never met anyone in my life who had such passion and dedication for their career, or in this particular case, a man who had identified an interest in something that he could turn into a career. This has been a recurring theme with other individuals I’ve encountered in this industry over the years.
You can’t replace the quality of the experience a small wine merchant can provide. Unless your grocery store has an educated wine steward, one who can help you learn the difference between a mediocre, industrial alcoholic beverage and a soulfully made agricultural product, don’t buy your wine there.
What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?
CS: I initially studied Business Administration because it was a practical major for wanderers. When I discovered the path of fermentation and enology as an option, I changed majors and transferred universities. During college, I had a number of miscellaneous odd jobs, construction, restaurant service, athletic trainer, special event coordination, various sales gigs.
How has being in the wine industry changed you?
CS: The wine industry hasn’t changed me as far as I can tell. It has just provided an outlet that allows me to do what I am the most interested in. It is tough to discern the difference between recognizing self-discovery and actual forced change to oneself from an outside influence.
What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
CS: Global connection has been my favorite part. Wine, like food, transcends cultures and brings people together over a common interest that is quite primal and intellectual at the same time. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world and form close relationships that have broadened who I am as a person and enrichened my life in unimaginable ways.
Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?
CS: Wine is DELICIOUS!
Check out David Hill Winery’s website to learn more about Chad and to buy their wines.
This article explains more about Chad’s background, David Hill Winery and their recent B-Corp status.