Born and raised in the vine-covered Sierra Foothills of California, Chris Graves developed a passion early on for winemaking. Chris set forth his career after graduation from the UCD V&E program, first as an enologist, then as assistant winemaker at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, CA. Soon after, Chris became the winemaker for Wente’s “Cal-Ital” brand, Tamás Estates Winery. In this position Chris took charge of the wines and began blending and designing new wine styles. He worked closely with every step of the winemaking, sales and marketing processes, helping build a successful brand.
In 2007 Chris left Wente Vineyards to start his own boutique brand, Ruby Hill Winery. Under his leadership as head Winemaker the company saw double-digit growth within 5 years, and grew an extremely successful wine club. This spurred Chris and his partners to open a second brand, and in 2013 Rubino Estates Winery launched, focused on Cal-Ital style wines.
At this point Chris and his now budding family decided it was time for a change of lifestyle after 10 years in the Livermore Valley, and in 2014 they moved to Jacksonville, in Southern Oregon. In the Rogue Valley wine region, Chris worked as a consultant, before joining Naumes Crush and Fermentation in 2015. Since 2015, Chris has spearheaded Naumes Crush, making many award-winning wines for clients, including Naumes Family Vineyards, Pebblestone, JAXON, Augustino, Hummingbird, Fences, Rellik, Trium, and many more.
Chris is also a member of the Oregon Wine Board Research Committee and an instructor for the Southern Oregon Wine Institute (Umpqua Community College SOWI), and Southern Oregon University for the wine certificate program. Chris also continues to consult for brands and wineries throughout the west coast.