“I am so very excited to be a part of the team at Three Sticks and for Bill Price’s entire portfolio at Classic Wines,” enthused Mattson. “For me, this job caps a career in the wine business. I can think of no better role for me than selling top quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of the very best vineyards in America.”
Chris Mattson has been passionate about wine since spending his junior year abroad in Vienna, Austria. “I stayed with a Viennese family. For them, wine was the natural accompaniment to good food and friends,” recalls Mattson. “Visiting the local wineries instilled in me a new awareness of the farming and cultural heritage wine represents.”
But, wine as a vocation didn’t call Chris until 8 years after graduation; he spent his early formative years working on Capitol Hill and for the federal government. “My passion wasn’t in government work; my passion was wine.” Transitioning from government lobbyist to wine salesman wasn’t easy. “No one would give me a shot,” Mattson says. It wasn’t until Alberto Panella at a small Washington, DC Italian importer, Class Wines, decided to give Chris a chance that Mattson entered the wine business. At that point, a career was born.
“Class Wines taught me to fight hard for each and every placement,” says Mattson. From Class Wines, Mattson went on to sell wine to retailers at National Distributing Company in DC and then on to the Henry Wine Group’s East Coast operation, eventually managing the distributorship’s business in DC, Virginia and North Carolina. It was while working for the Henry Wine Group that the opportunity to launch Emeritus emerged.
Moving his family to Santa Rosa, California in January of 2007, Mattson embarked upon his career as a supplier. “Taking the job working for Emeritus was a natural. Working in distribution had heightened and enhanced my love of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – particularly estate-based wines,” says Mattson. “Brice was not only committed to quality, he was committed to owning the land and being in sync with nature’s rhythms.” Brice was also fanatical about his discipline in the marketplace.
“Brice taught me that if you make great wine, you must respect your craft: from the vine to the consumer,” adds Mattson. “Short-cuts, whether in the vineyard, the cellar or the market compromise the wine itself. It’s a strategy geared for the long run.”
From Brice, Mattson moved on to help set up the West Burgundy Wine Group division at Jackson Family. “My time at Jackson Family was a wonderful experience,” according to Mattson. “This is a company with 14,000 acres under vine in some of the top locations in the world. Yet, regardless of their size, Jackson Family is committed to producing small lots of top quality wines reflective of unique vineyard sites.’
After a 15 year plus journey in the wine business, Mattson now says he’s found his home. “The quality of the wines, the vineyards, the winemakers and Bill Price’s commitment to the long term make Classic Wines an ideal home for me,” says Mattson. “We are going to do great things.”