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Chris, Hunters Reserve Winemaker


With over 30 years of viticulture and winemaking experience, you will find Chris in jeans and a button-down shirt at every step of the winemaking process from cultivating vines to the bottling line.

With a ready laugh and signature laid-back attitude, Chris shares his rules of winemaking: “Don’t over think it, keep up on things and let the fruit speak for itself!”

Chris Deckelman’s roots in agriculture go back to his childhood. His father set up farms all over the world including places like East Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Swaziland, just to name a few. Chris got the travel bug from his father and saw much of the world with his family or traveling via VW bus across Europe, sleeping under the Eiffel Tower and planning rendezvous with his girlfriend (now his wife), Sharon, abroad.

Chris and Sharon married in the early 70’s and settled down in Silverton, Oregon, where they both were from. As Chris’ travels abroad slowed down, his journey in the wine industry began to take flight.

Like all good beginnings, it was a humble one; he started out as a labor contractor and harvester and eventually worked his way into management. He began to take classes in winemaking from UC Davis and Chemeketa Community College while simultaneously refining his hands-on farming and winemaking skills at home.

He purchased his first property in 1987 and planted 30 acres of his favorite varietals -- the refreshing Pinot gris and robust Marechal Foch -- in Amity soils in the Willamette Valley AVA where he continued to farm and sell fruit and wine.

Currently, Chris manages 270 vineyard acres including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Early Muscat and Chardonnay and is the owner of Vitis Ridge.