Who we are
Bob and Christopher Bates
Bob Bates and Christopher Bates, Master Sommelier, founded Element Winery in 2005. Together they have learned the ups and downs of wine making, and forged a recognizable style of wines. Christopher left the winery in Spring of 2014, and now Bob is a full time winemaker. He does the day-to-day work at the winery and keeps a close eye on the wines as they spend their long slumbers in old wood.
Bob’s Favorite: Element Winery 2012 Riesling
Isabel and Christopher met while working at Immich Batterieberg in the Mosel. They were both there to learn how to make wine in a place they both loved, but it turns out they had a lot more in common than that! Isabel also started her career in hospitality, though she was mostly focused on service. Growing up in Berlin, she worked for a Relais & Chateaux property in Germany before moving to Frankfurt where she worked at the Michelin starred Brick restaurant.
After harvest in the Mosel, Isabel and Christopher moved to Italy, where she worked in a winery during the day and worked at Christopher’s restaurant at night. Along with Christopher, she has spent the last 7 years managing first The Inn at Dos Brisas, and later the Hotel Fauchere. While at the Inn at Dos Brisas, Isabel was awarded Best Service in the World by Mobil Travel Guide, and remains the only person to have ever received this honor.
Isabel has since worked in wineries around the world, from Batterieberg in the Mosel, and Gruerri Rizzardi and Villa Monteleone in the Valpolicella, to stages at Gramercy Cellars and J. Christopher in Washington and Oregon.
Isabel’s other major focus is on tea, and she is a Certified Tea Specialist. When not drinking tea or Element Wine, you will most often find her drinking old Cabernet, be it Bordeaux or California.
Isabel’s Favorite: Element Winery 2012 Pinot Noir
Friends of the Winery
While many people have truly impacted this project, a few deserve special mention.
- Cameron Karger. Cameron helped us immensely in getting started and provided us with advise from the begining. Cameron brings much experience from his days as Assistant Winemaker for Mark Aubert, where he was making the wines of both Aubert and Colgin. Cameron provides us with advice on how to produce clean, rich, full-bodied wines that are sure to please wine reviewers and consumers alike. We disregard it all, and continue to focus on making wines we love. Cameron is currently the General Manager at The Point, Relais & Chateaux.
- Andrew Welder. As a former sommelier turned restaurateur, Andrew has one of the sharpest palates I have ever had the pleasure to encounter. Andrew acts as our official taste-tester in addition to the much appreciated contribution of physical labor. Andrew owns Rockhill Restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ.
- Jacob Kiel. As the former Sommelier for the Hotel Fauchere, Relais & Chateaux, Jacob worked with Christopher and Isabel, and as part part of his training, trips to the winery were mandatory. Jacob has helped with nearly every aspect of the winery from sorting and crushing, to blending and bottling. Jacob continues to support Element Winery in Norway and our unofficial brand ambassador.
- Julia Grashaftel. She also came to the Hotel Fauchere to develop her skills in the hospitality industry and later took over for Jacob as sommelier. Like Jacob, winery work was an important part of her learning about wine. Julia now resides at home in Austria.
- Ron Hall. The contribution of physical labor can not be overlooked. Ron has helped every step of the way. He helped Bob with much of the day-to-day operations in the winery in the early days.
- Greg Bates. Always willing to help when the crunch is on. Greg has helped not only to bottle, but to help rebuild the bottling line itself.
- David Hansen. He drives up to the winery from Virginia to help bottle, crush, or press whenever we need it. At this point, his biggest impact has been helping us figure out this internet thing.
- Justin Recktenwald. Justin began working for Element Winery in 2012, and has been an amazing help ever since. He has since launched his own label, Wild Brute, but still works very closely with us as we both look to push ourselves to produce the best wine possible.