For Christine Benz, Senior Quality Manager at William Hill Estate Winery, her passion for wine is rooted in chemistry. “Smell is the only sense that travels through the same part of the brain that makes memories,” she noted. “Understanding chemistry and how aromas trigger memories means that you understand a very intimate way humans interact with the world and with wine.”
Christine became interested in wine while studying chemical engineering at Cornell University in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Surrounded by wineries and vineyards, the wine industry was hard to ignore. She quickly realized that winemaking takes all the fundamental sciences she loved and applies them to produce something tangible and fascinating. After this epiphany, Christine focused her studies on winemaking, interned at several wineries in the region, and ultimately decided she wanted to pursue wine as a career path. During graduate school, she interned with E. & J. Gallo on the chemical and sensory teams and joined the winery full-time upon graduation.
Throughout her career, Christine has supported quality assurance across various functions including analytical labs, microbiology labs, winemaking and bottling lines in Washington, the Central Coast of California, Napa and Sonoma.
As the Senior Quality Manager, Christine directly supports all winemaking and bottling activities to ensure top quality. “Our winery team puts a lot of thought into how we want our customers to experience William Hill Estate wine. It’s Quality’s role to make sure that we protect that vision throughout the winemaking process” she said. “I am lucky to have the opportunity to analyze the wine from vine to bottle, I couldn’t ask for a better job!”