Sunday, July 06, 2008

Chris Kent's Journey to Winemaking at Woodhall Wine Cellars in Maryland

Chris Kent, Woodhall Wine Cellars (7/08)
Television production and winemaking may seem like an unlikely pair for most, but for Chris Kent, they are a perfect fit. Kent is the winemaker for Woodhall Wine Cellars in Parkton and has been a part of the team for 15 years.
With a broadcast journalism degree from Louisiana State University, Kent traveled up to Maryland believing he would enter the broadcast industry.

Stuck with looking for a new job in a new area, mutual friends introduced Kent to the Woodhall clan. A part-time job at the winery in 1993 turned into a new beginning for Kent. As he continued to look for another job in the television industry, Kent was unaware that his true calling was right under his nose.

“It ultimately turned into an unintended career change,” Kent said. “I’m glad for it, too.”

Under the guidance of owner, Al Copp, and then winemaker Ray Brasfield, Kent had great teachers to point him in the right direction. He had the basics of winemaking down and learned more as his career progressed.

“It went from mild curiosity to something that was completely fascinating to me,” Kent said. “It turned into a true passion.”

His passion is what drives him each day, each season. Kent is extremely knowledgeable about the different grapes in the different vintages. He is aware and understands that what worked last year does not guarantee anything for the upcoming growing season.

“It is the element of mystery and adventure that keeps winemaking from being mundane,” said Kent. “Each year offers something different and new; you become excited and fired up.