2006 Purdue–Silicon Valley Symposia

Tales from a Boiler/Winemaker

Christian Butzke

Associate Professor of Enology
Department of Food Science
Purdue University

Prior to joining Purdue, Christian Butzke was director of winemaking for Sakonnet Vineyards, coastal New England’s premier winery. There he continued a tradition of crafting luxury estate wines in a cool climate that closely resembles that of some of the world’s greatest “old wine” regions. His winemaking philosophy is to create wines as gently and elegantly as possible, and to have them reflect the delicate aromas and subtle finesse of the local vineyards. This noninterventionist approach is shared by the world’s most progressive winemakers and respects centuries-old traditions while applying the most advanced scientific knowledge about the nature of wine and grapes. The results are award-winning wines that are unique, healthy, and extraordinarily delicious.

Butzke was a tenured faculty member in the world-renowned Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis before becoming a winemaker at Sakonnet Vineyards. In California, he was the liaison between the university and more than 1,200 wineries statewide. A leading wine expert in the United States, he has authored 30-plus scientific and popular publications on wine. His research addresses wine quality issues from fermentation problems and cork taint to proper wine storage.

Co-founder of the Joint Burgundy-California-Oregon Winemaking Symposia, Butzke served as enology program chair for the wine industry's largest conference (the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium) and director of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (the winemakers’ professional guild).