Chris Skakun

Having grown up in coastal Southern California, USA, Chris had his first introduction to wine from his Mum’s seemingly endless glass of Chardonnay. This, along with a passion for international travel, sparked a permanent interest in wine. During his first time at University, he added additional courses to his workload in order to continue his pursuit of wine. This was the beginning of a detour-ridden path to working in the wine industry. It was in one such course that a particular Central Otago Pinot Noir completely blew him away. Upon finishing the tasting pour of Pinot Noir, Chris recalled a childhood memory of pointing to New Zealand on a map and telling his parents “I’m going there.”

It seemed like his fate was sealed long ago.

Naturally, he would have to visit the place where he was so impressed with the wine. Chris first came to Central Otago on holiday in 2017. During his first week in New Zealand, and while on a wine tour to specifically taste every VALLI wine, he was offered a job in the wine industry. After sorting out a work visa, he moved to Gibbston, Central Otago, to work the 2018 harvest and has not looked back.

Not afraid to get his hands dirty and with a strong love for all things outdoors, it was a chance encounter at a “Christmas in July” party where Chris met Grant Taylor. The two agreed upon a weekend to get some work done in the garden. With an acute attention to detail, and over several years of answering any call for help from VALLI, Chris is incredibly fortunate to be part of the team.

Prior to joining VALLI full time, he has worked in several cellar doors in Central Otago before moving to the production side of things.