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About this Episode

Robert Tas talks to Chris Phelps, winemaker and owner-operator of Ad Vivum in Napa Valley.

He talks about his background in wine, how his son encouraged him to start making wine, and the origin story of  Ad Vivum, but throughout this interesting conversation, one thing is clear: Chris has an immense passion for the land, the grape, and, of course, the magical alchemy that happens when you bring the grape through fruition, fermentation, and finally the wine. 

Key points include:

  • How Chris began making wine

  • Chris’ philosophy on wine

  • Where the Californian wine industry is going

Transcript: Chris Phelps of Ad Vivum

Chris Phelps – Ad Vivum

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we typically review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. But today I have a special guest.

I’m your host Robert Tas along with Chris Phelps, founder and napa winemaker of Ad Vivum. He has an amazing wine pedigree. He studied viticulture and enology at both the University of Bordeaux and & the University of CA at Davis. During the 1982 vintage, he lived and worked on the Right Bank (I was SUPPOSED to be at Petrus, which is part of the story. I returned during the 1984 harvest for 4 months, living & working at Petrus...). In 1984 he became the founding winemaker at Dominus Estate in Napa, owned by Christian Moueix. Chris has worked at numerous notable wineries: like Caymus, Swanson, Inglenook, and consults throughout the west coast.

Chris, thank you for joining us here on CorkRules.

CP: …

So, Chris, let’s start with talking about your wine Ad Vivum. I’m super excited to try it. Can you share your story?

CP: Talk about the history, location, wine style, etc.

RT: How has your wine evolved from its first vintage to your latest release?

CP: …

RT: What’s on the horizon? Where do you want to take it?

CP: …

RT: So, let’s pivot a little to the state of the wine world. Where does CA wine-making stand today?


RT: There are some big challenges facing the wine world – climate, consumer changing habits, and distribution. Given where you sit, what are your thoughts?


RT: How do you get your wine into the hands of new consumers?


RT: One of the challenges, I see how do we get younger people into wine? I read your parents, like mine, introduced you to wine at young age? What can the industry do to get your generation into wine?



RT: Chris, Thank you so this fabulous discussion about our restaurant (winemaking) industry. It’s inspiring to be a part of this community.   

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for all our latest episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists and please download our app which has all your favorite restaurant wine lists, make personalized recommendations, and allows you to connect with your friends.   

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.








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