Christopher Bates was drawn to food from the time he could reach the kitchen counter and was tutored in cooking at his mother's side. At age 14, he began working his way through restaurants in both the front and back of house before attending the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in New York. During this time Bates developed an avid interest in wine. By age 21, he had moved into his first sommelier position, passed his introductory Sommelier Exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS), and competed in the American Sommelier Association (ASA) Best Sommelier in America Competition.
Bates’ love of food and wine took him to both Italy and then to the Mosel region of Germany to make wine. In 2005, Bates opened his first restaurant in Italy, but after a year, the partners went separate ways. Christopher moved back to the United States, where he accepted a position as general manager and sommelier at the secluded Inn at Dos Brisas near Chappell Hill in Texas. During his tenure, the boutique hotel earned coveted Relais & Chateaux and Grand Chef de Relais & Chateaux status, as well as a Mobil Five-Star rating.
Today, Bates is the general manager and executive chef of the Relais & Chateaux Hotel Fauchere in Milford, Pennsylvania. In addition to his return to the kitchen, Bates and his business partner, Isabel Bogadtke, make wines for his own Element Winery located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Element Winery currently produces 800 cases of Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah, as well as vin de liqueur and an apple brandy.
Bates is a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) and Certified Spirit Specialist (CSS), and he teaches for the ASA. He occasionally writes for the Sommelier Journal and is a contributor to the ASA’s new textbook.
In 2010, Bates competed at the 1st annual Somm Slam at the StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress in New York, New York. That same year, Bates won the Wines of South Africa World Cup of Wine competition. In 2011, he took third place at the Best Sommelier in American Competition in New York, New York. He is currently preparing for the Best Young Somm competition and his Master Sommelier Exam. He is also planning the opening of a third, more casual, restaurant and bakery with Hotel Fauchere’s Executive Pastry Chef, Benjamin Youngquest. He works closely with his Sommelier and Beverage Director Jacob Kiel in creating Hotel Fauchere’s beverage program. And he lists his mentors as Master Sommelier Guy Stout, Andrew Welder, former Cornell Professor Abby Nash, and executive Chef Craig Hartman.