Bootstrapped vs. Funded Ventures: Chris Strieter of Senses Wines and Duchess Oakland Discusses the Benefits of Each
Born and raised in Sonoma County, one would think Chris Strieter was destined for the food and beverage industry from the beginning. However, it wasn’t until after college that he truly discovered a passion for his hometown’s claim to fame: wine. Drawn to mother nature and the incredible surroundings of his birthplace Occidental, CA, Strieter found himself most curious about all things physics and astronomy – an interest that led him to study mathematical economics and physics at Harvey Mudd College in 2010 with a goal to one day explore space.
Putting that dream momentarily on hold, Strieter went on to get his Master’s Degree in Finance from Claremont McKenna College but rather than pursue a career in consulting, he decided to work harvest at Red Car Winery. Upon realizing the work simultaneously involved the science of growing, the art of making and the business of selling, Strieter naturally fell into the wine industry. With dreams big enough to transcend space (literally!) and a desire to keep learning, he quickly climbed up the ranks with management roles at VinFillment, Williams Selyem and Uproot Wines while co-founding his own small-batch producer of Sonoma Coast Pinot noir and Chardonnay, Senses Wines in 2011. Since founding, Senses has grown to include many renowned vineyard sites and is proudly featured on wine lists at top restaurants throughout the US.
Naturally, it wasn’t long before Strieter set his sights on the food side of the industry as co-founder of Duchess – Oakland’s newest neighborhood destination offering California-inspired pub fare and a beverage-centric menu. When Strieter isn’t dreaming of wine, food or his eventual travels into space, he enjoys spending time in the outdoors hiking, backpacking and camping.