No restraint. No fear. That simple credo sums up the winemaking philosophy of Christian Tietje, Four Vines founder and rogue winemaker with an in-your-face passion for big reds. He founded Four Vines in his garage-cum-surf shack with not much more than determination, a love of Zinfandel and a kick-ass idea: he wanted to make four “killer zins” from the four top appellations for old vine Zinfandel grapes: Napa, Sonoma, Amador and Paso Robles. Four Vines exploded onto the scene with “Maverick,” “Sophisticate” and “Biker.” Each wine reflects the unique flavors, structure and character imparted by terroir, a reflection of the soil, air, water and surroundings in which the grapes were grown, while also showing the bold, fruit-forward, food-friendly style that would become Christian’s trademark. Sultry, velvety Syrahs came next and Christian moved to Paso Robles to build a winery and immerse himself in the wild western frontier of California-grown Rhone varietals. In Paso, Chris went native. He dove head first into the surf of nearby Cayucos (a local break is aptly named “Killers”) and into the juice of the big red grapes that thrived in the heat of this valley (in nearby Kiler Canyon he planted Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvedre). Not to be left entirely out of the white wine conversation, Christian created an equally bold statement in white. Naked Chardonnay was the first no-oak chard introduced in California, inspired by Christian’s love of food and past work as an aspiring chef. Crisp, concentrated Chardonnay with all its natural acid, Naked exhibits apple, white peach, and pear, finishing long with hints of citrus and mineral. Soon to follow were some extraordinary single vineyard wines: Dusi, Bailey, One Tree Hill. The best of the Rhone winemakers bestowed upon Christian their highest honor, by choosing his wine, the 2006 Four Vines Syrah Santa Barbara Los Alamos Vineyard One Tree Hill Block, as the best Syrah at the 2009 Hospice du Rhone Syrah Shoot Out. Today Christian Tietje continues to push the limits of full-contact winemaking.