At Home With Chris Mazepink

The winemaker's Oregon kitchen brings the great outdoors indoors
At Home With Chris Mazepink
From “Pizza and Pinot” Sunday dinners to coastal trips for mushroom foraging, the Mazepink family designed an outdoor-friendly home. (Andrea Johnson)
Sep 16, 2015

Archery Summit winemaker Chris Mazepink gestures toward his kitchen's large windows and glass door, at the herb garden, cherry and apple trees, hammock and smoker outside. Lake Oswego sits just beyond his property, where Mazepink, while preparing dinner, often spots bald eagles and ospreys hunting for theirs. "Our yard and our kitchen are separated by a wall," says Mazepink, "but it's really one space, the way we live within it."

Such is life in Oregon. "We're outdoors people, so we enjoy biking, swimming, skiing, fishing, hunting for mushrooms," Mazepink, 37, says of his family. "Food and wine is a big part of our life when we're inside, but it's a big part of our life outside, too."

As a winemaker, he spends much of his week in vineyards; on weekends, he takes his wife and sons fishing for salmon in the Deschutes or Columbia rivers, or to the coast for mushroom foraging. The family collects raw ingredients, whether at farmers markets or in the wild, then prepares and eats them at home. "We enjoy building some of our days around that process," Mazepink says. These weekend expeditions begin and end in the family's kitchen. "The food and lifestyle here—it's a very symbiotic relationship," he says.

Mazepink and his wife, Kariana, a dentist, moved into their home in the spring of 2013 after making some serious renovations, including to the kitchen area. "You want to test a relationship? Try and design a home with your partner," Mazepink laughs. In the process, the couple found that their respective sensibilities clash: She favors warmth and color; he, no-frills utility. As it stands now, their home represents a compromise. "We chose something that had the bones and warmth of an older, bungalow-Craftsman-cottage-type home, but also had the modern conveniences of a newer home," he says. The house had been built in the 1930s, remodeled in the 1980s, and was the perfect canvas for the young family's permanent living space. In the kitchen, Kariana got the varied lighting fixtures and Sonos sound system she wanted, while Mazepink got his stainless-steel and granite surfaces.

Kariana was unyielding on one point, however: She would bring her butcher block table. Mazepink wasn't so sure; he preferred to do his chopping on a bamboo cutting board. But his wife, who had owned the block for more than a decade, insisted, and now "it really is the focal point of our lifestyle," Mazepink admits. The block sits in the center of the kitchen, serving as the site of food preparation and, often, consumption. "Some of our greatest dinners have never left the butcher block," Mazepink says, describing his family as "grazers." Archer, 4, pulls up a step stool and tends to vegetables with a butter knife, sampling generously. Charles, 2, is still awaiting his cooking assignments.

"The butcher block allows you to interact more with the room, as opposed to having your back turned to the room," says Mazepink, noting that it likewise permits them to maintain their view of the lake while they cook. Plus, he adds, it centralizes the clean-up process.

The block also serves as the site of the family's much-anticipated "Pizza and Pinot" Sunday ritual. Mazepink and Kariana are pizza fanatics—they both once worked in pizza parlors—and Sunday is the only night on which they consistently have enough time to make pies from scratch. "It is a great punctuation point to the weekend, to all be in the kitchen together making pizza," Mazepink says. "And, honestly, Monday lunch is so nice." They improvise the dough recipe, riffing on a basic formula with pinches of rosemary, thyme or other herbs they've harvested from their garden. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better wine pairing for these mushroom-heavy pizzas than Oregon Pinot Noir.

When it comes to wine, Mazepink describes himself and Kariana as "Chardonnay devotees." They love cool-climate Chardonnays from Oregon and California; some favorites are Rhys, Mt. Eden and Marcassin. Bubbles, especially grower Champagnes, are not reserved for special occasions. They've previously enjoyed bottles from Gimmonet-Oger, Alexandre Linique and Pierre Peters. But it's white Burgundy that makes Mazepink weak in the knees. He sometimes pops over to Burgundy to work the harvest before Oregon's begins. Recalling a stint at Etienne Sauzet in Puligny-Montrachet, Mazepink says, "It makes the harvest period long, but I bring home a lot of white Burgundy, so my wife allows me to do it."


Photo Gallery

The Mazepink family Foraging for food The banks of Lake Oswego Mazepink Sous Chef The Mazepinks' kitchen The 275-bottle wine cooler Family Dinner Weekend Dinner Home-made pizzas Home-spiced pizza dough
Design Cellars United States Oregon

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