Central Coast AVA
Chris’ wines are only available at a handful of exclusive locations
A native of Corona del Mar in Orange County, California, Mile 216 Owner Chris Olsen discovered his passion for wine while attending college at University of California in Santa Barbara. After taking a wine tasting course, Chris began making trips to the nearby Santa Ynez Valley and fell in love with the region and culture of wine. His first job out of college as a mortgage broker didn’t last for more than a year before he dropped everything to follow his heart and plan a future in the wine business.
In 1999, Chris and his childhood friend Jeff Schroeder opened a boutique retail wine store called The Wine Gallery, back home in Corona del Mar. The friends were only in their mid-twenties when they opened the location, but their business intuition and passion for wine certainly paid off. After three years, they added a tasting bar and in 2007, expanded into the suite next door to add a mini kitchen for preparing paninis, small plates, and pizzas. In 2012, the pair opened a second Wine Gallery space in nearby Laguna Beach - it was the first wine bar in town and an instant success. Today, the Wine Gallery is a landmark in Orange County for wine lovers who are looking for rare, limited-production wines.
Sourcing wines for the store lead Chris Olsen on many trips back north to Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. The trip, which was 216 miles from his home in Newport Beach, eventually became the source of inspiration for his own wine label, which he named Mile 216. The name also pays homage to Santa Barbara, where Chris’ love for wine began.
Born in 2009, Mile 216 is an ultra-boutique wine label that produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from select vineyards on California’s Central Coast, namely the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands. Chris works closely with winemaker Kevin Law, who’s minimalist winemaking style fits perfectly with Chris’ taste for elegant, refined wines. Mile 216 wines are currently only available at Chris’ two Wine Gallery locations and a handful of exclusive restaurants and hotels.