Christopher Bates has taken a circular route home opening Element Winery in the Finger Lakes with his father Bob in 2005. Originally from the Finger Lakes region he worked in the hospitality industry for fifteen years after graduating the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. His stints include General Manager & Executive Chef of Hotel Fauchère, Relais & Chateaux as well as the Inn at Dos Brisas, Relais & Chateaux.
In 2012 Christopher was named Best Young Sommelier in the World after winning Best Young Sommelier in America previously in the year. In 2013 he won the sommelier competition TopSomm. He passed his Master Sommelier Exam in May 2013. In May 2014 Christopher and his wife Isabel opened F.L.X. Wienery a gourmet hotdog and burger joint in the Finger Lakes. Recently they added a second Finger Lakes restaurant, the 12 seating fine dining FLX Table.