Charles Thomas Prescribes a Glass a Day

A longtime wine-maker raises a glass to the health benefits of sipping.
This summer, Plainfield’s Chateau Thomas Winery will again host its Friday-night Music on the Veranda outdoor concert series—a favorite food-and-drink event for the lawn-chair crowd. But if you walk into the winery itself, there’s a good chance “the doctor” will be in. Sitting in his cluttered office—its walls festooned with awards, family photos, and a sign reading “Master of the Bordeaux”—Dr. Charles Thomas explains that the secret to a long life is wine.

For him, it all started in the early 1970s, when Thomas—at the time a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist—found himself increasingly infatuated with wine. “At first, I was just making homemade wine in my basement,” he says. “But then I became interested in all aspects of wine, such as how it is made and the science of it.” Thomas, who turns 83 this month, now oversees the birth of approximately 60,000 bottles a year, all made with shipments of grapes from West Coast vineyards fermented here and transformed into 45 to 50 annual varieties of Chateau Thomas wine. “Wine is not only a food, but wine is good for your health. The government won’t let me say that,” he says. “But of course, it is true. The secret to a long life is one glass of wine a day.”

Doctor’s orders.

Charles Thomas’s Favorite Things
(1) Ruth’s Chris Steak House: “I’m partial to a medium-rare filet. But I also like a bone-in steak, like a porterhouse.”
(2) Revery: “It’s a delightful place that opened in Greenwood, near where I live.”
(3) Swai: “It’s my favorite fish—a Vietnamese catfish. My wife gets it at Marsh, and we have it about once a week.”
(4) Chef Joseph’s at the Connoisseur Room: “Joe Heidenreich is a friend of mine. He and I went to Spain together about 15 years ago. He likes spicy things.”