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The WineSmith Family

ABOUT US

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY

Postmodern winemaking is the practical art of connecting the human soul to the soul of a place by rendering its grapes into liquid music.  Our object is to deliver wines of classic balance and structural integrity which develop soulful profundity and graceful longevity through sustainable farming in living soil and a skilled hand in the cellar. 

Through WineSmith’s four decades, we have forged lasting relationships with dedicated growers who share our commitment to living soil, vine balance, sustainable farming and correct ripeness.  We work with a large and growing band of colleagues throughout the world who share the philosophy of excellence articulated in Postmodern Winemaking, Rethinking the Modern Science of an Ancient Craft – a school of cuisine that utilizes tools old and new to allow nature to work its magic. 

We aspire to explore traditions beyond the mainstream such as sulfite-free winemaking and other experimental winemaking techniques as well as applying European aesthetics in the New World to lesser-known varietal oddities and sometimes obscure Old World practices.

Our wines are always intriguing, never boring, sometimes even impossible. There is a message in every bottle. 

VINEYARDS

VINEYARD

We own no vineyards. Tending grapes of the quality we require is a fulltime job. We have built long-standing relationships with highly dedicated growers who understand our needs and share our values.

BOTTLE

BOTTLE

WineSmith wines employ élevage techniques we learned in southern France. Our method is to create wines of good structural integrity that integrates aromas. Profundity is achieved through the action of a complex microbiome over years in bottle. Thus we never fine or filter our reds if we can avoid it.

GRAPES

VINEYARD

We Smiths explore skillfully crafted experimental wines that explore traditions beyond the mainstream. We delight in working with little-known varieties made in a balanced, ageworthy Eurocentric style.

CORK CLOSURES

CONSULTING

We find that natural cork is the best closure for ageworthy wines. Our advanced QC methodology assures that tainted wine is rare.

BARREL

BARREL

We don't own any barrels less that 20 years old. We love what long aging in neutral barrels does for complexity, but hate the unpredictable, aggressive flavors of new oak and abhor the practice of cutting down 200-year-old trees. We want our barrels to outlive us. If we want oaky nuances, we use carefully crafted chips. So shoot me.

SENSORY PROPERTIES

TASTING

We strive for grace and balance and avoid flashy "impact wines". Our wines are generally low in alcohol, often aromatically closed when young, and fruit-centered rather than fruit-forward. Oak is never apparent. Cellaring is rewarded with development of soulful profundity.

FROM CUSTOMERS AND COLLEAGUES

TESTIMONIALS

Smith’s ability to make wines that have an almost endless appetite for oxygen is unprecedent.
Deborah Parker Wong
2021 Slow Wine Guide
23 February 2021
As a fellow winemaker, I believe and preach that Clark has done more to innovate wine quality than any other living winemaker. His Postmodern Winemaking is required reading for all my new employees.
Scott Harvey
Scott Harvey Wines
10 October 2020
Over my many years as a wine industry professional I have worked with innumerable master winemakers, but Clark Smith truly stands above them all. He possesses the most comprehensive understanding of the complexities of wine of anyone I’ve ever known in the business, and his ability to communicate his knowledge is unparalleled.
Dr. Steven Krebs
Dean of Viticulture and Winery Technology, Napa Valley College
14 November 2012
I’m pretty much always a sucker for WineSmith wines.
Some guy
Comments section, casemates.com
21 November 2011

FROM WINEMAKER

Clark Smith

I’ve been in the wine business since 1972 when I dropped out of MIT and got a job in an Oakland, California wine shop. I completed the BS and MS programs at UC Davis, built R.H. Phillips in the ’90s, and founded Vinovation in 1992, providing high tech services and consulting for over a thousand wineries, originally centered around the reverse osmosis VA and alcohol adjustment techniques I invented.

In 1984 I began teaching a short course at UC Davis called Fundamentals of Wine Chemistry, which continued for 24 years and was one of their most popular courses, attended by everyone from home winemakers to seasoned professionals. In the early ’90s, I began to see cracks in the theories I’d been taught at school and began to focus on French winemaking aesthetics and techniques. I felt I was making really good white wines and terrible reds, and this led me on a journey to rediscover what red wine itself actually is.

VIDEO INTERVIEW

Wines That Matter

An introduction to Clark Smith’s postmodern philosophy and the path that led him to write a book about it. He seeks to end the bad marriage between wine makers and wine lovers through honest dialogue, dismissing the attacks of the natural wine movement as ill informed and destructive to wine education. Clark lists the guiding principles of the WineSmith project and what consumers can count on.