The WineSmith Family
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.
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.
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.
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.
We find that natural cork is the best closure for ageworthy wines. Our advanced QC methodology assures that tainted wine is rare.
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.
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
ASSISTANT WINEMAKER & OFFICE QUEEN
Sandra’s passion for wine first began as a server at fine dining establishment in 1999. During her training, Sandra had the pleasure to visit beautiful vineyards throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties, meeting winemakers and learning basic winemaking practices. Exploring and learning about winemaking led Sandra to another passion, Event Planning and later to her dream career with WineSmith.
Sandra enrolled in a Business and Hospitality program in Santa Rosa in 2006. After graduating, she moved forward in her career as event coordinator for some of Sonoma County’s most popular wedding destinations. She took leave from hospitality to raise her two beautiful boys and explore a career in the caretaking field.
Life’s journey eventually led Sandra to WineSmith Wines & Consulting, starting as an office assistant in 2016. After two years of learning the business ropes, compliance processes, winemaking processes, and customer service, Clark offered to mentor Sandra and mold her into his own homegrown assistant winemaker.
As assistant winemaker to one of the industry’s most influential people, Sandra oversees all aspects of managing day-to-day operations from composing harvest contracts, vineyard oversight, harvest, procurement, inventory management and cost-of-goods tracking through bottling, marketing, sales and customer relations.
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.
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.