Who is Charles Smith?

April 26, 2010

2009 Winemaker of the Year – Food & Wine
“It’s just booze, drink it”
I wanted to give you all a brief insight into
the magical world that is Charles Smith and his wines.
He is a much respected winemaker, all the while
maintaining a laid-back, rock ‘n’ roll image and mentality.
His wines are reasonable priced and highly rated.
I chose to start with Charles Smith in my blog series
because I am enamored with his drive, his lifestyle,
his wine, his philosophy, and, most of all, his courage.
If only we all could go in the direction of our passion as he has.
I found a nice article on him at http://www.winecountryminute.com/
that I share with you below…
“Eleven years of living on a shoestring in Copenhagen
and traveling the back roads of Spain and Bulgaria
imbued Charles Smith with a remarkable passion for wine,
a prodigious capacity to consume it and an enduring love
for the good times of the European table.
But the wine world knew little about this California free spirit
until he met another adventurer in a Walla Walla wine bar;
the rest is history. After getting to know Christophe Baron,
the first Frenchman to establish an estate domaine
in Washington (Cayuse), Smith concluded
‘I want to change my life and I want to do it with wine.’
A master of the fine art of living well while poor,
Smith offered a $5,000 down payment (that he didn’t have)
to buy a wine store in Seattle. There he learned all aspects
of the trade, incognito, never revealing his plan to start a winery.
Talking to Smith on the lime green Adirondack chairs
on the front porch of his 19th Century farmhouse, one is taken
by the sensibility of the man. His passion comes from a
life-long love affair with wine as an enjoyer, not a vintner.
He regales us with stories of his first winters there,
sleeping on a futon, cold as a block of ice.
‘Not enough money for both barrels and beds’ he recalls.
This self-taught, foot-stomping winemaker has reached
the pinnacle of his profession with grit and determination,
while living on the edge. He produces wine under three labels,
K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines and Magnificent Wines
and is evaluating wine ventures around the world.
You can taste the passion in wines
that dazzle critics and feel the vibe in his descriptions:
‘It’s just booze – drink it.'”
Charles Smith Wines/Magnificent Wines/K Vintners
820 Mill Creek Road
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Phone: 509 526-5230