Today we speak to rock n’ roll wine maker Charles Smith:
Growing up just outside of Sacramento, California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Charles Smith began craving worldly travel at a young age due to his Welsh mother and French father. As soon as he had the chance, Charles decided to move to Denmark (for a “hot piece of ass” as he likes to explain it i.e. a lady friend he met in the States).
While in Scandinavia, Charles spent the next nine years managing rock bands and concert tours throughout Europe, including the famed Danish duo, The Ravonettes. Wining and dining while on the road became a catalyst for his passion of wine, which ultimately triggered the career he has today. In 1999, he moved back to the United States, specifically to the Pacific Northwest, opening a wine shop on Bainbridge Island, just across the Puget Sound from downtown Seattle. On a road trip in late 1999, he passed through the small town of Walla Walla and met a young Frenchman and winemaker. The two found their common passion for great Syrah and Charles decided to move to Walla Walla and make his own juice. In 2001, Charles released 330 cases of his first wine, the 1999 K Syrah. Fast forward 15 years, Charles is now the largest independent and winemaker-owned winery in the state of Washington, producing over 500,000 cases for his family of brands, which includes K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines, ViNO, Secco Italian Bubbles, SIXTO and Wines of Substance.
A self-taught winemaker, Charles is a true artisan and a pioneer in the wine world. In 2008, K Vintners was recognized by Wine & Spirits magazine as one of the “Best New Wineries of the Last Ten Years,” and as “Winery of the Year” in their annual buying guide. In 2009, Food & Wine magazine awarded Charles “Winemaker of the Year” and in 2010 Seattle Magazine recognized Charles as their “Winemaker of the Year.”
Charles has received a total of 65 scores of 95 points and above, and 297 scores of 90 points above, from the leading wine publications (Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits). Recently featured on Bloomberg Television, Heritage Radio Network and Huffington Post, Charles Smith Wines is the largest independent and winemaker-owned winery in Washington State with wines sold in all fifty states and eighteen countries worldwide.
As for Charles’ personal style:
Pants: I don’t wear pants.
Suits: Tom Ford is my go-to for suits.
Accessories: One of my favorite accessories is my vintage
Outerwear: Filson, baby.
Favorite Cologne: As a winemaker, I go with my own scent which is very clean, with Dr. Bronners Lavender soap.
Your favorite App: My Pandora app.
Favorite piece of technology: A wine opener.
Next tech purchase: I just bought the new iPad Air for the music system at my new house.