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Charles Smith

Few winemakers have a story like Charles Smith! Born and raised an hour from Napa Valley, he didn’t discover his love of wine until he moved to Europe where he managed a number of rock bands, including the acclaimed Danish duo, The Raveonettes. It was the rock n’roll lifestyle on the road that sparked his passion for wine. In fact Charles looks rather like a rock star, and so do his wines, with their iconic street cred labels and names like Boom Boom, Kung Fu Girl, The Velvet Devil, Eve, and Band of Roses! In 1999 whilst on a road trip to Walla Walla, Washington State, he met a winemaker who convinced him to start making his own wine; wines that would reflect his own story and vision. A self-taught winemaker, Charles released 330 cases of his first vintage in 2001. Eight years later he was be named Wine maker of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine, and again in 2014 by Wine Enthusiast. Charles has a huge respect for old world wine-making techniques; his wines are truly unique. He is a fan of foot-crushing grapes, uses native yeast fermentation, spontaneous malolactic fermentation, gentle basket pressing, his reds undergo a long maceration of 30 days or more on the skins, with no racking after malolactic fermentation is completed - they go to the barrel “dirty, on their gross lees” he says. For the whites he eschew lees stirring to retain the character and flavours of the grapes. Once his wines are ready, he is unpretentious, saying “drink it any way you like it”. The purest grapes, the purest process, and one rule: no compromises – that’s why Washington wine is so awesome!