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WineSmith Wines & Consulting

I’ve been making and selling wine in California since 1972. I enjoy teaching, writing, and singing about wine, so I wear a lot of hats. I built this site to clarify these involvements

– Clark Smith

Our
Technical Specializations

We have learned a lot about smoke taint, but much mystery remains, and much currently widely held belief is likely false.

GrapeCraft Wine Academy, a coalition of wine professionals based in Sonoma County, California providing innovative education to wine lovers of every stripe.

The purpose of micro-oxygenation (MOx) is to bring about desirable changes in wine texture and aroma which cannot be obtained by traditional ageing techniques.

see information below for our small-winery startup sequence.

Because optimum results are incumbent upon fruit composition, we actively support winegrape quality through onsite vineyard attention. We are not viticulturists. Our expertise is the relationship between vineyard circumstances and the needs of the client winery.

Membrane technology

Sulfite-free wine production

Crush coaching

Problem solving

A Little history
goes a long way

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.

A Few Ways
Clark Smith
Can Help You

01.

Consulting

Besides making my own wines, I consult for other wineries in technical matters, shepherd start-ups, and coach winemakers on the use of music in their work.

02.

Courses

I conduct wine-making classes throughout the world and lecture at CSU Fresno and at Florida International University, where I also direct research in cognitive enology and conduct educational tours.

03.

Books

The technical quality of wine today far surpasses its condition in the 1970s, when half the wines on the shelf had serious technical flaws. Most wine today is completely made, and the challenge has shifted to grasping its vast multiplicity.

04.

Videos

If you are looking to explore what we have already creating in the media space look no further than our curated videos.

Artistic Specializations

Wines

Our winemaking philosophy is aligned with the principles of Postmodern Winemaking. We are part of a worldwide courageous cadre of winemakers and growers throughout the world dedicated to exploring its mysteries. Wine is something ancient and venerated, recognized as sacred in Roman times and long before. But 20th century ideas have riven the soul from wine and rendered it into a bland commodity. Now we’re getting back to what the ancients knew: that living soil matters, that wine integrates its flavors through refined structure, that when it possesses soulfulness, wine is (as Ben Franklin observed) “proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Planet Pluto Wines

Planet Pluto Meritage boldly goes where no California win has gone before.

Penny Farthing Wines

The whimsical pennyfarthing bicycle evokes bygone days when life was simpler and more joyful.

WineSmith Wines

WinesSmith wines strive to speak with a focused voice to deliver a visceral experience.  We look at wine as “liquid music” and our goal is “an opera in the bottle.” 

Wine & music pairing

This site is an invitation to a collaborative, interactive discussion concerning the relationship of wine and music, hosted by WineSmith Wines and its winemaker Clark Smith.

Creative writing

In Postmodern Winemaking, Clark Smith shares knowledge he has accumulated in engaging, humorous, and erudite essays that convey a new vision of the winemaker's craft...

New Brand Development

Take a look at our Small Winery Start-Up Sequence. This is critical for small businesses putting their best foot forward with our years of consulting expertise. We look forward to helping you.

America’s Invisible
Winemaking Revolution

Although seldom recognized in the press, we are living in a Golden Age of American winemaking.

The United States now has over 10,000 small wineries.  While a few are centuries old, most are first generation start-up “Mom and Pop” operations that emerged within the last 40 years, and their numbers increase 5% each year.

This is not a game for sissies. The utter simplicity of making decent wine in a trash can in the garage belies the dizzying complexity of basic wine chemistry to make a consistent and inspiring product.  Because it takes so long, winemaking entrepreneurs encounter unique financial and administrative challenges, to say nothing of natural disasters and daunting regulatory hurdles and trade barriers.

On the positive side, all of us are in this solely for the love of connecting the human soul to the soul of a place by rendering its grapes into liquid music.  Winemaking is hard work, but it’s playful work.  In addition, new technologies are constantly emerging to give small winemakers an edge.

WineSmith Wines & Consulting is a perfect sidekick precisely because we are small and thus share your problems.  Over 58 vintages, we have made a lot of mistakes through which we are now equipped to advise you on a better path in winery design, equipment selection, lab techniques, inventory tracking, cost tracking, financial planning, compliance, communication, automation, and of course, the latest winemaking tools.

After playing many years in the big leagues, I find I enjoy working with the small guy, the start-up, the one-on-one where I can be a sounding board and provide a second opinion. I particularly like to help growers invent their own brands.  I want to assist you in following your own dream, not mine.

Small Winery
Start-Up Sequence

Purpose
Most small wineries don’t start out by defining their purpose. Typically, you make some wine in a trash can in your garage, then pour it for your friends and they say “Hey, this is really good. You should open up a winery!” So away you go.
Team Systems
Even if there is only one person in the company who wears all the hats, an awareness of the whole hat rack helps to budget time to attend to each and to realize when the time has come for outsourcing or hiring employees.
Profitability Plan
Winemaking is a unique type of manufacturing. Certain “products” will be in production (crush to bottling) for several months.
Vineyard Design
The principles of Vineyard Enology should guide the establishment of the vineyard from the start. Once we have grapes, the seasonal calendar will direct activities to achieve living soils, vine balance and proper harvest maturity.
Creating Wine Styles
The development of wine products is a long process involving experimentation and patience, failing your way to success. Projects must be viable in the vineyard and the marketplace and be satisfying to the proprietors.
Winemaking Protocols
Once wine programs have been determined, our systems for document processing strategies for planning harvest parameters, cooperage requirements for tanks and barrels and preordering yeasts and adjuncts. The harvest plan becomes a record of what actually happened for planning future harvests.
Building Design
Any mistake in winery design will haunt the winemaker forever. WineSmith speciallizes in carefully designed winery floor plans for every budget. We are not achitects, but we are experts at functional design imperatives most architects would never think of.
Equipment Choices
Once winemaking protocols are determined, we assist in the selection of equipment purchases in tandem with winery floor plans to house them. We have forst-hand experience with hundreds of suppliers and thousands of equipment items.
Marketing
Organizing an effective marketing regimen can be a huge time sink. Our email campaign and social media organization includes a complex array of mostly free software for which we have already climbed the learning curve. Every winery is different in the things they will gladly and regularly maintain to tell your stories and connect with customers new and old.
Sales
Today's wine markets are divided into six important general channels: Tasting room, wine clubs/DTC, events, wholesale sales to retailers/restaurants and sales to distributor. Each channel is very complex and requires in-depth knowledge to work effectively and avoid wasted time and money.

Great People.
Amazing Experiences.
Beautiful Learning.

what our clients say about us

amazing things happen together

Use the form below to reach out or any of the forms of contact. We look forward to connecting with you soon.