Kate Nowell-Smith, Winemaker.
Over the last decade, I have been fortunate enough to work with some wonderful winemakers, in some of the finest vineyards throughout Sonoma County.
My first chance to work with estate fruit came at Michel-Schlumberger, in the Dry Creek Valley, where in 2008 they took a chance on me, a food writer and recipe tester, who was good with a broom. My first job there was to stir the lees in their Chardonnay barrels, something I still love to do.
In 2010 I moved on to Stuhlmuller Vineyards, in the Alexander Valley, where Leo Hansen taught me much about native fermentation, and respecting the fruit. I absolutely fell in love with Stuhlmuller's Cabernet Sauvignon, and have been working with it ever since. You'll find my Cab from this vineyard for sale on this website.
From there, I went to the Russian River Valley, where I spent five years learning from Alex Davis at his family winery, Porter Creek Vineyards. Alex taught me a great deal about organic farming, and making classic, elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. I also managed to fit in chemistry classes, and the completion of my UC Davis Extension Winemaker's Certificate during this time, which have provided a strong compliment to my hands-on experience.
For the 2017 and 2018 vintages I was back in the Dry Creek Valley, where, as Assistant Winemaker at Lambert Bridge, I had the chance to work with an amazing number of varieties, in vineyards all over Sonoma County: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon were all part of the portfolio. We blended extensively there, and I'll never fail to be amazed by what a difference even a 1% change in blend composition can make to a wine.
In 2015 I was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to farm and make wine from a 2.5 acre Grenache vineyard in the foothills of Fitch Mountain, in the Russian River Valley AVA. To be able to care for the vines that grow the grapes that make one's wine is the ultimate full circle. This project has been a real labor of love, more so because I was able to successfully farm the vineyard using organic methods. With this fruit available to me, it seemed only natural to begin my own label, so that is what I did. And if I were to have my own label, it only made sense to increase my production of Cabernet Sauvignon, so that I could offer that to my customers as well.
As a winemaker, there is still so much to explore, and every harvest brings a chance to refine my techniques. One thing I can say for certain is that if I offer you a wine on this website, it has been made with love, and great care, and I believe that it is adding something good to this amazing world of wine. I am deeply grateful to my customers for enabling me to do this, thank you!