Stu SmithGeneral Partner, Enologist, Smith-Madrone
|Stu (right, with brother, Charles and Sam|
Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery. Also in the family attic is the Fetherolf family, German farmers from the Palatinate region, who came to America on the Good Ship Thistle in 1730. The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.
In May 1971, with a partnership of family and friends, Stuart Smith bought the 'terroir' which today is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & winery. He was 22 years old and had just received his B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and was taking classes towards his Master's in Viticulture at UC Davis. In trying to find land to plant vineyard in the Napa Valley, through a family friend he explored a forest on the remotest and highest part of Spring Mountain and discovered that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s and in fact had been part of the wagon trail route between Napa and Santa Rosa. Today he is respected for his expertise and leadership as a mountain vineyardist.
Stuart was born and raised in Santa Monica. While pursuing his master's at UC Davis, Stuart was the first teaching assistant for wine industry pioneers Maynard Amerine and Vernon Singleton in 1970-1971. He taught enology at Santa Rosa Junior College and Napa Valley College; he has chaired the 1986 and 2006 Napa Valley Wine Auctions. He is an active member of the G.O.N.A.D.S. (the Gastronomical Order for Nonsensical and Dissipatory Society), a group of Napa Valley vintners who started getting together for monthly lunches in the 1980s. He served on Napa County's Watershed Task Force for several years, appointed by the Board of Supervisors; in 2006 he was appointed again by the Board of Supervisors to sit on Napa County General Plan Steering Committee, responsible for updating Napa's General Plan, a three year project. Stu also serves as auctioneer for an Omaha (NB) charity auction every year.
Stuart served as Scout Master for St. Helena's (Boy Scout) Troop One for many years. He is an avid canoeist, having canoed through the Quetico Wilderness in Canada many times and often canoes the Klamath and Trinity Rivers in California. He has five children and two grandchildren; the family includes a photographer, beekeeper/artist, management information specialist, up-and-coming winemaker, wine distributor salesman and high school sophomore.
Smith Madrone Riesling
Beginning with their 1983 Riesling vintage, Smith-Madrone boldly went where no other American winery would go for the next 17 years – changing their label from Johannisberg Riesling to the true and correct name – Riesling. This is just one example of the winery’s commitment to this wonderful and somewhat overlooked varietal. At Smith-Madrone their goal is to make artisanal wines which are distinctive and are an expression of both the vintage and the vintners, but above all else, are wines which bring pleasure to the senses.
Every year Smith-Madrone wine is made from the same vineyards, pruned by the same people in the same way, cultivated in exactly the same manner and harvested at similar levels of maturity, yet Mother Nature stamps each vintage with a unique set of flavors, senses and character. Vintage dating is a celebration of that uniqueness and diversity.