Smith Story Wine Cellars: A Story of True Love, Delicious Wines, and a Handsome Goldendoodle

Hello Friends,

I recently had the opportunity to take part in the first Charles Communications Brandlive virtual event of 2018, and what great fun it was. The live broadcast featured Smith Story Wine Cellars, along with a tasting of several of their recent releases from Sonoma County, California. The story of Smith Story Wine Cellars—a true love story—goes back some 15 years when Ali Smith and Eric Story met while working at K&L Wine Merchants. Ali was a marketing manager, hence her early adoption and use of social media, especially Twitter. Eric was one of the leading buyers for German, Loire Valley, Alsace, Austrian, and Greek wine.

A particularly fortuitous trip to the Anderson Valley, “way back when,” as Ali says, sowed the seeds of a dream that would one day become reality. She and Eric got engaged in 2012, and then eloped to Hawaii the following year. A day after saying “I do”, they poured more than 30 years of combined experience into their own brand, establishing Smith Story Wine Cellars in 2013. However, there was one small problem—decoupling the romantic vision of producing their own wines from financial realities. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: How do you make a small fortune in the winery business? You start with a large fortune! 

Smith Story Wine Cellars 2016 Sauvignon Blanc

The Story’s sought to make wine on a limited budget without sacrificing quality. To assist with start-up costs and fruit for their first vintage, Ali turned to social media and launched a “Farmers First” campaign on Kickstarter. After paying the grape-growers they were working with, they quickly reached their goal, becoming the first crowd-funded winery in the US.

I’m a fan of Smith Story’s handsome winery dog, Lord Sandwich. Check out his site at His loves for socks led to a great cause that you will want to be a part of! 

I’ll be remiss if I don’t mention Lord Sandwich, a handsome Goldendoodle whose love for socks led to a charitable cause and made him one of the top four-legged celebrities on social media. His popularity surely gave the aforementioned campaign a dog-sized boost! 

This is a winery I highly recommend putting on your radar. Ali and Eric source high-quality fruit from family-owned vineyards to craft appealing, limited-production wines worthy of your attention, dinner table, and cellar. The three wines reviewed below have freshness, airiness, and exceptional purity that I’m sure you’ll be more than pleased with. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

"Wine is our life, we are honored to now jump into the creative process of producing wines after decades of learning and selling wine for others. It is our hope that you invest in our story, fall in love with the wines and help us spread the joy of Smith Story Wine Cellars, we are humbled by this opportunity to follow our passion."  - Eric and Ali 

Smith Story Wine Cellars 2016 Sauvignon Blanc (SRP $25): Few wines capture springtime in the bottle like Sauvignon Blanc. And this is the Sauvignon Blanc you want to open during the warm months, be it poolside, on the patio, at a picnic, at the dinner table, or at a backyard get-together with family and friends. It is crisp and clean, with mouthwatering acidity propelling zesty citrus and white pitted fruit flavors. There’s a touch of lemongrass, rounded out by a wet stone-like mineral quality that lingers on the finish. A well-crafted wine that is notable for its vibrant purity of fruit, fresh character, and lovely but racy texture. This wine sells out quickly, so be sure to get yours soon. You won’t be disappointed! Only 775 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 13.9%, fermented and aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks, sourced from Knights Valley and Sonoma Mountain vineyards, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Smith Story Wine Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc

Smith Story Wine Cellars 2015 Cabernet Franc (SRP $40):  This is one of the most restrained examples of Cabernet Franc I’ve tasted from California. There's an elegance and freshness to it that’s quite inviting. Bright ruby in color, there are aromas and flavors of red berry fruits, a nip of savory herbs and spice, graphite, and shy, pretty floral notes. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and well-balanced, with streamlined texture, fine grained tannins, and a firm acidity, leaving a clean, polished finish. This is a wonderful solitary sipper and table wine. Only 200 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Sonoma County, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, matured 20 months in second and third-use French oak barrels, natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Smith Story Wine Cellars 2015 Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir

Smith Story Wine Cellars 2015 Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir (SRP $80): This is a single-vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir made from fruit sourced from The Klopp Family. Their Thorn Ridge vineyard is the fruit source for some of the top Pinot Noir out there. This light ruby-colored example packs pleasing aromas and juicy flavors of raspberry, pomegranate, and wild berry fruits, nicely accented by floral perfume, tea leaves, and exotic spice. A wine that’s just an overall pleasure to sip, it is sleek, harmonious, and supple in texture, with plenty of verve and freshness. It is very drinkable now, but a worthy cellar candidate, too. Only 100 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Sonoma Coast, California. Other info: ABV 13.5%, matured 16 months in second-and third-use French oak barrels—of which 25% were new,—natural cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

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