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Clark Smith | Grape Legends

    Winemaker Clark Smith of Two Jakes of Diamonds and his own WineSmith label has dedicated for four decades his widely varied talents as a consulting winemaker, inventor, author, musician, and teacher to the Wine Industry throughout the globe. Founding Winemaker for R. H. Phillips in the 1980s, he began WineSmith Consulting in 1990 and founded Vinovation, Inc. in 1992 to commercialize new winemaking technologies including ultrafiltration and micro-oxygenation and holds patents for VA removal and alcohol adjustment via reverse osmosis. Author of Wine and Spirits magazine’s 2013 Book of the Year, the revolutionary Postmodern Winemaking from U.C. Press, his popular “Fundamentals of Wine Chemistry” short course created at UC Davis has trained over 3,000 winemaking professionals over its 28-year run. Smith directs the Best of Appellation awards for AppellationAmerica.com, teaches at CSU Fresno and Florida International University,and is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on pairing wine with music.

    Interview Series – Click each question below to load it, above.

    » Aaron Pott said “One of the key concepts in making wine–that I think is very important–is a non-interventionist style.”

    » Can you offer a crash course on the flavors imparted by wood harvested in the USA, and that which is, abroad?

    » About wine, you wax colorfully: “A baffling collection of hexagonal…” Do your scholastic discoveries intensify your enjoyment of wine or drive a wedge between it?

    » Expound on your belief that “one cannot buy their way into quality.”

    » I hear of a “natural wine movement,” but I certainly don’t see evidence of one.

    » You’ve postulated that the native vegetation, around the vineyard, is apart of the terroir’s expression.

    » On one hand, I sense an advocacy for “living” soils–teeming with microbial life–but, on the other, a soil riddled with rocks–lacking life, per se–is highly desired. So it appears we’ve got a situation of one wanting to have their cake and eat it, too.

    » Longevity

    » If we freeze wine, do we adversely affect it?

    » Knowledge of the wine’s alcohol content–it’s that little bit of knowledge that could be dangerous.

    » Describe the counterintuitive phenomenon with regard to oxygen uptake

    » You’ve said “I don’t like to race wines, like horses.”

    » Of all the tools at the winemaker’s disposal, is there one that shouldn’t be employed?

    » “I’ve[Robert M. Parker, Jr.] said this frequently: Over-extraction does not equal deep & very concentrated, but rather, nasty, bitter tannins that make a wine undrinkable from harshness. That word is a tipoff of ignorance and should be banned from wine jargon.”

    » I thought that “Premox” would have been right up your alley.

    » You often refer to the presence of “minerality,” yet you admit to being completely unaware of what it is.

    » You’ve said that “Mourvedre always tastes like brett, right out of the fermenter.” Could you speak to the tendencies of other grapes?

    » “Leave winemaking to winemakers,” said you.

    » “Appellation Craziness”