Smith Story In the Press!
San Francisco Chronicle: “California wineries can’t make enough of this suddenly-popular grape”, featuring Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc. 1/18/23 Jess Lander
VINEPAIR: Smith Story Wine Cellars Helluva Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 Review, 92pts.
Husband and wife team Eric Story & Alison Smith-Story's...story is so storied it won't fit in a review, so please go to their website and marvel at their traveled wine experience. While you are there, just smash the buy button for this one. From the northern end of Cali's wine-growing zones comes this chewy, quenching, and bright wine with earthy elegance and a good dollop of oak that does not, at all, take away from the grape's inherent character. The mouthfeel is full of fruit and there is a bright lift from its natural acidity. There's a kiss of oak woven into this wine that adds a nice complexity. 3/16/23, Keith Beavers
Our Goldenstate: California Bubbles “…Smith Story…Just ridiculously high quality for under $50”
The Wall Street Journal: How to choose the right wine gift, featuring Ali Smith Story and Smith Story Sparkling Brut
100 Amazing Wines of Sonoma County. The Press Democrat: 2021 Smith Story BRAVE featured, along with the 2019 Smith Story Cabernet Franc and 2019 Smith Story Pickberry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
The Wine Makers Podcast: Smith Story, Brave and Committed
Eric Story & Alison Smith Story started their small wine brand Smith Story Wine Cellars in 2014, funded by Kickstarter. Remember when people did that? They are still sourcing small lots from family-owned vineyards farming organically and working with their other growers to improve quality and moving towards organic farming. Their dog, Lord Sandwich, has his own brand, his own charity and is an Instagram celebrity. We welcome Alison back to hear about what’s new and about the challenges they have faced for the past couple years.
The Sonoma County Vintners Vibe: On-air with Ali Story
Wine Wednesday with Ziggy the Wine Girl: On-air with Ali Story
Garden & Gun: Meet a Southern Vintner in Sonoma County How a Texan, her husband, and an adorable Goldendoodle are making a splash in California wine country
Wall Street Journal: Where to Find Exceptional California Pinot Noir 2019 Smith Story Helluva Vineyard Pinot Noir $50 While other winemakers source from Helluva Vineyard, this Pinot is made in a notably ripe, easy to drink style.
San Francisco Chronicle: The Best Napa and Sonoma Wine Tastings for $30 and under.
Wine Enthusiast: 90pts, 2021 Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
2021 Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
4 Stars Score: 91 Points May, 2022 – Clear aromas of sliced stone fruit and fresh tropical fruit with a hint of jasmine as well. Medium-bodied, fresh and bright on the palate with a pleasant, steady approach.
2018 Smith Story Cabernet Franc, Sonoma County
4 Stars Score: 90 Points May, 2022 – Aromas of red cherry, thyme and suede. Medium-bodied with soft tannins. Bright acidity on the palate with a herbal and peppery undertone. Red-fruited.
2018 Smith Story Helluva Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
4 Stars Score: 91 Points May, 2022 – Inviting aromas of strawberries, raspberries, roses and hibiscus. Medium-bodied with bright acidity and wet-mineral character. Steady, with nice depth and length.
2017 Smith Story Pickberry Vineyard, Merlot, Sonoma Mountain
4 Stars: Score: 90 Points May, 2022 – Aromas of baked plums, ground spice and red licorice. Medium-bodied with silky tannins. Fresh and cool on the palate with a grounding note of suede.
Wine Industry Advisor: Wine’s Most Inspiring People: Ali Smith Story—Owner, Smith Story Wine Cellars
“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well I’m successful now, I may as well take a nap.’” —Carrie Fischer Words that Ali Smith Story keeps in her pocket, lives her life and runs her wine business by. Because since the time that she and husband and business partner, Eric Story, launched Sonoma-based Smith Story Wine Cellars in 2014, neither of them has stopped for a breath—let alone, a nap.
Wine Enthusiast: 92pts, 2019 Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
Antonio Galloni: Vinous "This is a strong set of wines from Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story. The 2017s benefit from an extra kick of richness that I found missing in the 2016s yet remain gracious wines very much built on finesse. The crown jewel remains the Cabernet Sauvignon Pickberry Vineyard, which emerges from one of the top sites on Sonoma Mountain."
2017 Smith Story Cabernet Sauvignon Pickberry Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Pickberry Vineyard is another wine that shows just how special this site is. Readers will have to give the 2017 at least a few years in bottle to allow the aromatics to fully open up. Today, the 2017 is impressive for its depth, structure and gorgeous, if embryonic, layers of nuance. Blueberry, mint, lavender, dried herbs and licorice accents start to develop with a bit of time in the glass. This is such a unique and captivating wine. -- Antonio Galloni 94pts. Drinking Window: 2022 - 2037 Price: $75.00 Review Date: Apr 2020
2017 Smith Story Cabernet Franc, Sonoma County
The 2017 Cabernet Franc is an absolutely joyous bottle of wine. A burst of sweet red cherry, blood orange, spice, mint and espresso makes a strong opening statement. Bold, juicy and wonderfully inviting, with a classic sense of structure, the Franc is an absolute winner in this range. -- Antonio Galloni 93pts. Drinking Window: 2020 - 2027 Price: $48.00 Review Date: Apr 2020
2017 Smith Story Merlot Pickberry Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain
The 2017 Merlot Pickberry Vineyard offers a super-appealing combination of forward, juicy fruit and the savory undertones that are such signatures of this Sonoma Mountain site. Lavender, rose petal, mint, dried herbs and blueberry fruit give this mid-weight Merlot so much pure appeal. -- Antonio Galloni 92pts. Drinking Window:2022 - 2032 Price: $58.00 Review Date: Apr 2020
2017 Smith Story Pinot Noir The Boonies, Anderson Valley
The 2017 Pinot Noir The Boonies emerges from a small vineyard in the deep end of Anderson Valley. Dark cherries in liqueur, spice, rose petal and mint give the 2017 a racy, exotic feel that is impossible to miss. Even so, the 2017 remains gracious and light on its feet, which is to say very much in the Smith Story style. -- Antonio Galloni 92pts. Drinking Window: 2020 - 2027 Price $58.00 Review Date: Apr 2020
2017 Smith Story Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard, Anderson Valley
The 2017 Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard is a very pretty wine. Bright red berry fruit, mint, cedar, sweet tobacco, cinnamon and star anise give this translucent, weightless Pinot striking aromatic presence. This is an especially airy style, with all the elements nicely balanced.-- Antonio Galloni 91pts. Drinking Window: 2020 - 2027 Price $48.00 Review Date: Apr 2020
2018 Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is full of green, grassy varietal aromas and flavors. I would prefer to drink this crisp, bracing Sauvignon Blanc young, while the citrus, tomato leaf and sage flavors remain vibrant.-- Antonio Galloni 89pts. Drinking Window: 2020 - 2024 Price: $25.00 Review Date: Apr 2020
Wine Spectator: Ali and Eric Story of Mendocino County's Smith Story Wine Cellars share details about their Insta-Famous dog “Lord Sandwich the Goldendoodle”.
The Washington Post: The Washington Post: For winemakers, 2020 was the year that 'dropped us to our knees.
Forbes: 10 Bay Area Holiday Gifts For Your Favorite Foodies
Forbes: Giving Cinderella Her Due: A Look At Cabernet Franc
Forbes: Anderson Valley & The Mendocino Coast Are The New California Dream
Nob Hill Gazette: The French Connection: Spin the Bottle. Blended as a love letter to Sancerre from the Loire Valley, Smith Story Wine Cellars.
Visit California: So You Think You Know Mendocino? Consider these 10 captivating ways to venture beyond your go-to favorites in this North Coast haven.
Wine-Searcher: Winemakers Face Up to Smoke Taint Reality | Wine-Searcher News & Features
Wine-Searcher: Fires Leave 2020 Vintage in the Balance | Wine-Searcher News & Features
California Winery Advisor: Meet Ali and Eric Story and quick interview with The Storys.
USA TODAY: We did it! Smith Story Wine Cellars was voted among the 10 Best Tasting Rooms in the USA by the USA Today Readers Choice Voters.
The Durango Herald: As wineries reopen for tastings, expect appointments, pre-poured glasses and plenty of sanitizer...featuring Smith Story Wine Cellars in the Anderson Valley!
GOLDEN STATE: 20 Small and Mighty California Winemakers Who Deserve Your Dollars This Year FEATURES SMITH STORY WINE CELLARS and our 2018 Sauvignon Blanc.
The Washington Post: California’s reopening seemed more upbeat for Alison Smith Story and her husband, Eric Story, when they began welcoming guests back to their Smith Story Wines tasting room in Philo, in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley.
USA Today: Smith Story Wine Cellars has been nominated in our 2020 10Best Readers' Choice travel awards! Our expert panel selected Smith Story Wine Cellars as a contender for Best Tasting Room, which just launched. Our contest gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice at https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-tasting-room/. A person can vote once a day for the run of the contest.
Press Democrat: North Coast Wineries Fight For Survival Amid the Corona Virus Pandemic: Smith is featured!
San Francisco Chronicle: Esther Mobley REVIEW of our 2017 Smith Story Wine Cellars, The Boonies, Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
April 2020 :
Napa Valley Register: Virtual Visits to Anderson Valley Smith Story Wine Cellars is featured!
Fort Bragg Advocate-News: Innovation by necessity: Local vintners unite during uncertain times
International Wine Review: Report 79: The Wines of Anderson Valley Incredibly scores and reviews of our current Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs!
Fortune Magazine: Business Seek Creative solutions as California wineries are ordered to close. Alison Smith-Story, cofounder (with husband Eric) and president of Smith Story Wine Cellars, which has tasting rooms in Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley, says the timing couldn’t be worse. “We were just seeing a little bit of recovery from the Q4 fires and PG&E power outages of 2019,” she says. To compound the stress, they source grapes from growers, and Smith-Story notes that “grower bills are all due in March each year.”
Esther Mobley of the San Francisco Chronicle: While sheltering in place, California wineries rush to offer virtual wine tastings. Smith Story Wines’ virtual-tasting debut, on March 21, “was a hot mess, quite honestly,” laughs co-owner Ali Smith Story. She and her husband, Eric Story, were running on little sleep and high anxiety, and they kept experiencing technical glitches. They had to switch from a video conference to Instagram Live halfway through. Despite it all, they received lots of positive feedback from viewers. “They all laughed with us,” says Smith Story.
The NorthBay Business Journal: 7 ways California wineries can connect with customers sheltering at home Paw-some marketing on social media. Bad pun aside, Alison Smith-Story and her husband, Eric, have chronicled the story of their small winery on social media since the beginning stages. Along for the ride, their goldendoodle named Sandwich happens to have almost 80,000 followers on Instagram at @sandwichthedoodle.
Grape Experiences: Wine and Peace – Weekend Vibes in Anderson Valley
Dallas Wine Chick: Smith Story Wine Cellars: Breaking The Mold In The Story of Wine
Esther Mobley of the San Francisco Chronicle features Smith Story Wine Cellars among "The 52 California Wineries you need to visit in 2020".
The origins of Smith Story Wine Cellars are in San Francisco, where Eric Story and Ali Smith Story met while working at K&L Wine Merchants. They married and launched their own wine brand, setting down roots in both Sonoma County (where they make their wine) and Anderson Valley, where they source much of their fruit. The couple operate a tasting room in both counties, and the Anderson Valley location — inside the Madrones complex in Philo — is particularly fun. Come here for tastes of the diverse Smith Story wine portfolio, including several excellent Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs from sites like Helluva Vineyard and Nash Mill Vineyard. Eric Story also makes wine in Germany, and you can taste his Rheingau rosé and Riesling here. As a bonus, Ali Smith Story loves antique shopping and sells many of her eclectic finds in the tasting room.
Wonder Women of Wine: Friday Femme Feature on Ali Smith Story
Wine Women: Podcast with Ali Story
KQED San Francisco: A Northern California Wine Bootcamp Adventure
Forbes Magazine: Five Reasons to Love the Wine Industry Right Now : The bottom line of why I'm loving the wine industry right now? The wines themselves, of course, most particularly the 2017 Lord Sandwich Blanc from Smith Story Wine Cellars.
San Francisco Chronicle: THESE WINEMAKERS ARE DRINKING BETTER WINES THAN YOU AT THEIR SUMMER BARBECUE
Eric Story, co-owner and winemaker, Smith Story Wine Cellars
Being a northern California boy I don’t need much of an excuse to fire up the grill for any random reason. With the warm and dry weather upon us, this is when I usually reach for crispy whites. I know most think of hearty reds when it comes to barbecue, but the freshness of higher-toned whites really work.
There something magical about slow-smoked baby backs and the new 2018 Smith Story Riesling. The two really complement each other from so many different angles: smoky, rich and meaty meets fruity, crisp, savory and mineral. Another combo we’ve been having fun with is a juicy cheeseburger matched up with an off-dry Chenin Blanc, preferably from the Loire Valley. We also love our grilled vegetables. A chilled couscous salad with grilled vegetables, arugula and feta, just tossed with olive oil and lemon, is a wonderful combo with a Pinot Blanc. I lean towards those from Alsace. -Eric Story
Visit the Smith Story Wine Cellars tasting room in Anderson Valley and read the review.
Forbes Magazine: The Wine World's Equivalent of a Barn Raising, Splinters and Bruises Included.: The current iteration of the barn raising is a 6000-strong "bottle drive," intended to sell that many bottles of Smith Story wine within this anniversary month of May. It would set a record for the small winery, and offer a suite of benefits to their loyal (and new) customers.
AFAR Magazine: This laid back region is all about redwoods, pinot and apples.
New York Times: 36 Hours in Mendocino County
Oklahoma Wine Forum: Next Generation Winery Owners and Makers: Paving The Way of The Future. Ali Story was a panel speaker discussing the future of wine, strategies and challenges. Smith Story was highlighted as a trail blazing new winery... other featured wineries among the panel were Silver Oak, Ashes to Diamonds, Liet Dit, Flanagan, Jouliian Winery.
Forbes Magazine: Wonder Women of Wine: “It was a powerful weekend of being real with each other, allowing us to be strong for ourselves,” said Alison Smith Story, president and co-founder of Smith Story Wine Cellars. “The tide of smart women in wine has been rising for decades, and now is the time for a shift in how women in this business can lead, not only at the top but in every facet of this complicated (and antiquated) industry,” she said. “There is strength in numbers, and the Wonder Women of Wine Conference just rallied a rather large group of passionate women to excel together. There’s no stopping this energy to succeed as a women in wine.”
West Hawaii Today
Toasting love birds for Valentines Day...
Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story met while working in the wine business in California. Falling in love over great glasses of wine, they dreamed of making wine together. In 2013 they launched Smith Story Wine Cellars in Sonoma, shortly after eloping on our Big Island. Ti leaves wrap the border of their label, a nod to the connection they found in Hawaii.
Washington Post This weeks recommendations also include...
Smith Story Wine Cellars Lord Sandwich White 2017, Sonoma County, Calif., $22
Good news: Smith Story wines are now distributed in the Washington area. The Lord Sandwich white, named for the winemakers’ goldendoodle, who serves as the social media face of the wine brand, is a delicious blend of sauvignon blanc, verdelho and chardonnay. Under the Smith Story label, they also have an excellent (2 star) riesling from Germany’s Rheinhessen and an extraordinary (3 star) chardonnay from Dutton Ranch in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. ABV: 14 percent.
Distributed by Lanterna: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Paul’s of Chevy Chase. Available in Maryland at Crescent Beer & Wine in Bowie, Gilly’s Craft Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville, Spirits of Mt. Vernon in Baltimore, Wine Bin in Ellicott City, Wine Cellars of Annapolis, the Wine Harvest (Gaithersburg, Potomac).
January 2019: Wine Business Monthly
Introducing the 2018 Hot Brands -- Smith Story Wine Cellars Every year, when Wine Business Monthly creates our annual list of Hot Brands, we look for vintners, growers, wineries and wines that are making a statement in our industry. Quality is always an important consideration, but Hot Brands is more than a list of the “best” or most interesting wines we've tasted during the year.
When we set out to choose our Hot Brands, our goal is to always represent the American wine industry. Often, that means discovering a new winery in an established region while also paying homage to the stalwarts who continue to move the industry forward. It means we look at wineries in non-West Coast, “traditional” winemaking states, or those who might be bucking a trend or trying new techniques. Our editors look for wines that are embodiments of national trends or have soaring sales. Sometimes we’ll choose the winemaker, not the wine....
January 2019: Marin Magazine
Three couples who took a risk and leaped into the world of bottling amazing tastes.
What: Smith Story Wine Cellars
Who: Eric Story and Ali Smith-Story
Where: Windsor and Philo
Husband and wife Eric and Ali met while working at K&L Wine Merchants in San Francisco and founded their winery in 2013 with a vision of making wine that “wine people” drink. The duo launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 called “Farmers First” and became the first American winery to be crowdfunded. Smith Story makes a wide range of wines from Sonoma and Mendocino counties, as well as wines from Germany’s Rheingau. Presently it produces over 4,000 cases a year and has been recognized as one of California’s top emerging wineries.
Woman Owned Wineries
An interview with Ali Smith Story
“The women I’ve met through [the winery] and the charity have made the biggest impression in my life. Words can’t do justice to the friendship, support and enthusiasm … These women are mighty.” ~ Alison Smith Story
San Francisco Chronicle
Grand Cru Blends Winemaking, Tasting
In wine parlance, the phrase “grand cru” is the classification of a vineyard known for maintaining a consistent reputation for producing quality wines year after year.The same could be said about Grand Cru, a new wine destination in Windsor, just outside of Healdsburg.
Think of Grand Cru like WeWork for wine. The 31,000-square-foot production facility is a cooperative and collaborative winery space with dedicated staffers who help members build out direct-to-consumer businesses. It is home to 20 boutique Russian River-area wine labels that are big enough to have established winemaking but too small to own operations of their own. Certain members also can leverage a dedicated hospitality staff and use any of six shared tasting salons.
December 2018: Sonoma Magazine
Sonoma County Wineries With Super Cute Dogs
Lord Sandwich, Smith Story Wine Cellars: This six-year-old Goldendoodle is a force for good: two wines - a Lord Sandwich Red and Lord Sandwich Blanc - and nonprofit Socks for Sandwich were inspired by the cute pup. Like many dogs, Lord Sandwich was crazy about socks as a puppy. Now, for every Smith Story bottle sold, a new pair of socks is donated to someone in need. To date, close to 40,000 pairs of socks have been provided. 1200 American Way, Windsor, 9000 CA 128, Philo, smithstorywinecellars.com, socksforsandwich.org.
TRENDSCAPING: The Storytellers
Shana Bull Digital Storytelling
Top Wineries in California on Instagram
A small production winery in the Anderson Valley, Sonoma County & Rheingau Germany, @SmithStoryWines does a great job of using Instagram to actually tell a story. By taking you behind the scenes of their travels, and the opening of their new tasting room in Anderson Valley, they show that it is more than just wine that makes a good BRAND. The occasional picture of their wine dog, @sandwichthedoodle (with over 66.6K followers on his own charity-focused instagram account), makes their feed even cuter!
July 2018: The San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley
SMITH STORY: ONE OF CALIFORNIA’S NEWEST WINERIES WITH A PASSION FOR ANTIQUES
Smith Story Wine Cellars is a bright and welcome new addition to the California wine landscape — and Anderson Valley is just one place this young wine brand calls home. Husband and wife Eric and Ali Smith Story, who met while working at K&L Wine Merchants in San Francisco, founded their winery in 2013. Today, they make a wide range of wines from Sonoma and Mendocino counties, as well as wines from Germany’s Rheingau. All show balance and freshness.
Clearly, this couple is keeping occupied: In addition to their Philo tasting room, located inside the Madrones complex, they operate a second one in Windsor, in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. On top of that, Eric also runs a wine importing business, focusing on European wines that retail at $20 or less. Smith Story’s own German wines, accordingly, are very well priced, at $20 for a Riesling and a Pinot Noir rosé. Ali is an avid antique hunter with a tasteful eye, and some of her finds are always available for sale in the tasting room here, from jewelry boxes to paintings.
WHAT TO TRY: The Smith Story lineup contains nearly a dozen wines, and they won’t always have everything open. Ideally you’ll try the peachy Sonoma Mountain Semillon ($40), the dry, minerally German Riesling ($20) and, of course, some Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, from the Helluva Vineyard ($40) and the Nash Mill Vineyard ($58).
INSIDE INFO: The couple’s dog, Lord Sandwich, is a major presence in the Smith Story wine brand, and often at the tasting room itself. They produce a nonvintage red blend ($22) called the Lord Sandwich Red Table Wine, donating a pair of socks to someone in need for each bottle sold.
July 2018: The San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley
The Ultimate Anderson Valley Bucket List
Drive 10 minutes north to Philo and park at the Madrones complex, where a hotel, a spa, a wood-fired pizza restaurant and some excellent tasting rooms reside. Visit Drew to taste the best Syrah in Mendocino County, then wander over to Smith Story, where you can taste a diverse range of wines that includes Sonoma Semillon and German Riesling. You may walk away from Smith Story with an antique curio; co-owner Ali Smith Story collects and re-sells them here.
July 2018; The San Francisco Chronicle, Esther Mobley
ANDERSON VALLEY: MENDOCINO’S TOP DESTINATION FOR AROMATIC WHITE WINES
And finally, if for no other reason, stop in at Smith Story Wine Cellars for a single taste (although there are many interesting ones to be had). Smith Story pours wines not only from Anderson Valley but also from Sonoma County and—Germany! Here you can taste a Riesling from the Rheingau (a sipper, but with lovely textures and subtle complexities), for a cool Old World contrast to the local Rieslings.
July 2018: The Press Democrat
Wine of the Week: 2017 Smith Story Wine Cellars, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County ($25)
The top winner? The five-star rated show stopper –– the Smith Story, 2017 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
The Smith Story is buoyed with bright acidity and infused with notes of lime, lemon and mineral. It’s light on its feet – ballet as opposed to tap.
The vintners, Eric Story and Ali Smith, work with consulting winemaker Katy Wilson, and they said their mission is to craft a mineral-driven sauvignon blanc. The vintners decided they wouldn’t produce a sauvignon blanc unless they found vineyards that were similar in soil/rock and climate to France’s Loire Valley. “If we could drink wines from Dagueneau every day we would,” Alison said. “The late Didier and his son (the current winemaker) have set the bar in our mind, one we hope to achieve one day for the Smith Story, too. Didier Dagueneau was a winemaker in the Loire Valley who produced sauvignon blanc from the Pouilly Fumé appellation and he had a cult following.
Eric, 41, spent 18 years at K&L Wine Merchants in Northern California, with the last eight as the wine buyer for German, Loire, Alsace, Austria and Greek wine imports. He caught the wine bug while backpacking through Europe and took the leap into winemaking in 2002. Ali’s expertise is in hospitality, consumer marketing and national sales. The couple met at K&L and founded Smith Story Wine Cellars in 2013.
While the Smith Story sauvignon blanc will delight veggie burger fans, Ali said there are limitless possibilities in store with the wine.“Our favorite pairing with our sauvignon blanc” Ali said, “is a good conversation, a nice wine glass and a comfy chair.”
Wine writer Peg Melnik
June 2018: Food and Wine Magazine
14 of the best bottles the Anderson Valley has to offer.
Smith Story Lakota’s View Sémillon Sonoma Mountain 2016 ($40)
Plenty of Napa and Sonoma wineries source grapes in the Anderson Valley. While producing vibrant Mendo Pinots, the Anderson Valley’s husband-and-wife winemakers Eric Story and Allison Smith-Story also made just 76 cases of this deliciously aromatic Semillon. Its flowery nose opens onto a bittersweet herbaceousness and a rippling, dry finish.
Where to Slow Down and Sip in California's Anderson Valley
...A two-hour drive northwest from Napa, the Anderson Valley remains blessedly sleepy. Some big names make wine here, including Roederer, which offers an engaging estate tour. But most of the 30 wineries are scrappy operations where vintners blend Old World sensibilities and New World vision into low-intervention, cool-climate wines.
May 2018: Sonoma Magazine
5 Inspiring Sonoma County Wine Women
The Multitasker: Alison Smith Story of Smith Story Wine Cellars: Alison Smith Story developed a diverse palate for fine wine while working at K&L Wine Merchants. Never without her trusty Goldendoodle Lord Sandwich by her side, she now operates Smith Story Wine Cellars together with her husband Eric. The boutique winery produces old-world wines in the new world, including pinot noir from the acclaimed Anderson Valley. Smith Story is always on the move: she runs two tasting rooms, one in Anderson Valley and one in Russian River Valley, oversees marketing, and even runs a nonprofit, Socks for Sandwich, which donates new socks to those in need.
April 2018: The San Francisco Examiner
Grand Cru Custom Crush in Windsor
By Lyle W. Norton on April 29, 2018
At its core, Grand Cru Custom Crush is a great idea, one that reflects modern-day business and lifestyle trends. Founded by Robert and Erin Morris and Todd and Erin Gottula, the wine production co-op provides state-of-the-art technology and production equipment as well as individualized tasting rooms to be shared by small, boutique winemakers. The concept itself is clean and efficient and opens doors for producers who work under the premise that “less is better” to pursue their passion and connect with the consumer.
Grand Cru projects that, in 2018, 25,000 cases will be produced by a baker’s dozen local winemakers who are current members.
As we toured the production facilities, Morris and Erin Brooks (Gottula) discussed the attention to detail that would accommodate multiple winemakers and reduce common problems. By providing the best crush equipment, a variety of small fermentation tanks, barrel rooms and an on-site lab, all designed to match the needs of their “target client production,” the Grand Cru Custom Crush plan optimizes success and sustainability. READ FULL ARTICLE
April 2018: Vinous.com, Antonio Galloni
These are the best wines I have tasted from Alison Smith and Eric Story and their consulting winemakers Katy Wilson and Ross Cobb. All of the wines are vibrant and beautifully delineated, not to mention full of personality.
From Sonoma’s Stellar 2016s (Apr 2018) by Antonio Galloni
2016 Lakota's View, Sémillon, Sonoma Mountain. $40, 90pts.
Smith Story's 2016 Sémillon Lakota's View is powerful and also quite distinctive, with a good deal of phenolic intensity that gives the wine its distinctive feel. Tangerine, almond, mint and lightly honeyed notes all open up in the glass, but it is the wine's hillside character and structure that stand out most.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County. $25, 93pts.
The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is fabulous. Rich, layered and also quite structured, the Sauvignon Blanc exudes character. There is so much to like in the 2016. Above all else, Smith Story's Sauvignon Blanc is full of personality. Varietal notes are nicely delineated, but not at all overpowering. Stony and floral notes add brightness throughout.
2015 Chardonnay, Dutton Ranch, Russian River Valley. $48, 92pts.
The 2015 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is a powerful, deep wine, and yet picking on the early side keeps the flavors bright. This is a fairly restrained style for Dutton Ranch that balances a good bit of texture while avoiding heaviness. Chamomile, citrus peel and pear notes add complexity.
2015 Pinot Noir, Nash Mill Vineyard, Anderson Valley. $58, 93pts.
The 2015 Pinot Noir Nash Mill Vineyard is fruity, forward and quite delicious, even if it doesn’t have the detail or pedigree of the Thorn Ridge. Bright, red-toned fruit and floral aromatics help shape the wine's lively personality. What a pretty and expressive wine this is.
2015 Pinot Noir, Thorn Ridge Vineyard, Sonoma Coast. $80, 94pts.
The 2015 Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge is gorgeous. Translucent and perfumed, with silky tannins, strikingly fruit and exceptional balance, the Thorn Ridge hits all the right notes. Hints of rose petal, mint, cranberry and white pepper add brightness. This gracious, wonderfully lifted Pinot is long on class and personality. I loved it.
2015 Cabernet Franc, Sonoma Valley. $40, 90pts.
The 2015 Cabernet Franc is done in a fresh, Loire-inspired style that captures notable fruit intensity, but manages to avoid excessive vegetal or green notes. The red-toned berry fruit and lifted, floral notes pulse with energy. There is so much to like here.
2015 Merlot, Pickberry Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain. $54, 93pts.
Deceptively medium in body, the 2015 Merlot Pickberry Vineyard packs a real punch. Succulent dark cherry, tobacco, sage, menthol and lavender notes give the Merlot a very pretty savory profile to match the wine's translucent expression of fruit. Pliant and supple, the 2015 also has a good bit of supporting structure as well. It is another classy, polished wine from Alison Smith and Eric Story.
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pickberry Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain. $60, 95pts.
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Pickberry Vineyard is a total knock-out. Gracious and light on its feet, with tremendous character, the Pickberry will thrill readers who enjoy old-school California Cabernets. Bright acids and mountain structure from this hillside site on Sonoma Mountain give the wine a palpable sense of energy and savoriness to play off the dark-toned fruit. Scents of lavender, sage, tobacco and menthol linger on the super-expressive finish. What a marvelous wine this is.
April 2018: The Washington Post
Some of the best pours in wine country happen in Industrial Parks (click to read full article)
In California’s Sonoma County, just north of the Santa Rosa airport, Grand Cru Custom Crush is a gleaming new facility in a spare industrial park that includes DuMol and Marcassin wineries, two exclusive labels with avid followings. Russian River Brewing is building a huge facility with a restaurant nearby. Grand Cru has capacity for about 20 wineries; it housed 12 when it opened for the 2017 harvest. They include Black Kite, which produces pinot noir and chardonnay from various coastal vineyards, and Smith Story cellars, a membership winery with a philanthropic bent and an unusual marketing campaign based on a goldendoodle’s Instagram account.
March 2018: Sonoma Magazine
Where the Cool Kids Go: 5 Hot Wineries
The Smith Story tasting room features comfortable couches and a small area by the bar, as well as a retail space that sells stylish home accessories.
Guests taste through a handful of Anderson Valley wines, which may include pinot noir, rosé, riesling, chardonnay, and the Lord Sandwich Table Red, from which part of proceeds go toward buying socks for those in need. 707-494-5575; 9000 CA 128, Philo. smithstorywinecellars.com
March 2018: Rockin' Red Blog
Smith Story: The Intersection of Love and Wine
I was recently introduced to a winery that I want to shout about from the rooftop. It is about a boutique winery still in its infancy but hitting on all the right marks. When many producers are focused on mass consumption wines that are concentrated, over-oaked, and sweet as syrup, Smith Story Wines is embracing wine making at its finest. Embodied the ideas that if you have the right grapes in the right climate with the right soil nature will make great wine so get out of its way. But there is much to the story of Smith Story....READ FULL ARTICLE
March 2018: James the Wine Guy
- Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc '16 92 Points Episode #2607
- Smith Story Pinot Noir '15 93 Points - Episode #2602
- Smith Story SV Cabernet Franc 2015 93 Points Episode #2606
- Smith Story Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon '15 - 93 Points Episode #2608
February 2018: The Washington Post
Dave McIntyre, Food and Wine Columnist
How an 80-pound goldendoodle helped build a California wine brand.
When Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story started their winery in 2014, they didn’t follow any conventional path. An old saw advises that to make a small fortune in the wine industry, you should start with a large one. That was not an option, so they went the modern way.
“We didn’t have an inheritance, and we hadn’t started and sold a software company,” Alison explains.
So they turned to Kickstarter to create Smith Story Wine Cellars, which now operates out of a custom crush winery in Sonoma County. “We are the first winery we know of to be crowdfunded.”
(Click here to read article in full length)
December 2017: Drink great wine, help others.
April 2017: Aspen Times
WineInk: The Madrones
..."THE TASTING ROOMS
Where offices once occupied the front of the compound, there are now tasting rooms for three small-lot family wineries. The newest addition, Smith-Story Wine Cellars, consists of host husband and wife, Eric Story and Allison Smith, and their Golden Doodle, Mr. Sandwich. Eric and Allison were buyers and promoters of other people's wines before they decided to make the move to produce their own. They pour recent releases of their Mendocino and Sonoma County wines alongside a project they produce in the Rheingau region of Germany. They may be the only family-owned winery in the U.S. with a German 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir."
March 2017: Vinous.com
91pts. 2014 Thorn Ridge Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The 2014 Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge is another super appealing wine from Smith Story. Expressive earthy and floral notes lend aromatic nuance to the juicy red toned flavors. Creamy and expansive on the palate, yet also very much medium in body, the 2014 has terrific overall balance. Hints of orange, game, tobacco and underbrush add the closing shades of nuance. Drinking window: 2017-2024 -- Antonio Galloni
90pts. 2015 Helluva Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The 2015 Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard is a very pretty, delicate Anderson Valley Pinot. Expressive aromatics and soft contours give the wine much of its considerable early appeal. Bright red stone fruit, lifted floral notes and a kick of orange zest are all nicely woven together in this attractive, mid-weight Pinot. Drinking window: 2017-2022. - Antonio Galloni.
July 29, 2016 Bon Appetite Magazine:
March 1, 2016 Indulge Magazine.
February 2016 Review by Antonio Galloni,"From 2014 Sonoma and Points North: New Releases, Part 1", www.vinous.com
"These are the first wines I have tasted from Smith Story. Ross Cobb and Katy Wilson make the wines for industry veterans Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story in a style that emphasizes freshness and energy."
Tasting Note: 2014 Smith Story Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, from a site on Sonoma Mountain, is made in a fresh, reductive style that shows the brighter, stonier side of Sauvignon. Even with all of its freshness, the Sauvignon shows plenty of depth and an attractive element of phenolic weight that adds complexity.
Score: 89 Drinking Window: 2016-2018 Release Price: $25
Tasting Note: 2014 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)
The 2014 Chardonnay is an an attractive, appealing, wine. Orchard fruit, gentle apricot, spice and almond notes meld together in an effortless, gracious white that hits all the right notes. This is a gorgeous Sonoma Coast Chardonnay to drink over the next handful of years.
Score: 91 Drinking Window: 2016-2022 Release Price: $34
Tasting Note: 2014 Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard
The note finessed side of the Anderson Valley comes through in the 2014 Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard. Bright, floral and lifted, the 2014 offers lovely understated punch in its bright red fruit. The 2014 was done with fully destemmed fruit, which helps bring the fruit forward.
Score: 93 Drinking Window: 2016-2024 Release Price: $36
Wine of the Day: Grapelive.com
2014 Smith-Story, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County.
The Smith-Story wines are all worthy of searching out and Eric and Alison Story have put together a great lineup of talent behind their wines with the likes of Ross Cobb, formerly of Hirsch and his pal Katy Wilson of La Rue, along with one of Germany’s best and most exciting producers from Ruedesheim in the Rheingau. Cobb and Wilson will really make a huge impact on the California offerings and the 2014 Anderson Valley Pinot is a good insight into how good these wines are going to be in the future. The current lineup includes a lovely pink Pinot Noir rose and dry Riesling from Germany at great prices, plus my favorite their Sonoma Mountain sourced Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc that has the Greystack clone, non musque, which is a delightful and interesting Sauvignon Blanc.
The 2014 Smith-Story Sauvignon Blanc has nice ripe citrus, peach, quince, gooseberry and white cherry layers with a core of lemon/lime and cool summer melon along with a touch of tangy herbs, wet stones and a nervy steeliness. In a world of boring $30 Sauvignon Blancs, the Smith-Story stand above and has an almost Alto-Adige kind of feel and excitement to it, like the Terlano, I was impressed, if you are looking for a good and solid value in dry Sauvignon Blanc this will please you. The 2014’s from Smith-Story are all bargains and offer lots of personality, quality and verve for the money, especially the Sauvignon Blanc. All of them are easy to love and drink now, keep an eye out for them, this is a label to watch. ($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
What to Drink Now: Traditional White Wines, D Magazine
Summer is almost over, so grab a few more bottles of Rose to toast the end of 100 degree days. Smith Story Rose, from North Texas native Alison Smith Story, who spent a good amount of her career as a wine broker, before getting married to Eric Story, a Bay area wine buyer, and beginning their collaboration in wine, Smith Story Wine Cellars.
Created from a mutual love of each other, great wine, and the celebration of life (with bonus points given if it is in Hawaii.) They launched their brand last year with a handful of varieties from both California as well as importing from an Old World country they both love, Germany, including petrol and white flower filled Riesling and an inviting Rose made from Pinot Noir. Their Smith Story Rheingau Rose of Pinot Noir ($20) is a lovely expression of the variety, and proof that red wine vines can grow in cool Germany. Balanced, fresh and juicy with herbal notes, ripe red berry, red apple, tangerine and crushed stone earthiness.
The duo are also crafting a steely, mineral influenced Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($25) from fruit grown on both Sonoma Mountain and in Knight’s Valley, with the goal to produce a Loire Valley style wine with fruit from California. Floral, fresh and aromatic, the lively wine is a beautiful expression of quality and passion. Two special wines from a very special couple, both available via their website or at Pogo’s.