Samuel Louis Smith
Santa Cruz Mountains AVA
Focused on crafting unmanipulated elegance, balance and freshness in each limited production wine
Established in 2014, Samuel Louis Smith is a micro-winery based in Salinas, California. Owner/winemaker Sam Smith crafts limited amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah from some of the coolest and most compelling terroirs of the Central Coast, including Sta. Rita Hills, Monterey, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Within each region, he seeks out the most distinctive sustainably-farmed vineyard sites to ensure his wines are expressive, unique, and delicious.
Sam Smith was captivated by vineyards from a very young age, spending many weekends cycling on California’s Central Coast with his father. Years later, Sam attended UC Santa Barbara and studied French, Spanish and Economics, for an intended career in international business. He had a nagging desire for wine knowledge, however, which led him to a semester abroad in Bordeaux in 2009 - the perfect place to study French and economics while also embracing the world-renowned wine country - plus, there was proximity to good surf. The time in France quickly changed Sam’s focus from business to wine, as his eyes truly opened to the world of wine. A tour and tasting at Château Lynch-Bages, and a pairing of confit de canard with ‘89 Margaux are poignant memories for Sam that solidified his future direction and passion.
Upon returning to California, Sam jumped head first into the wine industry, working harvests in Santa Barbara, Australia, the Willamette Valley, and the Northern Rhône. He also worked as the assistant winemaker for Margerum Wine Company (Santa Barbara) for three years, where his palate and California’s cool Central Coast terroir became a match made in heaven. Sam has since been especially drawn to cool-climate winegrowing and producing food friendly wines with character and structure. Along the way, Sam also completed the prestigious UC Davis Extension winemaking program which supported his hands-on experience.
When Sam Smith founded Samuel Louis Smith Wines in 2014, he originally focused on the Sta. Rita Hills, but the brand has shifted its focus to craft Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills, Pinot Noir from Monterey, and Syrah from the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is Sam’s goal to achieve unmanipulated elegance, balance, and freshness in each of his limited production wines, allowing the terroir of each vineyard to shine through. The watercolor paintings, found in black and white on the Samuel Louis Smith wine labels, are Sam’s originals.
Sam Smith is also the head winemaker at the historic Morgan Winery, a pioneer of organic viticulture and traditional winemaking in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. We are happy to introduce this 2016 Syrah to our Garagiste Wine Club members.