Clark Smith


Clark Smith is a baffling paradox. A Californian winemaker who is part scientist, part math major, part environmentalist, part rocker, etc, etc. An interesting character for sure. He makes wine and he helps a lot of big name wineries improve their wines. The industry of course can’t figure him out because one minute he’s preaching radical bio-dynamic agriculture and the next he’s using high tech equipment to alter wine chemistry. Most of what Clark is doing and preaching is over my head, but I get his connection to the soul of the wine, to embracing the mystery, and to moving away from all the scientific stuff that currently results in impressively rich, but boring, wines.

Clark is a lot like your ideal neighbour ““ a whiz at fixing things but who also likes talking about how life in general works. Or doesn’t. Like yours truly, he points out how the brain processes wine in a similar fashion to music, and he has selected album tracks and wine pairings to illustrate his theories. “An inappropriate music choice will make a wine choice taste “˜bad’ or wrong”.

Clark brought a suitcase of his wine to Toronto for a recent event. His Chardonnay tasted like Chablis, Rosé tasted like Provençe and Cab Franc showed the wild austere, character of a Niagara edition of this grape. Distinctive wines for sure. Having one beer with him after the event was not long enough to enjoy the workings of this guy’s imagination, but it was a start. It inspired me to organize a few wine + music tastings in the fall. Stay tuned.

P.S. Some of Clark’s wines are available at JK Wine Bar in TO.~ 

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