Sherman Smoot - Owner

After honorably serving in the Navy flying F-4J's from aircraft carriers, Sherman pursued a career in commercial aviation. Traveling the globe for more than 30 years, he has had the inredible opportunity to sample wines from nearly every country in the free world. As a result, Sherman developed a palate for unique world wines.

Sherman's degree in Biological Sciences from Washington State University helped him tremendously as he began reading all the text books, reference books, and articles he could gather on Enology and Viticulture. As a self taught winemaker, Sherman works with and assists Kevin by bouncing around ideas and new techniques. He believes the artisan way versus the science sometimes result in great spirited debates in the winery, but, ultimately, that's how he achieves what he truly enjoys.

His wine appreciation started in the late sixties when he came home often to visit his mom and stepfather, Dominic Marietta. This Italian, along with his family made wine every year since, "I could stomp," as Dominic would say. He instilled in Sherm a respect for the Italian style wine they produced.

Just before Dominic passed away in 1979, Sherman flew him and his mother, Sherlie, to San Diego where they drove to Ensenada, Mexico. Dominic had never been to Mexico and he was very thrilled. Sherm took them to the finest (at the time) restaurant named Casa Mar. Dinner was ordered - of course it was lobster for all! As the host, Sherman looked at the wine list and obediently ordered the most expensive bottle of white wine on the list to impress his stepfather. After all, seafood used to equal white wine, right? Sherm still smiles fondly when explaining what happened next.

"The sommelier did his stuff and I tasted the wine to make sure it was acceptable. It was. When he went to fill Dominic's glass, Dom put his hand on top of the glass and said he didn't want any. Being totally embarrassed, I asked if there was a problem. Dominic looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Son, white wine to an Italian is like skim milk to a farm boy!' After that I told myself to concentrate on the red wines of the world."

Maybe, as a result of the above story, Sherman's passion revolves around the Italian varietals, and particularly Sangiovese. Why? "Well, first and foremost, it's a real challenge to do the varietal justice," says Sherm. "Secondly, nobody dry-farms this enchanting grape the way we do, to allow the fruit forward characteristics to develop. The key here is Kevin. He is an absolute genius in the vineyard and in the winery." When Sherm approached Kevin with the idea of planting most of their estate vineyard in sangiovese, Kevin said, "That grape's going be difficult, so let's treat it like a zinfandel and see what happens!"