A product of M.I.T. and U. C. Davis, I have dedicated five decades as winemaker, author, inventor, musician, and professor, founded and managed four prominent wineries. I explore winemaking techniques and styles new and old. I sip, I write, I sing. Counting 14 in the Southern Hemisphere, I have completed 63 vintages since 1976.
Today there are over 12,000 bonded wineries in North America. That’s up from 250 when I entered the wine world in 1972. I have taught Fundamentals of Modern Wine Chemistry to over 4,500 winemakers since 1984. I advise wineries, especially start-ups, on crystallizing their vision, deciding what to plant, inventing product concepts, winemaking protocols, developing packaging, websites, winery floor plan design, equipment selection, lab set-up, administrative and sales software, and assisting in hiring and training staff as well as dealing with their daily challenges.
I believe that transparency and openness are essential to the growth and development of any winemaker. I wrote Postmodern Winemaking to share with other winemakers some practical views on making great wine while also providing curious non-practicing wine enthusiasts with a window on our world. It was named Wine and Spirits Magazine’s 2013 Book of the Year.
I patented VA removal and alcohol adjustment via reverse osmosis and have developed expertise in a host of innovative techniques. I launched the WineSmith brand in 1993, specializing in Eurocentric forgeries and oddities. I'm engaged in a wide spectrum of research from smoke taint to pairing wine and music.
The IQ Conference named me 2016 Innovator of the Year. In 2018, I was included among Wine Business Monthly's list of the Wine Industry’s 48 Most Influential People.