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S E C T I O N 2 Food &Drink New restaurants, recipe ideas, and profiles of local chefs. N March 3, 2010 ALSO INSIDE C O M M U N I T Y 1 8 | R E A L E S TAT E 2 4 | C L A S S I F I E D S 2 1 New Life in the Vineyard Woodside ‘garagistes’ turn acreage to vines, and offer small-production pinot noir to their community By Renee Batti P Almanac News Editor aul Smith of Woodside describes himself as a man who, looking for love, found much more — “an entirely new life.” That’s hard to dispute. Born in England, he has lived in this country since attending business school at MIT in the mid-1980s. Although he considered himself a “social drinker” in the past, his taste for good wine didn’t approach that of the aficionados he would meet after moving to California in the late 1990s. Now, the former New York advertising executive not only has a deep appreciation for refined wine, he is making it, “garagiste” style. He makes pinot noir from the grapes he and his wife, Robin — whom he met after moving West, and yes, that’s the love connection — planted on four lots at their Phillip Road property about 10 years ago, two years after they ‘The wines were very affordable, and the communities supported the winemakers in their region. We liked the family aspects of winemaking, and hence the idea to do it ourselves in Woodside.’ PAUL SMITH, ON THE “GARAGISTE” WINEMAKERS THE SMITHS ENCOUNTERED IN EUROPE. bought the land and built their home. Last year, the Smiths began selling their wine under the label GBH Vineyard, named for the great blue heron “who assists us with gopher management from time to time,” Mr. Smith notes. The wine, a 2007 pinot noir, is sold only in Woodside, he says, in keeping with “garagiste” practice. “Robin and I had traveled through France, Spain, and Italy, and were always impressed with the ‘garagiste’ winemakers we found — small family-owned wineries (that) farmed their estate-grown varietals and sold primarily in their local towns,” he explains. “The wines were very affordable, and the communities supported the winemakers in their region. We liked the family aspects of winemaking, and hence the idea to do it ourselves in Woodside.” Mr. Smith says the wine can be found at the Little Store, the Woodside Bakery, and Buck’s restaurants, and at Roberts market (Woodside only). With a little help from ... The Smiths may have been new to Woodside when they were ready to plant their vines, but they were already familiar enough with the community to know whom to turn to for help. “Bob Mullen (founder and then-owner of Woodside Vineyards) got us started,” Mr. Smith says. The terroir — soil, location, climate — was thought to be “terrific for pinot noir,” he says. Mr. Mullen planted the vines and did some initial maintenance, “but after some training and vineyard work, I felt very comfortable doing it myself,” Mr. Smith says, adding that the personal, Photos by Michelle Le/The Almanac Top photo: The great blue heron graces the labels of GBH Vineyard pinot noir; above, winemaker Paul Smith has turned the spacious garage in his Woodside home into a “garagiste” winery. “hands-on” approach to working the vines greatly appealed to him. The four blocks of vines are French Cote d’Or clones, and the soil in which they grow is stony and well-drained, Mr. Smith says. He and Robin both work full time as executives in the technology world, he says, but they gladly find the time to tend to their family business, with Mr. Smith working the vineyard and making the wine, and Ms. Smith marketing the wine and working with designers to produce the labels. Using French oak barrels for fermentation, Mr. Smith makes wine in the large garage of their home. He works “with a light hand,” he says, which lets the terroir of lower Phillips Road speak through the wine. The 2007 harvest produced 100 cases, and Mr. Smith hopes future harvests will provide enough fruit for 125 cases. Mr. Smith has found more than the soil on Phillip Road rich and fertile. The experiences of his new life as a vintner on the West Coast have proven to be rich enough to write a book about. And that’s what he’s doing. With “The Accidental Vintner Passing Through Woodside,” Mr. Smith says he will describe life among the vines and in the bucolic town he now calls See VINEYARD, next page March 3, 2010 N The Almanac N17

The Almanac 03.03.2010 - Section 2

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