Mike Smith

Owner and Winemaker, Myriad Cellars

Mike Smith

You can’t beat Napa Cabernet!

If Mike wasn’t a vintner he would be traveling, fishing and training a black lab.

When was your first Napa Valley harvest?

1998

How did you get started in the wine business?

I came down from Oregon to work the harvest free of charge for Thomas Brown in 1999.

Which wine was your "a-ha!" wine – the one that made you love wine or inspired you to get into the industry?

I don't really have an “a-ha!” wine…I was intrigued by the process and creativity.

Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.

Thomas Brown, Jennifer and Herb Lamb and Barbara and Jim Richards. Jennifer and Herb for their kind enthusiasm for me to move here, Barbara and Jim for showing me true class in winemaking and Thomas Brown for giving me the opportunity.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

The people I have inspired to make wine along the way.

What are the greatest challenges?

Weather of course and rising grape prices.

Our motto at the NVV is "cultivating excellence." What does this phrase mean to you and how do you cultivate excellence at your winery?

Cultivating excellence to me would be directed at my team at the winery. If I can mentor my crew to be the best they can be and give them opportunity to be their personal best, then I am happy.

What do you think makes Napa Valley unique compared to other wine regions?

You can’t beat Napa Cabernet! Everything grows great here…we have such amazing farm to table and wine experiences.

How does your winery help tell the Napa Valley story?

We are very hands-on when customers visit - they are often part of the process.

If you weren't a Napa Valley vintner, what would you be doing?

Traveling, fishing and training a black lab.

If you could open a bottle of your wine and share it with any three people (living or not), who would they be?

My Mom and Dad and my wife and children - This is what is most important.

What advice would you offer someone trying to get into the Napa Valley wine industry?

Hard work brings reward, don't get discouraged and keep at it.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

My favorite harvest meal is Kraft Mac & Cheese with hot dogs…paired with an amazing Italian wine. I know I'm in the throes of harvest when this meal comes out!

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