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This profile was last updated on 4/4/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.
Phone: (805) ***-****  HQ Phone
Epoch Wines
7505 York Mountain Road
Templeton, California 93465
United States

Company Description: Epoch, which was founded in 2004, has quickly developed a big reputation for small production, hand crafted, artisanal wines with abundant personalities. We make...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

144 Total References
Web References
Within a few years at Epoch, ..., 4 April 2014 [cached]
Within a few years at Epoch, it became apparent that we needed a full time winemaker who would work with Justin Smith overseeing all wine and vine decisions, but who could take on the day-to-day needs of a growing winery.
Justin Smith
Consulting Winemaker
After looking for the perfect terroir and settling on West Paso, we needed someone to help guide us in the next phase toward our dream of producing ultra-premium wines. We were huge fans of Saxum wines, so I cold-called the owner/winemaker, Justin Smith. Liz and I met Justin over coffee where we talked about our love of West Paso and great wine, and we agreed to team up to look for the right land, pick the right varietals, rootstocks, etc. We kicked a lot of dirt in West Paso before eventually stumbling across the "not for sale" renowned, but fallow, Paderewski Vineyard. We later added Catapult vineyard in the heart of the Templeton Gap, and ultimately we were in the right place at the right time to buy the historic York Mountain Winery site. Justin is a Paso hometown hero, and he is involved in all things Epoch: farming, blending, picking, our long term vision, etc. For more on Justin and his history, please read my blog on this website called, "A New York State of Wine", about Justin receiving Wine Spectator's 2010 award for the #1 wine in the world for his '07 Saxum, James Berry Vineyard wine.
Justin Smith of ..., 21 Jan 2014 [cached]
Justin Smith of Saxum, another Paso winery, agreed. "I've never seen a December, let alone a January, where the hills aren't covered with a beautiful green cover crop," said Smith.
Paso Robles - April 29, 2010, 29 April 2010 [cached]
Justin Smith helped plan further plantings over the next couple of years.
The first vintage of Terry Hoage wines, in '02, was made by Justin Smith, and Justin served as a consultant in '03.
As we tasted through the reds, it was interesting to compare how the wines share some basic similarity to those of Terry's mentor Justin Smith, but also how Terry has diverged from that model to carve out his own distinct style.
Little needs to be said these days about Saxum and owner/winemaker Justin Smith.
Happy to report that success hasn't changed Justin though - he's still the same hardworking, crazy, passionate, slightly goofy guy he's been since I've known him, always a pleasure to visit.
Justin launched Saxum in the early '00s after splitting with Matt Trevisan and the Linne Calodo label they'd started a few years before.
In 2003, Justin completed the current Saxum winery, overlooking James Berry Vineyard.
Justin and his wife Heather run the winery from their house adjacent to the production facility.
As we waited a short time for Justin, who was finishing up with another group of visitors, we admired the stunning Bone Rock portion of the vineyard, right next to the winery and house. This area is planted along a series of curving terraces cascading down the steep hillside. The chalky, almost-white limestone soil was easy to see along the terraces. While the vines in the rest of the vineyard are trellised, the Bone Rock vines are trained on vertical cordons due to the difficulty of trellising along the tight curves.
After a few minutes, Justin came over and welcomed us to the winery. We didn't spend a lot of time chit-chatting with him - just about all of our group that day has known him for some time, and he was on a tight schedule, squeezing us in between meeting with a group of distributors and attending to some family duties with the kids. But we had no complaints as he handed each of us a wine glass and we started right in with some tasting, first of a few current releases, and then moving on to some barrel samples from the '09 vintage. Justin did take the time to show us a special 3-liter bottle of the Saxum '07 "Bone Rock" that he was donating for the HdR auction that Saturday.
As we tasted, Justin told us a little about his winemaking. All the wines start out with native yeast fermentation, though Justin may inoculate some lots if they have trouble getting started. Different wines will get differing percentages of whole-cluster fermentation, and he noted that he'll sometimes destem fruit and add back the stems into the fermentation vessel too. Justin mentioned that recent "Bone Rock" bottlings have included around 60-70% whole cluster, and receive extended barrel aging. Older "Bone Rock" wines tended to include much less whole cluster, around 10-15%. He told us that even with high percentages of whole cluster / stem inclusion, the pH of the wines is seldom a problem.
Justin uses a variety of fermenters, mostly three, four, and five tons in size.
Whalebone Vineyard Simpson Family, 18 Dec 2010 [cached]
Pebble Smith, wine and vineyard expert and the father of world famous winemaker Justin Smith, owner of Saxum, selected an entirely south facing rocky hillside situated 1800 feet above sea level.
From the beginning, the fruit sold easily for top dollar to Justin, Hess, Meridian and HMR.
Justin Smith of Saxum ..., 10 Feb 2011 [cached]
Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards with his Mourvèdre-blend wine.
Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards with his Mourvèdre-blend wine. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
And Justin Smith, owner of Saxum, says Mourvèdre is the grape that got him into Rhône-style wines in the first place.
"Mourvèdre is great here," says Saxum owner-winemaker Smith.
"Mourvèdre has a really bad reputation in the States because so many Mediterranean wines have brett that people think they're synonymous," Smith says.
Smith says a brett-free Mourvèdre is best described as red-fruited, like pomegranate. "It's on the earthier side," he says.
Smith is one of several Paso winemakers who always ferment Mourvèdre along with other grapes to tame its tendency to oxidize or develop brettanomyces.
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