Oakland native Raymond Smith started as a ship joiner before deciding to apply his ingenuity to the wine industry. He moved to Paso Robles, where he built and operated mobile wine bottling lines. He was eventually inspired to start producing his own wines and founded Indigenè Cellars in California’s Carmel Valley in 2007.
Joshua Lurie: What’s your first wine memory?
Raymond Smith: My Father’s friends would make wine in their garage.
JL: When and why did you make your first wine?
RS: My first wine was made in 1990 I made a barrel at a winery I worked at to learn more about the process.
JL: What’s a wine trend that you’re excited about?
RS: Co-fermentation’s or “farm Blends” are trends that I have always been excited about. With limitless resources of yeast strains, Isolated clones and cold climate fruit sources. They allow you to express your individuality and persona early in the life of the traditional California dry red blend.
JL: How much value do you see in rating wines using a 100-point scale?
RS: The 100 point scale has its place in wine judging as well as helping the savvy wine collector decipher through wine styles, trends or directions. The 100 point scale will help you taste through and understand complexities such as big rich profiles of Isolated clones or subtle nuances of barrel fermentation’s and how well they are balanced.
JL: If you could only drink one more bottle of wine, what would it be and why?
RS: Early Treanna Red table wines. These wines have exhibited such balance and natural character each glass reminds me of accomplishment, serenity and that love that gravitated me to this business….I aspire to be like those guys one day.
JL: What food would you pair with the wine?
RS: Grilled rosemary chicken breast medallions and habenero cold slaw.