Meredith Smith is the esteemed winemaker of both Sawtooth Winery, which she joined as a harvest helper in 2009, and, as of the 2016 harvest, Ste. Chapelle Winery, Idaho's largest and oldest continuous running winery.
Although Meredith Smith long enjoyed wine, it wasn't until she read a quote in 2006, "Pay attention to what you pay attention to," that she left behind careers in real estate development and accounting to pursue wine-making. "Almost all my books and magazines subscriptions were wine and viticulture-related, so I enrolled in the Washington State University viticulture program," she says.
She graduated with a professional viticulture certificate and jumped in during the Sawtooth 2009 harvest. Within months, she was promoted to Assistant Winemaker and in 2013, again as Associate Winemaker. In 2010 Meredith took on concurrent work as a viticulture technician for both Skyline and Sawtooth (Idaho's largest vineyards) to estimate yields and track vineyard statistics. Meredith says she felt fortunate to work in tandem with then-Sawtooth winemaker Bill Murray, who shared his knowledge and past Napa Valley experience with her. "I also feel privileged to work in the vineyard with so many different varieties and clones, gather facts on all these and see the results in the wines we make," she says.
Her favorite wine to make is Chardonnay for the challenge of standing out, given its popularity, many styles and critical subjectivity. She also enjoys making Rhone varietal wines. She finds the Snake River Valley AVA a promising region for Rhone varietals; she and many other area winemakers realize the potential and resulting wines. The Snake River Valley AVA is unique in that its different varietals have consistently resulted in great wine, she says. In addition to growing great fruit, Idahoans enjoy the living in a beautiful outdoor Mecca that offers numerous activities year round.
When Meredith isn't making wine, you'll find this mom and outdoors enthusiast skiing, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, backpacking and fly fishing. She also loves cooking, music, and dogs.