Charles Smith Debuts New Portfolio Company, Wines Of SubstanceAugust 9, 2017
After selling a number of brands to Constellation last year in a $120-million deal, Charles Smith has rebranded his company as Wines of Substance. The veteran Washington winemaker tells SND that he expects the Wines of Substance portfolio to continue its current double-digit growth in the coming years.
The Wines of Substance lineup includes K Vintners, Sixto, Casa Smith, Substance and B. Leighton, which range from $12-$100 at retail. Last year, those labels totaled 450,000 cases, making Wines of Substance the fourth-largest wine producer in Washington, and the state’s largest winemaker-owned winery. “Each year the portfolio is growing by about 20% to 30%,” says Smith. “I’m very bullish for this year.”
The K Vintners brand includes a range of wines made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Viognier. Sixto is an old-vine, high-elevation Chardonnay project, while Casa Smith specializes in Washington-grown Italian varietals. Substance includes a flagship Cabernet Sauvignon as well as single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cab bottlings. B. Leighton, meanwhile, comprises a Petit Verdot, Gratitude red blend and Syrah sourced from the Yakima Valley.
Smith’s sale to Constellation last October included the Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Velvet Devil Merlot, Boom Boom! Syrah, Eve Chardonnay and Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon labels. He continues to consult on those brands. He also co-owns Charles & Charles Rosé ($11)—handled by Trinchero and selling about 150,000 cases annually—with Charles Bieler.
Smith tells SND that while Washington wine has been growing strongly for years, the industry is only beginning to show its true potential. “I believe that we’re literally just starting to find out what varietals work well in what places, and there’s more talent coming to Washington state every year,” he says. “I think it’s the most exciting place for wine in the world right now, and it hasn’t unfolded nearly all that it’s going to give.”Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.