Smith Story Wine Cellars is conveniently located inside the impressive and gorgeous Bacchus Landing complex, near downtown Healdsburg.
Bacchus Landing is home to a selection of independently owned boutique tasting rooms where guests can explore different wineries.
Smith Story Wine Cellars is a woman-owned winery operated by husband-wife team Ali Smith and Eric Story. They work closely with family-owned vineyards from the Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, and Sonoma Mountain to produce wines with an old-world focus.
“Our motto is Family Farmers First.”
– Ali Smith
Wine Tasting at Smith Story
Visitors can enjoy a friendly and well-paced tasting indoors or on their large sunny patio.
Wine offered at Smith Story has to meet a certain standard of what Ali and Eric would want to drink themselves and share with those closest to them. After all, if the wine is worth sharing, you know it’s good.
Under the Smith Story label, they produce Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carbonic Zinfandel, Rosé, and sparkling wine.
“Our wines are made with respect for the land, kindness for the grower and love from the winemaker.”
– Ali Smith
Smith Story also launched the “BRAVE” Artist Series label, which is inspired by Ali’s year of fighting and overcoming breast cancer. The label represents her journey and anyone else who needs the inspiration to be brave.
The tasting room is brimming with character. Here, guests can sample wines while browsing through a selection of antiques and sundries (old and rare books, glassware, Enid Collins vintage purses, decanters, home décor and more) hand-picked by Ali from her travels around the world.
Smith Story is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 am – 4 pm and on Thursday by appointment only. Reservations are preferred but not required. Tasting fees are $25-$50 per person.
Meet Lord Sandwich and Sir Royal Soup
Smith Story Wine Cellars is dog friendly. Well behaved dogs are welcome, but they must be kept on a leash inside the Bacchus Landing property at all times.
During your visit, you will likely meet their adorable Goldendoodle and brand ambassador, Lord Sandwich.
He is Ali and Eric’s dog, who has his own label (Lord Sandwich Blanc and Red Table wines). Lord Sandwich is a bit of a celebrity – drawing devoted followers from near and far. Follow him on Instagram @sandwichthedoodle and join his growing community of more than 72k fans!
In the tasting room, you will also discover “Wine Dogs” books with Lord Sandwich gracing the covers. These books are available only in the Smith Story tasting room or on their website.
Unsurprisingly, he’s also the namesake behind the nonprofit Socks for Sandwich – devoted to donating new socks for those in need.
Sir Royal Soup is Lord Sandwich’s new brother, who has also become a brand ambassador for Smith Story Wines.
How it All Began
Wine is what brought Ali and Eric together. They met while working at K&L Wine Merchants in Northern California. Originally from Texas, Ali, also known as TexaCaliAli, previously ran a boutique sales and marketing agency for wineries and importers in Austin, Texas. Eric was a long-time buyer for K&L Wine Merchants and started making wine on the side. He also worked harvests in Germany.
As time passed, the two savored the flavors of over 25 International Wine Regions – exploring lush vineyards and meeting remarkable winemakers.
“We were self-proclaimed “wine nerds” and those who knew us well encouraged us to start our own winery. We were intrigued by the idea, but knew it would be expensive. We just couldn’t do it alone,” said Ali. Luckily with the help of 150 backers on Kickstarter in 2014, Ali and Eric were fully funded in 30 days and celebrated their first vintage that same year.
In 2017, Ali and Eric opened their first tasting room in the town of Philo in Anderson Valley. They were the smallest tasting room in Anderson Valley but created a loyal following that helped spread the love of Smith Story wines. But moving to Bacchus Landing in Healdsburg in 2021 puts Smith Story in a more central, accessible location.
“It is a quick exit off Highway 101 for our fans who make an annual trek to the Anderson Valley,” Ali explained. “I don’t think we would have made the move if the new tasting room location wasn’t as easy to find.
The Anderson Valley holds such an emotional attachment for us and for anyone really who enjoys Anderson Valley, but as a small and new winery, Healdsburg is central and it’s a dream to be on Westside Rd., surrounded by so many legendary wineries that have inspired us over the years.”
“Starting a small family winery is our dream, our passion, our future, Our Business.”
– Ali Smith
Smith Story: Surviving the Unexpected
Although Smith Story has seen much success, the last few years have presented unforeseen challenges for a small family-owned brand like Smith Story. They survived two years of severe drought, four wildfire seasons, a few floods, the pandemic, and most recently Ali’s fight with breast cancer.
At Smith Story, hope and resilience takes a tangible form. When visiting their tasting room, sample wines for flavor and inspiration; it’s amazing how far they’ve come!