Todd Smith St. Pete Winesmith PT.2

What made you so interested in wine?

I fell ass backwards into the business actually. I moved to Denver for a girl.


I was living with her, her sister and her roommate for like three months without finding a job. I will try to not make this long winded.  I had my resume on Monster  online and I got an email from Sheila who’s the wine manager at Argonaut liquors right in downtown Colfax in Denver. It said if you have any interest in wine give me a call that was the whole email. The word wine wasn’t even on my resume; I had like five glasses of wine in my life at this point.

I knew nothing about wine and I don’t know why she e-mailed me so I called her and I said I don’t know if you got the right person or a why you e-mailed me, she said why don’t come down and talk to me. It was like five minutes away. So, I went down talked to her for about forty five minutes. She hired me on the spot, and said $8 bucks an hour you’re going to be shlubbing cases, stocking shelves, learning about wine, and helping customers.  I said OK fine I need a job I’ll take it.

A month later they gave me a two dollar raise I didn’t even ask they bumped me up to ten bucks an hour. They were like we love you we want you to stay, I was like awesome great. Then a couple weeks later we were tasting new wines in the basement there was like six guys on the wine staff plus Sheila was the manager it is a big store. All the guys would taste together and my elder co-worker zippy his nickname is zippy his real name is John. Older guy just hilarious he is really fun he called me out.

I’ve been shy and quiet when I would taste with them,  I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to figure it out and learn, just listening a lot you know. He said Todd what do you think about this wine? The sales reps are there you know and their  supplier guys are all there and my coworkers. So, I said honestly and he’s like yeah I think this wine sucks.  Zippy asked why? I told him why, and he said you have a really good palate. I said I don’t even know what that means. He said you can taste more than most people and you can interpret it. 

I said “Oh” and that just sat in my head for like a week.

I was walking out of the grocery store with my girlfriend one day, and I said I think I can do this. I love this. I think I found something I can do for the rest of my life and be happy doing it. That was it I was hooked, so I just started tasting a lot. Taste, taste, taste, tasting is the best way to learn you’ve got to put in your mouth really. You can read all you want you can study maps and things like that that’s all helpful in the wine world.

Part of the reason I love it so much is because there’s so much to know it’s a world of knowledge in the wine industry. It changes every year I mean it’s constantly changing and I like that it keeps everything fresh keeps on your toes. It’s fun. Yeah.

Wine is a great metaphor for life really. Grapes are like sponges they can mimic the flavors of everything on the planet in a way. I’ve tasted bubble gum, jalapeño in a wine before I’ve tasted tar, tobacco, leather you know all these things. It is just grape juice that’s all it is, fermented grape juice. No other fruit does that, bananas taste like bananas pineapple taste like pineapple.

Grapes are like sponges for the earth you know they can pick up mustard seed because maybe mustard grew in that field a hundred years ago or maybe it still does. Some wineries you can see the vines and you can see the mustard growing in between vines and stuff. Sea salt picked up out of the air you know coastal whites where vineyards are near the ocean and stuff like that. You will get a salinity you know you’ll be able to taste the sea salt. It’s really fascinating.


Gio: That’s cool  do you ever have classes?

I don’t do any classes yet. I have been asked for just a basic intro to a wine class.  I may start doing it. I would have to sit down and write a lesson out, and try to make it fun and interesting. 

Gio: Let me know I would come to that.

Todd: We should do that.

If there was one thing about wine, that you would want to tell people. What would it be?




2 comments on “Todd Smith St. Pete Winesmith PT.2

  1. Pingback: Todd Smith St. Pete Winesmith PT.2

  2. Pingback: Todd Smith St. Pete Winesmith PT.2

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