Small wine producers: 5 Q&A with Napa winemaker Ian Devereux White

A few days ago I asked on Instagram if there is anything you want to know about small wine producers. Who can answer better than a real winemaker?

Meet Ian Devereux White from Napa. His company SmithDevereux had the first vintage in 2012. And here is what he said:


1. What does small mean? A small production wine in my mind is anything below 900 cases. We make like 5,000. But what really makes us “small” is that we’re hands on with everything, there are just a handful of us involved from vineyard to bottle, we’re all friends, and like our wines, we are 100% accessible and approachable.

2. Why they are the best? They’re not the best. They’re just really, really good and in my mind, there are few wines out there that match the quality, from farm to bottle, for the price.

3. Biodynamic or not? Sustainable farming and wines. We take damn good care of the planet and our environment but it’s our goal to make the best tasting and healthiest wines possible. The word “organic” is silly now. We basically do everything organic, just don’t do the political steps of certification.

4. Best way to promote as a small producer? Word of mouth and through micro-influencers.

5. How many years does it take to actually show a profit? Depends… You can do it year 1 if you make 1 bottle for $50 and sell it for $100. But if you want to grow a business, a sustainable business, and don’t start with a ton of $… I’d say 5-7 years in the wine industry as a brand and more if you have a brick and mortar winery. We’re lucky, we farm and make most of our wines from farm to bottle but don’t have to pay a mortgage 🙂

Which one of the answers was the most interesting to you?



The picture is from Ian’s Instagram @ian_devereux_white

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