Justin Smith


After looking for the perfect terroir and settling on West Paso, Bill and Liz Armstrong needed someone to help guide them in the next phase toward their dream of producing ultra-premium wines. Being huge fans of Saxum wines, Bill cold-called the owner/winemaker, Justin Smith. Bill and Liz met Justin over coffee where they talked about their love of West Paso and great wine, and they agreed to team up to look for the right land, pick the right varietals, rootstocks, etc. This threesome kicked a lot of dirt in West Paso before eventually stumbling across the “not for sale” renowned, but fallow, Paderewski Vineyard. Justin is a Paso hometown hero, and we feel crazy fortunate to have had his insight during our earliest Epoch days. Since hiring Jordan as our Winemaker in 2010, his involvement has waned a bit, but he is still on call for consulting assistance. For more on Justin, check out Bill’s blog post, “A New York State of Wine”, about Justin receiving Wine Spectator’s 2010 award for the #1 wine in the world for his ’07 Saxum, James Berry Vineyard wine.

Fun Fact: This photo was taken during our very first harvest! Liz, Jack, and Lindsey Armstrong were there too but were probably busy stomping grapes with their bare feet. Ü