ancillary cellars is a new collaboration between celebrated Napa Valley vintners mike smith and mark carter. The driving force behind ancillary cellars is a desire to explore cool climate varietals crafted in a uniquely Californian style by showcasing the cool climate subtlety of the Sonoma Coast AVA. We have tried to craft wines that evokes the layers, complexity and delicacy of Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay with an intriguing blend of vibrancy and depth.
mark carter’s circuitous journey to the Napa Valley was inspired by a love for the vineyard life and a passion to produce premium California wines. mark hails from the far northern hamlet of Eureka where he started his career as a builder, renovating historical Victorian homes. A modern day Renaissance man, mark’s enthusiasm in food and wine led him to open the Carter House Inn Hotel and Restaurant 301, where he built a Wine Spectator Grand Award winning wine list and attracted the company of many great winemakers and chefs. It was there where mark met Fred Schrader and from their friendship and Schrader’s tutelage, Carter Cellars was born. Since 1996, Carter Cellars has produced Cabernet Sauvignon from the most premium vineyard blocks in the Napa Valley and has been honored with numerous accolades, none less extraordinary than a 100 points awarded by Robert Parker for Carter Cellars 2002 Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon.
mike smith started his winemaking career under the direction of the talented Thomas Brown at Outpost wines in 2001. mike put in his years as a cellar rat, traveling from Oregon south to the Napa Valley, while working harvest free of charge to learn his craft. After his 3rd harvest, mike made the plunge full time and moved his family to beautiful St. Helena. It was during this period that mike was able to articulate his own philosophies on winemaking and cement his reputation for crafting terroir driven wines which allow for the natural characteristics of each vineyard to shine. He continues to make highly regarded wines for a number of successful wineries including Carter Cellars, Myriad, Quivet Cellars, 12C, Scarlett and now, ancillary cellars.