About Wine Smith

Our Story

Wine Smith Limited is a family-owned Belizean wine boutique in San Ignacio Town, Belize. Since opening its doors in 2019, Wine Smith introduced wine from various wineries in Northern California made by Belizean winemaker, Joseph Smith. 

While Joseph made his home in California working alongside some of the best wineries in the region, he enlisted his family in Belize to run the day-to-day operations, and accelerate Belize into the ever-growing wine culture. Today, Wine Smith carries over 15 different varietals and award-winning wines featured in prestigious magazines such as the Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast.

Meet the Winemaker

Joseph Smith affectionately known as Flinkas, was born and raised in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, Belize in a large family with 13 siblings. Joseph migrated to California in 1996 and in just a few months he found employment in the construction business. His first job was renovating a winery in Stockton, California. At the end of his contract, Joseph was offered a part-time job at the winery as the grape harvest season was just about to start and he dug in and gave it his all. 

The head winemaker, Barry Gnekow, recognized his work ethic and approached Joseph and asked if he would be interested in a full-time position. Joseph was hesitant at first but ultimately agreed. In 1999, Barry decided to leave the winery and start a winemaking consulting business and asked Joseph to be a partner and without skipping a beat, Joseph agreed to join him.   From 1999-2003, Joseph traveled with Barry to various wine regions throughout California, including Napa Valley, Lodi, and Central Coast. Joseph learned a great deal about winemaking and the different regions during this time. He learned every aspect of winemaking, including harvesting grapes, monitoring the fermentation process, and training workers on how to use various winery equipment.  Joseph knew if he was going to make this a career, he would need to understand the in-depth processing and chemistry of winemaking. He enrolled himself in a winemaking program at the University of California Davis and after completing his winemaking program, Joseph was approached by numerous wineries from different regions to work for them. 

 Joseph finally decided that Lodi, California was where he would settle and start his next chapter in the winemaking journey. He worked as the lead cellar master for the Michael David Winery from 2003-2004. In 2005, he became the Head winemaker for Jewel Winery and in 2006 he was approached by Steve Felten, the owner of Klinker Brick Winery. Joseph’s time with Klinker Brick further developed his wine-making skills and today, those wines have been recognized and featured in some of the most prestigious wine and food magazines from the Wine Spectator magazine where he received 90 points rating on his 2015 Old Ghost Zinfandel to 91 points in the Wine Enthusiast magazine just to name a few. 

In 2017, seven of his wines received over 90 points in a single issue of the Wine Enthusiast Magazine. In 2020, the Wine Spectator Magazine rated two of Joseph’s wines in the Top 100 Wines of the World. This was the first time in 38 years the Lodi region received such notable recognition. Joseph has also created and owns multiple brands under his Concrete and Sip Label.. His wines have national distribution in over 40 states in the USA and have also been rated in the Wine Enthusiast Magazine where he scored 91 points for his 2013 Concrete Old Vin Zinfandel and 89 points for his Cabernet Sauvignon. Joseph’s experience in the industry culminated in the launch of his own wine brand, JSL Wines. In 2022, he launched, a true California Grown Belizean Owned line of luxury Lorraine Chardonnay and Saignée Rosé named for his wife and daughter respectively and more recently, a collaborative raspberry infused sparkling wine, Être Vu by Stig Da Artist.