Stuart is a veteran winegrower of forty years. He was schooled in the sciences while working on his master’s degree at U.C. Davis in Viticulture and Enology. His course work included basic chemistry, inorganic, organic and bio-chemistry, bacteriology, biology, plant propagation along with the specialized courses unique to the Viticulture and Enology Department. He was the department’s first Teaching Assistant to Professors Maynard Amerine and Vern Singleton. This course work taught him how to think, analyze and critically evaluate hypotheses. In the early 1970s he was an instructor of Viticulture and Enology at Napa Community College for several years and for another ten or so years at Santa Rosa Junior College. Stuart graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1970 with a degree in Economics.
In the fall of 1970 he first walked 200 acres of forested land on the top of Spring Mountain, located just west of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. There were old grape stakes, evidence of the original 1880s vineyard, interspersed among the towering Douglas firs, oaks and Madrones which had reclaimed the long abandoned vineyard. With a small partnership of family and friends he was able to purchase the land in early 1971 and start Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery. His brother Charley joined him and they planted the vineyard and built the winery, and today continue to grow the grapes and make the wine.
For three years Stuart was a board member of the Napa Valley Vintners Association and Chairman of the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 1986 and then served as a Co-Chairman in 2005 for the 25th anniversary. Stuart also helped start Farmers For Napa Valley and was a Board member of the Napa Valley Farm Bureau from approximately 1999-2001. He was appointed by the Napa County Board of Supervisors to the Napa River Watershed Task Force in 1998 and to the Steering Committee of the Napa County General Plan Update in 2003. Stuart was also profiled in James Conaway’s book Napa – The Far Side of Eden because of his long-standing involvement in Napa County’s land use issues.
Stuart is an avid outdoorsman with a passion for canoeing, hiking, hunting and shooting. Stuart is an Eagle Scout and was Scoutmaster of St. Helena’s Troop 1 for seven years. Stuart is married to Julie Ann Kodmur and the father of five children.