Behind every great wine there is usually a great story, and there's no exception here. Charles Smith, owner and winemaker of K Vintners arrived in Washington State from Denmark in 2000. Smith, a former rock band manager, knew exactly one person (a winemaker) and borrowed $5,000 to make his first wine.

Ten years later he makes award-winning reds, whites, and a killer rose--all with his rock 'n' roll attitude. He makes wine under three labels: the Charles Smith wines are his high-priced, more refined wines made in small quantities. His "K" line is less expensive but very tasty, and the Magnificent Wine Co. "House Wines" are entry-level, everyday drinking wines that we keep in the pantry. All three are an excellent value--meaning you get more than what you pay for. Some of them use corks, some use screw-caps, and we love them all.

All of the wines have unforgettable names -- Royal City, Old Bones, The Deal, Boom-Boom, Kung Fu Girl Riesling--but don't let the sass fool you. Charles Smith is one serious winemaker, getting some of the best grapes from the best vineyards in Washington State. (And the wine critics go wild for his Syrah.) Look for his wines in your local wine store or restaurant or order direct from the website (where it's legal to!).

Photo courtesy K Vintners