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Zoe Zimpfer, Marketing Coordinator

The Faces of Clos Du Val: Q&A with Olav Goelet

Fifty years ago, a man set out with the task to find the best place on the globe to grow and make the world’s most iconic Cabernet Sauvignon. That man is Clos Du Val’s founder and owner, John Goelet. While the years have passed, the dream never dies. Now the third generations of the Goelet family help to carry that torch, including John’s grandson, Olav Goelet.

Olav is on site full time at the winery now and serves as Owner and Chairman of the Board. In an era where family owned wineries begin to be a thing of the past, it’s truly special to have the new generation stepping in and continuing the legacy. 

Without further ado, I give the floor to Olav Goelet.

Q&A with Olav Goelet, Owner & Chairman of the Board at Clos Du Val 

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually wanted to be an athlete, I loved to play lacrosse and basketball. I found out pretty early on in high school that although I enjoyed sports, I definitely wasn’t going to go pro (he says with a chuckle.)


What did you study in school?

I attended the University of Denver and majored in French and International Relations. I decided to continue my education to receive my masters in aquaculture production management at the University of Montpellier in France, where I lived for two years.


Why did you decide to get involved in the family business?

I had already been participating in one of my family’s ventures in the aquaculture world and I saw the benefits of having next generation involvement. My cousin, Eloise Goelet, spent a number of years contributing to Clos Du Val and I felt there was a great opportunity to continue that. There’s a lot of good that comes out of the next generation getting involved and stepping up. 


Who is the most influential person in your life?

My wife. She has always been a great motivator, she always pushes me to strive to do better. She’s also been a great companion, she packed her bags at 6 months pregnant to move out to California to embark on this new chapter at Clos Du Val, and I truly couldn’t have done it without her. 


What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

My first language growing up was Norweigen, it was the household language because my mother is from Norway. It was really important to her that her children spoke Norweigen. 


What memories do you have of your grandfather and/or the winery growing up?

I remember visiting Clos Du Val with my grandfather and meeting and getting to know Bernard Portet, the founding winemaker. I have vivid memories of Bernard walking my siblings and I through the winery and the vineyards, teaching us what winemaking was all about. Clos Du Val was always around, always served on my parent’s dinner table. I very much admire my grandfather, he is an individual who is always thinking of the next project. 


What’s one thing that has surprised you about working at Clos Du Val?

How intricate the wine industry is. It’s a strong mix of agriculture, sales, marketing and branding. There’s so much more that goes into making a bottle of wine than I had ever really appreciated. 


What’s your favorite part of your job?

Working with the people. Through my career I’ve found that I enjoy helping motivate people to strive to do their best and to achieve a common goal. It’s something that is difficult to consistently do, but when you have a team who are all on the same page, trying to accomplish the same thing, you get great results. 


What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

Nowadays, my life revolves around my son which means a lot of feeding, going on walks, and trying to get him down to nap. Ideally, I would be going on hikes, spending time on the water, or playing golf. I just enjoy being outdoors and being active.


Where is your favorite place you have visited?

India has to be the most interesting place I have ever been. I enjoyed the friendly people, phenomenal culture, and the rich history. 


If you could only drink one varietal of wine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I always gravitate towards a Pinot Noir. 


If you spot Olav wandering around the Hirondelle House, don’t hesitate to say hello! He loves to visit with guests and get to know the visitors of Clos Du Val. 


Until next time on the Faces of Clos Du Val..



Time Posted: Feb 24, 2020 at 3:30 PM
Raquel Royers, Marketing Manager

The Faces of Clos Du Val: Q&A with Scott Johnson

Welcome to another segment of Behind the Faces of Clos Du Val. This face may be quite familiar to many of you, as he is often in the "front lines" and interacts with our amazing guests on the daily in the tasting room as our Guest Experience Manager.

Scott is the kind of guy who evokes a sense of happiness the moment you see him. Always wearing a beaming smile, he’s the epitome of hospitality. A seasoned vet in the wine industry, Scott is a critical part of the success of Clos Du Val. Always rallying behind his team and his guests, exuding energy and offering up laughs, Scott is someone you most definitely want to know!

Alright, and I now give the stage to Mr. Scott Johnson.

clos du val guest experience manager scott johnson

Photo by Rocco Ceselin

Q&A with Scott Johnson, Guest Experience Manager at Clos Du Val

How long have you been with Clos Du Val?

I’ve been here since March of 2018 so, 15 months.

How did you get started in the wine business?

This is kind of a long story. (He says with a big smile and long laugh) So, growing up in Napa, wine was always a part of my life. I had a couple neighbors who retired and decided to pursue winemaking. I spent many winters with them in their makeshift garage cellars handling different parts of the winemaking process. Come summer I would work with them in the vineyards, which eventually led to some more seasonal gigs with other neighbors. I always had an obsession with the art form of it and how many people it took to get the juice into the glass. For me, it came down to the quality of the experience, and how wine becomes so centric to the dinner table. Ironically, when in school, I was going a much different direction, and was more focused on pursuing wellness, specifically physical therapy. It wasn’t until I came back to Napa that I really developed a deeper respect for the Napa lifestyle. It’s always been a love affair and something I’m really proud of; to connect people from all around the world, all walks of life, together.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

The thing I love most about my job is the opportunity to help create lasting memories for our guests. We’re in a very unique industry where there are so many people involved – from growing, to production, sales, hospitality, marketing, etc., who are all working toward that end vision of passing a glass of wine to a customer and continuing the story.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of being involved with an iconic family owned winery in Napa Valley that has pursued a path to preserve what they have created. Pride really comes into play with being here during this time of renovation.

Who’s your biggest inspiration?

Mom. The way that she looks at life is such an astounding accomplishment. The way she can balance everything and always be there for family and friends, while pursuing an amazing professional career in real estate, yet still always placing value on taking time to step back and appreciate life, usually with a glass of wine.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

When I’m not gardening, reading a book over a cup of coffee or aquascaping, I’m training for triathlons. 

When you’re not working at the winery, what can people find you doing?

Right now, it’s wedding, wedding, wedding. Lot’s of wedding planning with my better half.

Drink of choice?

It’s totally circumstantial. When it comes down to beverages, I am an opportunist.

What’s the wine that created the “ah-ha” moment?

Chateau Chaval Blanc, I want to say it was an '89 or something like that.

If a film was named after you, what would it be called?

The Eternal Optimist, that’s so lame but probably true. (He says with a chuckle)

If I was to go turn on your car, what song would most likely be playing?

It’s probably Creedence Clearwater to be honest. It would be ultra-lame to say a podcast but honestly that’s queued up 90% of the time.

If you stop by Clos Du Val for a tasting be sure to say hello to Scott and embarrass him by mentioning you read this. ;) Until next time on The Faces of Clos Du Val..



Time Posted: Jun 12, 2019 at 3:30 PM
Jon-Mark Chappellet, Director of Operations

Can Grapevines Swim?

To say that we’ve had a lot of rain in February is a bit of an understatement! Our total rainfall for this month is over 16 inches which equals of ½ inch per day for the entire month. Actually ½ inch of rain in a day is fairly reasonable but some of our storms have delivered 3-4 inches in one day. That causes problems, especially for those close to the Napa River. Here at the winery we escaped the worst of the flooding but vineyards just to the south of us were submerged in the swollen expanse of the river.

At the height of the flooding, huge areas of the valley floor looked like a lake with only the tops of the vine trellises poking through the muddy water. It’s wild, if not a little scary, to see mother-nature and geology in action. The rich alluvial soils which make up the valley floor come from the surrounding hills that can’t hold a 4 inch rain event when the ground is already saturated. In drier times it often seems like just another burdensome government regulation but our appreciation for the work that goes into vineyard erosion control plans increases during times like this.

flooded napa valley vineyards

With the most recent storms now behind us and with the return of sunny weather it’s amazing to see everything still here. Besides some debris caught in the vine wires and trellises it’s hard to even imagine that thousands of acres of vineyards were underwater only yesterday. The nice weather will allow the winter vineyard work to resume but it will be several weeks before anyone dares test out the soggy soils with a tractor or anything heavier than a work boot.

So far this has been a cool and wet winter but the buckeyes, Acacias and ubiquitous yellow mustard flowers remind us that spring is on its way and the grapevines will soon be waking up.

Time Posted: Feb 28, 2019 at 4:42 PM
Raquel Royers, Marketing Manager

The Faces of Clos Du Val: Q&A with Lucio Saucedo

There's so much history and storytelling behind a bottle of wine. Some of the most interesting stories are those of the people behind the bottle, the ones working countless hours sorting grapes, racking barrels, stacking cases, working behind a desk or serving guests in the tasting room. We have many people here at Clos Du Val who contribute to our story and who we are as a winery. We'd like to introduce you to a new series where we showcase The Faces of Clos Du Val, as many of them are rarely in the spotlight, but are an integral part of who we are. 

I couldn't be happier to start this series off with one of the most humble people you will ever meet. He's also one of Clos Du Val's longest standing employees. Everyone, please meet Lucio Saucedo.

the faces of clos du val

Q&A with Lucio Saucedo, Cellar & Production Team Member at Clos Du Val

How long have you been with Clos Du Val?

I’ve worked here for 36 years. I first started working at Clos Du Val when I was in my early 20's. It all started in the vineyards, picking grapes, during harvests.

How did you get started in the wine business?

I started working in wine because it’s what was popular in the valley for work. In this area it’s what everyone does, so I thought I would give it a try. I first started in the vineyards and worked there for 5 years, then moved to the cellar and production. I really enjoyed working in the winery, so there I stayed.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part is working with barrels; racking them, filling them, the entire process of helping create the wine. I like this because it keeps me busy. I’m always doing something and it’s interesting.

How have you seen the industry change over your time here?

It has grown so much since I started. There are so many new and different methods, ideas and technologies. Before it was much more simple – now it’s so much more involved but is helping to lead to more options and better wine quality.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud that after all these years, I can still adjust to all of the changes. It feels good that I am still here, adapting and finding ways to keep up with the industry. I am proud that I have been around for so long and have experienced so much.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Many people are surprised by my cooking. I enjoy making food for those that I love. Some of my best dishes include ceviche, pickled habanero and I make about seven different salsas.

When you’re not working at the winery, what can people find you doing?

Relaxing. (He says with a laugh) I like to stay home when I’m not working and just relax.

Drink of choice?

I like beer, cervesa. Any beer, I’m not picky.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Frijoles. Beans. You can cook them all different ways and choose from many different types of beans. Yeah, it would be beans.

We finish the interview and you step outside to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

Pay off my debts and then help out my family and children with whatever they need. I would spend it mostly on my family, that I love. I have a son and daughter with my wife of 28 years.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the first post of our new series. Lucio was such a joy to interview. And I can personally attest to the fact that he is a great cook - he spoils us by bringing his creations in often! His pickled habanero is to die for. 

Until next time on The Faces of Clos Du Val..



Time Posted: Feb 21, 2019 at 9:15 AM
Shannon Muracchioli, Director of DTC & Marketing

Forty-Seven Years Committed - A Clos Du Val Love Story

On the anniversary of a couple celebrating their forty-seventh year of marriage, the traditional gift of choice is one inspired by gardens and plants. How incredibly fitting that forty-seven years after Clos Du Val’s first vintage, we find ourselves still surrounded by estate vineyards that (if we dare say so ourselves) are some of the most sought after in the world. To say this is a love affair would be putting it mildly.

When John and Henrietta Goelet founded Clos Du Val in 1972, it was with deep understanding that when a piece of land is nurtured and developed with the intent to sustain its health and well-being for generations to come, that land will – in turn – take equally good care of those that call it home. It’s our Stags Leap District estate that first allowed us to shine when our inaugural wine, the 1972 Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, was part of the group of wines that topped the French in the legendary 1976 blind tasting, and it’s the same parcel of land that continues to produce the stunning fruit that goes into our acclaimed wines of today.

clos du val with vineyards

However, the love doesn’t just stop there.  As with any good relationship, there is so much more earned than just the admiration that is shared between two. The commitment the Goelet’s made, and continue to make, to the Clos Du Val estate is one that has played an integral part in many people’s lives. To all those that have been a part of the Clos Du Val team, to the many that call Napa Valley their home, and to the thousands of guests that have walked through our doors over the generations, Clos Du Val has been a marker for many. For myself, the incredibly special role that wine plays in bringing people together, is one of the most beautiful things about it. From its humble start as clusters of grapes in a dusty vineyard row, to a popped bottle poured into the glasses of people celebrating the most remarkable moments in their life, history has taught us all that it’s the connections that wine allows us to create that is the greatest love of all.

Time Posted: Feb 14, 2019 at 3:54 PM
Ted Henry, Winemaker
November 19, 2018 | Ted Henry, Winemaker

Holiday Wine Pairings Tips from Clos Du Val Winemaker

In our family we have already started the pre-Thanksgiving parties and are busy planning the next couple of months of holiday get-togethers and dinners. It seems every year I get asked what wine should be brought to serve with turkey, prime rib or ham, etc. I have never put too much weight in the perfect pairing, they do exist but often it's best to focus on what you like. If you only like Chardonnay you are perfectly correct in pairing it with duck breast, or whatever may be on your holiday table. Who is to say you are wrong? 

clos du val dinner table

Photo by David Dines 

Wine is subjective and that's a part of its beauty. Your wine experience should be fun and enjoyable. Drink what you like, not what you think you should be drinking. 

However, generally speaking, most of the time it is safe to pair lighter dishes with lighter wines. In adition, richer foods hold up well to the bolder more tannic wines. It’s definitely fun to experiment with like flavors. One example is butter poached scallops with Gran Val Chardonnay.  The flavors really complement each other. Adding a little lemon juice to the dish is the key, it adds the acid as well as a common flavor found in the wine. 

Or more traditionally, Pinot Noir is a great pairing with turkey. May I suggest our Gran Val Pinot Noir from our Carneros vineyards. Light in body, high acid and bright red fruit with slight herbacious characteristcs make this the perfect pairing to all the Thanksgiving fixins. But again, if that's not your favorite varietal, drink what you want! Most importantly, have fun!

Time Posted: Nov 19, 2018 at 11:57 AM
Jon-Mark Chappellet, Director of Operations

Harvest Comes to a Close - Time to Make Some Wine

We are finally wrapping up the endless harvest. Sort of incredible that we are into the 2nd week in November and there is still fruit on the vine. Not only a long, drawn out harvest but also a huge one. Some of our vineyards gave us twice the fruit that we had originally estimated.

napa harvest

Photo by Rocco Studio

What a year, very cool but still no rain in sight. 80 degrees during the day and 40 at night, day after day after day. At this point though the vines are getting tired of waking up every day and going back to work on their crop. Time for them to take some time off and sleep for a few months.

napa harvest

Photo by Rocco Studio

We will harvest what still remains on the vines over the next week and then start our post-harvest fertigation and seeding of cover crops. I for one am looking forward to winter and all the changes that come with it. The grapes are now in Ted’s hands for him to start crafting wines from the raw abundance that this year has given us. 

So far the signs are good that there is another great vintage in the making. The long cool ripening of 2018 should result in wines that are very expressive of their variety and the greatness of the Stags Leap District. 

Time Posted: Nov 12, 2018 at 4:59 PM
Steve Tamburelli, Former President & CEO

The Holidays Are Upon Us at Clos Du Val

We are excited to soon send out our fall member shipment which includes some wonderful wines to pair with your holiday celebrations. Our 2016 Gran Val Pinot Noir and 2015 Three Graces will be sure to provide a memorable experience with friends and family. We're happy to share below a note included from Clos Du Val President and CEO, Steve Tamburelli. 

Dear Friends,

As I write this, the morning air in the Napa Valley has turned crisp, pumpkins adorn the porches of houses around my neighborhood and the bright sun of summer has given way to the soft Fall light.  I look out my window and see the grape trucks delivering the bounty of the harvest to our crushpad – the culmination of a year of work, worry and triumph.  Mother Nature took us on a trip down memory lane this year, pausing the string of very warm (hot) summers for an abnormally cool (and quite refreshing!) growing season.  This has delayed harvest a couple of weeks but has given the grapes the ability to fully develop flavors on the vine.  The quality of the 2018 vintage promises to be stellar!   

As is typical at this time of year, our thoughts turn to the year just passed as we sort through the many things that we should take time to be thankful for.  There is no shortage of these for me this year.  Everyday, I am blessed to come to work with a team that is dedicated and driven to be the best that they can be.  Our vineyard and winemaking team continue to raise the bar beyond what seems possible.  The wines that they’re producing are not only exciting but can stand up against anything in the world.  The entire visitor center and membership teams are helping our guests and Coterie members to create memories that will last them a lifetime (Our new Hirondelle House is certainly worth visiting if you haven’t yet!).  Our admin team greets each day with a smile and makes it possible for everyone else to get their jobs done.  I thank my lucky stars daily to work with such a group of exceptional people.

clos du val staff

The real ‘why’ of what we do however is in the relationships that we can form with all of you and hoping that each interaction with Clos Du Val, whether it be a visit here, a phone call from our team, or a glass of our wine at home or at your favorite restaurant can make that day just a little (or a lot!) better.  Our mission here is to ‘Elevate Life’ and that’s what truly drives us day in and day out.  I’m thankful and hopeful that our efforts can be a part of making this true for you.

On a personal note, my wife and I became ‘empty-nesters’ this Fall as we dropped our only child (son) off at UC Santa Barbara to start his own voyage.  He’s adapted well and is making the absolute most of his freshman year.  Mom and dad are getting used to a very quiet house but our chihuahuas seem to be filling the noise void!  I’m truly a thankful and very lucky guy.

So, from the entire team at Clos Du Val, please have a happy, healthy and safe Holiday season.  Take time to give thanks and to enjoy those around you that make life worth living.  Open that special bottle of wine and share it with friends and family. We hope to see you here in 2019!

Happy Holidays,


Time Posted: Nov 5, 2018 at 9:24 AM
Shannon Muracchioli, Director of DTC & Marketing

Reflecting on Harvest and the Somm III World Premiere at Clos Du Val

While September and October are traditionally always a very busy month for wine country, this year proved itself to be quite a doozy. Between the opening of our beautiful new space, the Hirondelle House (come visit us!), harvest coming in later than it has in recent years, and a jam-packed event calendar, things were definitely rocking and rolling, leaving little time to reflect on all of the amazing moments we’ve experienced over the last few weeks; one of those being Clos Du Val’s hosting of the World Premiere of Somm III.

There are only a handful of moments in my career when things happen so seamlessly that it’s hard not to believe that serendipity does in fact have a chair at the table of life. Clos Du Val’s appearance in the film, connecting with Director Jason Wise, and then getting down to business and pulling together a filming – something I’ve never before done – was nothing short of a miracle. As Steve noted in a previous journal post, if it wasn’t for our entire team working hard to make this happen, it wouldn’t have come off as seamlessly as it did. Jason Wise and the incredible team behind the making of the film were also brilliant to partner with and some of the loveliest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

While I could go on and on about the evening as well as dive into how much I enjoyed the film itself, the images below do a much better job painting a picture than I ever could with words alone. I can’t wait for everyone to experience this film and the obvious passion behind its making.  

somm film at clos du val

The Somm III crew and friends celebrating the priemere of the film at Clos Du Val.

Jason Wise of Somm films

A big congrats to Jason Wise - another wonderful Somm film in the books!

clos du val ceo

Our Clos Du Val CEO, Steve Tamburelli, enjoying our new Hirondelle House during the event.

clos du val wine

I must say, we opened some great bottles that night, including these 1979 Reserve Cabernets. 

A big thank you to Hemlock House Photography for the gorgeous event photos! Such a night to remember.


Time Posted: Oct 23, 2018 at 12:03 PM
Ted Henry, Winemaker
October 11, 2018 | Ted Henry, Winemaker

A Year Ago and Where We Are Now

Exactly one year ago we were just finishing our harvest when the fires broke out in Napa and Sonoma counties.  It was a crazy time to be in the valley but after a relatively short period of time we have all but completely bounced back and you have to look pretty hard to see evidence of that scary time.  The most interesting thing about this anniversary is the difference between the vintage in 2017 and 2018.  Instead of almost being finished with harvest at this time last year, for 2018 we are just getting started (with Cabernet anyway). 

napa valley grapes

October 10th was the first pick on Cabernet Sauvignon compared to last year’s first Cabernet Sauvignon pick on September 9th.  One full month behind!

What is behind this late harvest timing? Mild weather (the winemaker’s favorite kind of weather) takes credit. As I have noted before, most years in Napa have some periods of really hot temperatures which accelerate the ripening of the grapes. With a year like 2018 there were no significant heat events which means a more natural and slow accumulation of flavors in the grapes.  Generally, the longer the growing season the better the grapes. In some mild years like 2011 we had a similar temperature pattern but we had a lot of late season rain.

cabernet vineyard

This year’s forecast shows sun and no rain in sight through October which puts us in about the best winegrape growing position possible. I’m looking forward to these wines!

Time Posted: Oct 11, 2018 at 10:51 AM
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