At the heart of Clos du Val is an epic love story between John and Henrietta Goelet and their shared passion for French wines and global travel. With family ties to one of Bordeaux’s premiere wine merchants, Barton & Guestier, John had a vision of producing Cabernet Sauvignon that would rival the world’s best.
The Goelets selected a young French winemaker, Bernard Portet, to lead the search for a location capable of producing Cabernet-inspired wines of the highest quality and character. Bernard had grown up in Bordeaux, learning from his father who served as technical director at Château Lafite. He spent the following two years exploring wine regions across five continents, ultimately selecting an area that would later be known as the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. The site was where Clos du Val was founded in 1972, and to this day, it remains our flagship Hirondelle Vineyard and home to all winemaking activites.
Our inaugural wine, the 1972 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, was part of the American group that topped French wines in the legendary 1976 Judgment of Paris blind tasting. Ten years later, that same wine took first place in the Judgment of Paris rematch, helping to cement the reputation of Napa Valley as one of the premier winegrowing regions of the world, and catapulting Clos du Val to international recognition.
Clos du Val currently farms two estate vineyards in the Stags Leap District and Yountville AVAs, providing our expert winemaking team with a world-class palette of Bordeaux varietals. Celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2022, we remain inspired by our original mission: to craft the best Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines in the world.