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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The last two weeks at Clos Du Val have been exciting to say the least. From scrambling to get our new visitor home, the Hirondelle House, ready for its grand opening party, to hosting the world premiere screening of ‘Somm 3’, the latest installment in the Somm trilogy, to actually bringing in the first grapes of the 2018 harvest, this place has been abuzz with activity.
Photo by David Dines
Photo by David Dines
The team at Clos Du Val possesses an incredible ‘can-do’ attitude and never was it more on display. From James, Javier and the team in the cellar completely re-configuring a barrel chai into a movie theater (during harvest!), to Laura and Scott and their member & guest services crew mopping floors, buffing mirrors and greeting guests, to the finance/admin team checking people in and pouring wine, to the cellar team and interns who were asked to move furniture after they had spent the day crushing grapes, these people all pulled together with big smiles and a great spirit to make it all work.
Photo by David Dines
I thought that we were asking too much but once again, the Clos Du Val team made the impossible happen. I couldn't be prouder of this group of incredible individuals and am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead them every day.
It’s been over four years (July 28, 2014) since I took the reins here at Clos Du Val. Having grown up here in the Napa Valley, I always saw Clos Du Val as one of the Valley’s great treasures. As a 14-year-old in 1976, I remember reading the story in the local newspaper about the Judgment of Paris and how Clos Du Val was one of the wineries selected for participation in this groundbreaking event. This family-owned winery is truly a part of the fabric of the Napa Valley and I am honored and humbled to be working with a team of incredibly dedicated colleagues to position it for the next 45 years.
One of the great challenges in stewarding a historic producer is finding ways to maintain relevance to the consumer and at the same time, preserve the authenticity which defines the legacy. There are over 10,000 wines and over 100,000 individual wines vying for your attention. Can you imagine 100,000 options of dishwashing liquid or toilet paper? The competitive ‘noise’ in the wine industry is deafening, which makes it difficult for small independent wineries to get noticed over the larger corporate brands with large marketing budgets. The next time you walk down the wine aisle in your favorite store, pay attention to the screams from the shelves and I think you’ll see my point.
At Clos Du Val, we’ve chosen a different path. History and heritage are impossible to create – you either have them or you don’t. We’re immersed in this every day, whether it be Javier, Enrique and Lucio (the core of our cellar crew with over 30 years of tenure each at Clos Du Val), Bernard Portet (our founding winemaker) popping by for a tasting, our extensive cellar of wines dating back into the 1970s, or our incredible vineyards that we developed in 1972 from pasture land, you ‘feel’ the history and heritage here. This is the ‘real’ Napa Valley and this is who and what Clos Du Val is.
So, while we’ve chosen to evolve around the Goelet family’s (our owners) original vision upon which they founded the winery some 46 years ago – the crafting of the world’s finest estate-based wines, we’ve expanded this idea to include providing the world’s finest experiences. Most recently, we’ve created a hospitality space (you NEED to visit our new ‘Hirondelle House at Clos Du Val’ once it's been opened next month) that’s informed and defined by our inherent authenticity. You’ll feel and taste our evolution in the warm, personal, gracious hospitality, delicious wines and the history that is Clos Du Val when you visit us. So whether you experience Clos Du Val at your favorite restaurant, at home with friends, or here at the winery, I hope that you’ll see why we’ve chosen the road less traveled and stayed true to who we are. Hope to see you at the winery soon!
Have you ever spent countless moments, insanely short days, and sleepless nights absolutely, positively obsessing over something you love doing? When conscience and subconscious blur their lines and you find yourself wondering if a particular train of thought was something you actually voiced or simply dreamed about?
Our guests and members of Clos Du Val are my total obsession.
I am incredibly lucky to play a part and actively contribute to a proudly owned family winery with a deeply rich history. It’s not only the realization of how many hands, hard work, sweat, tears, laughter, successes and failures have played in part in our story prior to me, but the genuine desire to include each and every one of you in it. To get to know you, to hear you, and to raise a glass with you. To ensure that Clos Du Val always feels a bit like home and makes your life better . . . if even in the smallest way.
So, after 46 years, for the first time we’re putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys!) and journaling so that you have the opportunity to be intimately involved with what we’re up to. . . A chance for you to meet the people behind the brand. After all, producing some of the world’s best Cabernet wouldn’t be any fun at all if at the end of day, we couldn’t share those wines with both old friends and new.
As a family owned business, the Clos Du Val team really considers each other as an extension of our very own families. And as with all families, you begin to learn little things about each other that others may not know. So, with that, I thought it would be fun to take an opportunity in this first journal entry to introduce you to the cast of characters that will regularly be contributing here, share a little bit about myself, as well some things that I’ve learned to absolutely adore about these people I not only call my colleagues but my friends.
My name: Shannon Muracchioli, Director of DTC & Marketing
First wine ever tasted: Paso Robles Zinfandel being made by a fellow viniculture student, tasted straight out of the bucket it was “aging” in!
Tid-bits: Growing up, both of my parents were in retail management and my dad was fantastic at opening up new stores. Because of that, we moved a LOT and everyone assumed I was a military kid. I went to five different elementary schools and became a master at winning new friends over quickly with a smile and a confident hand shake. Looking back, I think it was that experience that sparked my love in meeting new people and ultimately made hospitality a really nice fit as a career. A few other little tid-bits . . . I wear my husband’s old overalls at home like most would wear sweats, and when I find a white wine I just can’t get on board with, I’m quick to grab a bottle of Campari and a lemon twist to whip up a spritz!
Name: Steve Tamburelli, President & CEO
First wine ever tasted: A Carlo Rossi Red, nonvintage, consumed directly from the 4L bottle
Tid-bits about Steve: While I’ve always had an enormous admiration for Clos Du Val, it was meeting Steve and being inspired by him that ultimately led me to join this family. More than just an admired leader within the wine industry, Steve is incredibly thoughtful, creative, and cares deeply about this winery and its team. He’s a sucker for nearly every sports game, so it makes sense to me that he seems to looks at each challenge with optimism and a confidence that with enough hard work, we’ll hit the home runs necessary.
Name: Ted Henry, Winemaker
First wine ever tasted: Beringer White Zinfandel, straight from the bottle
Tid-bits about Ted: Outside of making stunning wines, Ted is hands down the most humble and fantastic winemaker I have ever had the pleasure working with. Ted goes above and beyond and will bend over backwards to help anyone that needs help and is incredibly passionate about his craft. Outside of a wine collection, you’ll find a collection of hot sauces, different espresso options and some tequila (Ted’s favorite spirit) lining some of office shelves.
Name: Jon-Mark Chappellet, Director of Operations
First wine ever tasted: Apparently the classier one of the group, Jon-Mark’s first wine was from his parent’s cellar . . . a huge benefit of being raised by the Chappellet family!
Tid-bits about Jon-Mark: There are few people that can carry huge responsibilities with - what appears to be - complete ease, but Jon-Mark (aka JM), is absolutely one of those people. It’s hard not to find a smile on his face and a lightness in his step. Speaking of his step . . . the guy typically doesn’t walk anywhere around the winery; he runs! We always know when Jon-Mark is about to join as meeting as you can hear him bolting up the stairs or down the hall. He’s also a total push-over when it comes to sweets. Regardless of how full he may be or what plan he has to lay-off sugar, if you tempt him with something delicious, his walls will come tumbling down and happiness earned by sinking his teeth into the forbidden.