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.
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.
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.
The Somm III crew and friends celebrating the priemere of the film at Clos Du Val.
A big congrats to Jason Wise - another wonderful Somm film in the books!
Our Clos Du Val CEO, Steve Tamburelli, enjoying our new Hirondelle House during the event.
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.
We’re so close to finalizing all of the tiny details of our (already) beloved Hirondelle House and it’s even better than I think any of us could have ever imagined. After many hours. . . days. . . months. . . YEARS of planning, I think we’ve ended up with a place that not only seems perfect for Clos Du Val, but also feels like home. As I walk through the space, I see a place where many friends will be met, stories shared, and bottles wrapped up to make their way into our guests’ homes to mark their own special celebrations, whether making it through a tough weekday or toasting a momentous occasion.
Just two weeks ago, if you were able to peek into the space, you’d never believe what it looks like today. There were ladders up, tools scattered, fixtures missing and regular, necessary meetings to ensure everything kept pace (a couple of make-shift beverage carts at the end of shifts also didn’t hurt!).
The past few days, it’s been all hands-on-deck to help our amazing interior design teams put everything in place and looking its best. I snapped a few photos at the end of the day yesterday and found that I couldn’t even begin to find a “favorite” spot in the building, as every spot is stunning.
So, while it’ll still be a couple of weeks until we’re able to open our new doors to our guests, the finish line is now very visible, and we could not be more excited to share it with you.
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.