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The Business of Blending

Blending is a quintessential part of Clos du Val’s signature winemaking style, but the mechanics of blending upwards of 1000 barrels at a time is not as simple it may sound.  

A few weeks ago, we talked to Carmel and Audrey, our lab technician, about blend trials and tasting for our 2021 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. A base blend was chosen that week, but now the cellar team is working to actually blend that blend.  

It’s a lot more complex than it might seem – with this volume of wine, we don’t have one single tank that can hold the entire vintage, so we can’t simply mix all the selected barrels together at once. The team works around this by racking the barrels into a few different tanks, using a matrices to then blend those tanks together by exchanging wine between them until a homogenous blend is achieved. This part of the winemaking process takes about 3-4 weeks, since each barrel must be racked and carefully cleaned.  

The blended wine will then be put back into barrels for another 4-6 month rest, after which Carmel will taste and make any adjustments (adding additional lots of wine) just before bottling.  

We’re always excited to show you what goes into a bottle of Clos du Val, and can’t wait to share the 2021 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – our 50th vintage of this very wine – with you all.

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