Meet The Winemakers

Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat (which means "a well-exposed vineyard") produces internationally-recognised Pinot Noir & Chardonnay from grapes grown in California's Santa Barbara County. Located at the foot of one of California's most-rated vineyards, Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley, one of the finest sites in California, ideal for the production of the refined, Burgundian style of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

ABC, as it is more commonly referred to, has won universal acclaim for its wines thanks to the late Jim 'Wild Boy' Clendenen, its winemaker & owner. Jim regarded Burgundy as the benchmark to which he should aspire and bought clones of Pinot Noir from Burgundy in a bid to replicate as closely as possible the restraint and finesse of the wines from that region. Jim eschewed a career in law for the lure of the vine following a month's stay in Burgundy & Champagne when he was 21. He never looked back, although he was frequently to be found darkening the doors along the stretch of the Cote d'Or. Unsurprisingly his wines combine the minerally precision & grace of Burgundy with the flair of the West Coast.

From the beginning in 1982, Au Bon Climat winery was totally devoted to making classic, Burgundian-styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County. The convergence of cool, brisk Pacific air, marine-based soils, and east-west running valleys of the area provided an ideal place for growing exceptional grapes. Hence the name “Au Bon Climat,” the French idiom for “good place”.

Forty years later, the wines have earned a world-class reputation internationally. Jim Clendenen, “The Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, set the objective and stayed true to its course. As the fads in California winemaking have come and gone, Au Bon Climat has maintained a laser focus in producing traditional, site-specific, nuanced, iconic wines.

Jim Clendenen assembled a dedicated winery team that understood and shared his manifesto early on. This committed crew became the Au Bon Climat wine family. The symmetry between creating masterful wines, a gratifying/mentoring work environment, and a strong, like-minded community, has brought loyalty and a shared sense of vision to the winemaking style that remains to this day.

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