Laura Barrett had a vision of herself stuck in a window-less basement laboratory for many years to come when she was studying chemistry in college. That unappealing forecast drove her to seek out other alternatives to a life in science, in a basement. When someone mentioned enology, she dove into research and was delighted to find the science of fermentation, coupled with spending time outdoors in the vineyard, made for a perfect combination. Her new career path would ensure she wouldn’t be stuck in any windowless labs!

Laura Barrett brings her passion for wine, a life-long love of science and attention to detail to winemaking at Clif Family. Inspired by her first harvest in New Zealand, Laura received a Master’s Degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California, Davis and trained under some of Napa Valley’s most celebrated winemakers. With a vineyard-driven approach and a focus on organic farming, Laura is enthusiastic about working to create balanced and elegant wines.

Clif Family has 10 acres of certified organic Estate Vineyards on Howell Mountain, Napa Valley’s famed Cabernet Sauvignon growing region. In 2019, they planted a 40-acre organic vineyard with 8 varietals in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, just north of the town of Napa on Highway 29. Their estate vineyards are farmed by Erik Dodd of Wight Vineyard Management. Clif Family also works with grower partners in the Napa Valley and Mendocino County to complete their wine portfolio.

In fact, we got to taste through wines from multiple vineyards and counties from Laura’s Clif Family Winery portfolio, starting with the refreshing 2019 Rose of Grenache, Mendocino, a direct press wine, farmed specifically to make Rose. Next, we sampled the 2017 Grenache, North Coast from Sonoma County that was bursting with red fruit aromas and flavors from dark cherry to plum and raspberry – a perfect summer red, for its refreshing but rich red fruit profit. Last up was 2017 Kit’s Killer Cab from their Howell Mountain estate vineyard.

The Clif Family Winery story began on a bike, where long days of cycling adventures would lead to leisurely evenings of good wine, food and hospitality. When Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford first started Clif Bar & Company, the focus was on making great tasting energy bars for any adventure. Clif Family was built on that same passion for creating delicious, small batch foods while caring for people, planet and communities.

It was exciting to hear the evolution of the winery, particularly the acquisition and planting of their own organic vineyards this past year. Adding to their estate vineyard production will provide yet more choices for Laura in her winemaking while building a legacy for the estate.

Visit their Napa Valley Tasting Room, enjoy lunch from their Bruschetteria Food Truck, join them on a cycling adventure or enjoy their wine and artisan food products from afar.

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