Giving Back (in style)

Au Bon Climat partners with other local vintners to benefit Direct Relief—plus, a special dinner in honor of jim clendenen

Frank Ostini and Jim Clendenen

Yes, you can have fun while helping others! The Santa Barbara Wine Auction happens every other year to benefit Direct Relief, with the most current held in November 2022. The event allows everyone to put on their best and raise funds for the international humanitarian aid organization that is based in Santa Barbara. An amazing selection of wines, winery experiences, and lifestyle packages go up for bid to raise funds. Our local vintners always rise to the occasion, and Au Bon Climat has long been a great supporter. 

For our donation, Au Bon Climat offered a double vertical of incredibly rare wines; our Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay, 1997 – 2020 and Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir 1997 – 2020, raising $30,000.  These wines were chosen as an homage to the history and impact both Jim Clendenen and Sanford and Benedict Vineyard have done to elevate the renown of Santa Barbara County wines.  

At that same event, Frank Ostini of The Hitching Post wanted to up the ante with a ‘go big, or go home’ donation that was a salute to his dear friend Jim. He took the reins and created a Jim Clendenen Memorial Dinner to be held at the Hitching Post Restaurant in Buellton this February with each seat costing $1000. Over 100 successful bidders will be attending meaning over $100,000 to this great cause. Most guests are close friends of Jim, traveling from as far as Tennessee, Hawaii, Georgia, and New Jersey for the tribute. Frank is coordinating a multi-course salute that includes guest chef Roy Yamaguchi from Roy’s Hawaii who is flying in to create a course, along with local chef Clark Staub from Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos.  The event features large format, library wines of Jim’s dating back to 1980s to match each course. ▲

DONATE NOW: If you would like to support Direct Relief, click below…

Direct Relief is a nonprofit that seeks to improve the health and lives of people, worldwide, affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. The overhead is minimal, so you know your donation is going to where it is needed most.

Au Bon Climat in Asia

FAMILIAR FACES WHILE ABROAD—look for au bon climat traveling through asia

Isabelle with new friends in Japan

The thrill of exploring and experiencing something for the first time can be the best part of traveling, however, sometimes seeing a reminder of home while traveling provides a bit of comfort in an otherwise exotic place.  Should your travels take you to Asia, you may be surprised to see Au Bon Climat on many wine lists.  This is a result of Jim Clendenen’s own wanderlust. Jim had a particular affinity for Japan and was viewed as a celebrity by the wine community. He established key relationships in Japan decades ago which remain today.  It is our second largest export market, just behind the UK.  In recent years we have seen tremendous growth in other parts of Asia, specifically South Korea and China.

Asia is very familiar territory for the second generation Clendenens. At the end of February both Knox (who just finished college in Tokyo) and Isabelle (Japan minor in college) will be leading tastings in Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul.  After many visits to Japan with their father and then on their own, Knox and Isabelle are becoming the new face of Au Bon Climat in Asia. ▲

Happy 70th Birthday, Jim!

Celebrating Jim clendenen all month LONG…

In honor of Jim’s birthday month, we’re offering 15% off Clendenen Family Vineyards wines, Jim’s passion project label, through entire month of January!

Jim Clendenen through the years

“Life is a Banquet, and Most Poor Suckers Are Starving to Death.” – Auntie Mame

Jim Clendenen enjoyed a good party. If he wasn’t going to one, he would create it. It was hard to tell the difference between work and play since it was one in the same to him.  In essence, his life was a party! Being a good businessman and living every moment to the fullest is a balance hard to manage. Jim traveled continuously but every year in December he traveled to another continent (or two) for a 3-4 week luxury vacation enjoying whatever location he landed in to the hilt – with a little work thrown in. Ideally his kids Isabelle and Knox would join him. There were trips to from Antarctica, the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, to Japan, always frequenting the best restaurants, no matter how obscure or costly. Each trip culminated in celebrating his birthday on Jan. 11th in style, before returning. It’s that joie de vivre we are trying capture. This would have been Jim’s 70th birthday and we decided to celebrate it for him – Jim Clendenen style. Join us in the celebration!

January 2023 CFV WIne Special

Start the year off right—join the Au Bon Climat Wine Club ! Members enjoy exclusive releases, discounts on special tastings & events, and Au Bon Climat wines delivered right to your doorstop at 15-25% off!

Plus, for the month of January, combine your wine club discount with our Clendenen Family Vineyards 15% off promotion to enjoy maximum savings!▲

Join us January 14th & 15th

JIM’S 70TH BIRTHDAY PARTY

Join us in celebrating the big man’s Birthday—Jim style. Wild, colorful tees or loud Hawaiian shirts are encouraged! Shirt participants eligible for prizes! Share your Jim stories with other devotees while enjoying the wide range of Clendenen Family wines at the Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Tasting Room.

$25 Per PERSON | COMPLIMENTARY FOR WINE CLUB

A Wild Ride for 2022 Harvest

Recap: Harvest 2022

The 2022 harvest was challenging with its ill-timed rains and heat spikes, but our winery team is good at navigating around potential threats like these. You might say we are at our best when we get out of our comfort zone and guide the grapes to the best possible solution. Experience counts and we have been doing it for decades – with the same team! The high level of quality we deliver year after year in every wine speaks volumes. Our library wines attest to that. ▲

Knox’s Harvest Experience

A firsthand account of Knox Clendenen’s inaugural harvest with au bon climat

Knox Alexander Clendenen from Au Bon Climat Winery in Santa Barbara County

This has been my first harvest at ABC, and to say the least it has been an amalgamation of chaos and education. Since I started fresh out of college (graduated in August), I was not in the best of shape. After foot stomping grapes, doing punch-downs, moving bins, climbing barrels and everything in between, harvest has chipped away at my sloppy physique. I have learned a great deal in a very short amount of time, especially the qualities and philosophies that make Au Bon Climat unique. 

A normal day for me was starting the morning with punch-downs, then processing any reds that came in, cleaning the equipment afterwards, doing a second round of punch downs, and cleaning out fermenters that were being pressed. Harvest is not about doing a single job continuously; instead, it is about adapting and moving from one objective to another. Constantly changing the task made harvest seem a lot less repetitive than I had anticipated. 

The worst part about harvest is the state of my hands and fingernails. No matter how hard you scrub and clean you cannot remove the grime underneath your nails. Anytime I go to a store and people see my hands they think I am a troglodyte that knows not of the modern standards of cleanliness. Other than that, I have no real complaints, harvest is harvest, it’s never easy and that is to be expected. The real beauty of harvest is the people you bond with through the grueling labor. People who share the same passion and curiosity in winemaking. To be able to create something so elegant through what could be seen as a very crude process is what truly inspires and encourages me to work, and more importantly, learn. ▲

– Knox Alexander Clendenen

Harvest 2022

It’s a Family Affair!

It’s on! The air is electric with anticipation and our usual first grapes, Pinot Gris, arrived “on time.” Steady as she goes right now but weather reports are saying things will be heating up, with weeks of Indian Summer ahead. Jim Adelman, who has been head winemaker for over 30 years is at the helm so no worries.

Isabelle and Knox Clendenen standing next to grape harvest bins at Au Bon Climat winery

New to the wine team is Knox Clendenen who just graduated from his university studies in Tokyo and returned August 26 immediately delving into harvest here. Alongside is his sister Isabelle, who is also involved with sales and marketing. Au Bon Climat remains a family, hands-on business!

We invite you to enjoy the photos below from harvest this year.

Happy 40th to Us!

Celebrating 40 Years
Isabelle Clendenen standing next to a cardboard cut-out of Jim Clendenen at a 40th Anniversary celebration, Happy 40th Birthday cakes are on the table in front of Isabelle

Our 40th Anniversary Pig Roast at the Winery on July 30th was a true celebration.

Magnums of library wines flowed, great food, perfect weather, wonderful crowd, and the most amazing birthday cakes created by the local Bodega Bake Shop — thanks to Isabelle Clendenen’s cake sleuthing skills.

When Jim Clendenen began Au Bon Climat 40 years ago, one would doubt he could have envisioned the evolution of Au Bon Climat or the impact Jim himself would have on the world of wine. Au Bon Climat is held in high esteem throughout the wine industry and the wines are sold and enjoyed around the world. While sadly, Jim was not with us to celebrate, he was with us in spirit, and his passion and his Joie de Vivre comes through in his wines.

ABC is in the “Top 100 Wineries of the World”

Au Bon Climat is one of Wine & Sprits Magazine's Top 100 Wineries of the Year for the 3rd year in a row

Wine & Spirits Magazine just named Au Bon Climat one of the “TOP 100 Wineries in the World” for 2022 – that’s the third year in a row for us!

In addition, the last few weeks we have been raking in the big scores (90-95) from Antonio Galloni’s Vinous, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits Magazine. and Jeb Dunnuck. Some of the publications have just been released now and others are coming in the near future.

40th Anniversary Winery Open House

Sunday, July 31 ~ 12-3 pm

Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist holding glasses of red wine standing in front of wine barrels

Jim Clendenen started Au Bon Climat the same year Bob Lindquist (formerly of Qupe, now Lindquist Family) established his first winery in 1982. They have been making wine together ever since under the same roof. It’s been almost five years since our last open house, and we thought this was a good time for another party. Come celebrate! As we have in the past, we have asked the other wineries we work with to participate.

There will be an ocean of wine – special library wines. big bottles, current releases, and bargain wines for sampling and buying – not just from ABC but from the other wineries and brands including Lindquist Family, Verdad, Hitching Post, Clendenen Family, Vigneron, Bevela, Barham Mendesohn, and more. The event includes a Santa Maria Style BBQ created by our talented Cellar Master Enrique Rodriguez.

  • Meet the Winemakers
  • Over 60 wines
  • Library Wines & Big Bottles
  • Santa Maria Style BBQ
  • Vineyard Setting
  • Early Entrance for Wine Club Members

he event is from 12-3 pm, however, wine club members get an early entrance of 11 am. Club Members may purchase up to 4 tickets at the member price of $25 each. All other tickets and General Admission are $50 each. Tickets must be purchased in advance by July 25th through Tock. No refunds after July 18th. For General Admission tickets, purchase below. Wine Club Members, please email the tasting room for your special link. For questions, contact the tasting room at 805-963-7999 or email info@aubonclimat.com.