Earlier this week, the news that Au Bon Climat Winemaker Jim Clendenen had passed away sent shockwaves throughout the wine industry. His name is synonymous with wine from Santa Barbara county, but his legacy reaches well beyond the state of California. We had the good fortune of meeting him in late February of 2020—our last AdVINEture outside of Canada before COVID-19 closed the Canada/USA border. We had made several trips to Santa Barbara wine country prior to then but due to his extensive travel overseas, our schedules never managed to sync. Just over a year ago the stars aligned, and our patience was rewarded with a most memorable afternoon as guests of one of his infamous long table lunches. A lunch that happens daily at the winery for staff, with Jim at the kitchen helm when he was in town. We described him at the time as “Plain-speaking, intelligent, witty, iconoclastic and maybe a bit irreverent too, but unmistakably charming.” We hope you’ll enjoy revisiting our time with him this week as we honour a true pioneer: https://advinetures.ca/blog/au-bon-climat-lunch-legends/
As the tributes pour in from around the world, the stories of his generosity, humour, mentorship and talent, remind us that we got to see firsthand what an unpretentious legend really looks like.