Did you know the same people who make Clif bars also make wine?? I had no idea, and when someone told me about it, I was immediately intrigued — especially as a longtime energy bar eater.
Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, who own Clif Bar & Company, opened a tasting room at Clif Family Winery back in 2011. The St. Helena tasting room, dubbed Velo Vino, perfectly captures the brand’s passion for wine, cycling, and the outdoors.
Gary told Business Wire that “Velo Vino is a place for slowing down and spending time with family and friends over a great bottle of wine. With so many cyclists riding through Napa Valley, we also recognize that cycling and wine are a natural fit.” Umm, yeah… and WAY safer than drinking and driving.
Kit chimed in with her vision for the Clif winery. “Imagine starting your day at Velo Vino with a shot of espresso as you map out your bike ride and grab a few CLIF bars. Then, finish your ride…and relax with a glass of wine.” You can also enjoy snacks, like Italian-inspired salads and seasonal sides, from the Clif Family Bruschetteria Food Truck.
The tasting room, just off Highway 20, offers samples of the Clif Family organic wines, along with sauces, jams, jellies, and olive oils made with locally sourced ingredients. Their newest wine offerings are two Cabernet Sauvignons, made with grapes from vineyards on different sides of Howell Mountain. Though just four miles apart, each vineyard has a unique climate and soil type, so the wines are very different.
Though Gary and Kit may not have been wine experts when they started this project, they definitely have a consumer in mind. Several years ago, they packaged their wine in special “backpack-friendly” pouches, complete with a hole on top to clip with a carabiner. I don’t know about you, but every hiking trip I’ve ever been on would have been a lot more enjoyable with a few of these pouches.
Both the winery and the bar company are named for Gary’s father, Clifford, who was quite the Californian outdoorsman. His son grew to love food and wine after venturing on cycling trips throughout Europe and was inspired to combine these interests. “I’d say that Velo Vino was built to fuel the adventurer’s soul.”
I’m into this whole thing, but I can’t help but wonder when will they start offering a pairing menu featuring Clif bars?