Clif Notes

Velo Vino Napa Valley

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Thursday, February 17, 2011

We continue to spinsip…and savor our way to the grand opening of Velo Vino of which we project a soft opening in mid March followed by a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration in late April (dates to be announced). The incredible run of Spring weather allowed us to get a number of critical elements completed on the project, notably the exterior painting of the building which is a bright and resounding yellow affectionately referred to as “Pumpkin Spice.” The reclaimed oak flooring from an eco friendly company called Terra Mai was installed last week and the results are stunning as we applied a light sealer which showcases the rustic and unique grain patterns in the wood. We will be accenting the flooring with a rustic reclaimed redwood wainscoting which is scheduled to be installed soon along with our copper top tasting bar which is also constructed of recycled woods.

Home of Velo Vino Napa Valley

Other Notable Updates:

To add a European accent to our wine and bicycling experience, we will be serving vintage espressos which will be the perfect pre-lude to an epic Napa Valley ride. Our wines (although astounding wonderful in their own right) will be accentuated with food pairings featuring our Gary & Kits Gourmet Mountain Mixes comprised of nuts, dried fruits, seeds and other organic ingredients which will bring together in harmony the attributes of our wines. We are also preparing for the electric car revolution and will be installing an electric car charging station which will be compatible with the Nissan and Chevy electric cars (many of which are coming out this year). Enjoy a wonderful glass or bottle of wine on our sensory garden patio while you electrically charge your transportation Velo Vino style.

Stay tuned for future updates as our project progresses. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and FourSquare.


Velo Vino Wine Domestiques

It’s official…the release of our 2010 Napa Valley

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Thursday, February 10, 2011

2010 Clif Family Farm Napa Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The olives were picked and pressed, the oil is now blended and bottled, and we are thrilled with the results of our 2010 Extra Virgin Napa Valley Olive Oil! To top it off we just received certification from the California Olive Oil Council following a tasting this past Thursday!
This balanced, organically farmed olive oil has a distinctive style and character. A blend of Frantoio, Leccino, Maurino, Pendolino, Manzanilla and Mission olives, the oil has grassy aromas with a touch of green banana culminating in the perfect harmony of fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. The pungency leads to a little kick in the back of your throat, a sign of a superb olive oil. This bitterness and pungency are caused by the health giving, naturally occurring, substances, called polyphenols. So drink up, that olive oil is a great addition to a healthy diet! Our extra virgin oil is perfect to top off a salad or a spicy pasta dish, or to drizzle on a piece of baguette with a pinch of fleur de sel. If you prefer to do a little winter baking, give the following recipe a try. This superb oil is available at our tasting room or online at, $25 per 500ML bottle.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake (Gourmet Magazine/April 2006)

• 3/4 cup Clif Family Winery Olive Oil (plus additional for greasing pan)
• 1 large lemon
• 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
• 5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
• 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
• Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan; parchment paper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.

San Francisco Fancy Food Show 2011 Recap

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Friday, February 4, 2011

Kit's Gourmet Mountain Clusters and Mountain Mix Display

What a great start to a new year! From January 16th to the 18th we officially launched Gary & Kit’s Gourmet Mountain Clusters at this year’s NASFT Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Attendees and exhibitors alike got to taste Gary & Kit’s Gourmet Mountain Clusters, Mountain Mix, and The Climber Wines. All were well received and many were excited about the connection of Gary & Kit’s Gourmet to Clif Bar. Plans are already in the works for Fancy Food Show 2012. Who knows maybe another tasty treat will make its way from Gary & Kit’s Gourmet? The only way to find out is to attend. Will we be seeing you next year at the show?

Going Nuts…Literally

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We are going a little nuts around here…literally!

Gary and Kit’s Gourmet Mountain Clusters are making their debut in the Clif Family Winery Tasting Room. This is the newest release in the Gary and Kit’s Gourmet line. Unique, high quality, gourmet ingredients are expertly blended, culminating in four delectable flavors: Tamari Almond with pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, Ginger Macadamia with tangy lemon, Maple Walnut with sea salt, and Sour Cherry Pistachio with blanched almonds. High impact nutrition full of goodness. A fabulous substitute for those sugary snacks we all crave as the holidays approach. These indulgent treats will be the highlight of your holiday!

The original product in Gary and Kit’s Gourmet line, Mountain Mix, is getting a lot of attention these days. Check out Ski Magazine, Fall 2010 Edition, Real Simple, December issue, and Food and Wine Magazine, December issue! Originally developed to pair with specific wine varietals, they are equally delicious on their own. In three unique flavors, Roasted Pistachio and Almond with herbs and sea salt, Smoked Paprika Almonds with a touch of sea salt, and Sundried Berry and Cherries with perfectly blanched almonds, Gary & Kit’s Gourmet Mountain Mix deserves a special place on your holiday table. They pair expertly with your Thanksgiving feast and can even be used to create your gourmet meal.

Give this one a try! Adapted from Bon Appétit, November 2006.

Country Bread Stuffing with Smoked Ham, Goat Cheese and G&K Gourmet Sundried Berry and Cherries with Blanched Almonds (vegetarians can omit the smoked ham and sub in vegetable stock for chicken stock)

1 (1-pound) loaf crusty country-style bread

1/4 cup olive oil

4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 large garlic clove, minced

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery

1 1/4 cups chopped smoked ham (preferably from 2 meaty ham hocks)

1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

2- 5oz packages Gary & Kit’s Gourmet Sundried Berry and Cherries- Coarsely chopped

1 3/4 cups low-salt chicken broth or turkey stock, heated

4 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, crumbled into 1/2-inch pieces


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut bottom crust and short ends off bread; discard. Cut remaining bread with crust into 1-inch cubes (10 cups loosely packed). Place in large bowl. Add oil, thyme, and garlic; toss. Spread out on large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and slightly crunchy, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Return to same large bowl.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add next 4 ingredients. Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Mix in parsley. . DO AHEAD Bread cubes and vegetable mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately. Store bread at room temperature. Chill vegetables.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 11×7x2-inch glass baking dish. Stir vegetables and G&K Gourmet Sundried Berry and Cherries with blanched almonds into bread cubes. Add hot broth, tossing to coat. Mix in cheese. Transfer to dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down. Bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is brown, about 25 minutes longer, and serve.

ENJOY with a nice bottle of Clif Family Winery 2009 Rte. Blanc Sauvignon Blanc!

*** Roasted Pistachio and Almonds would be a great addition to an herby stuffing or vegetables!

Left My Heart in San Francisco

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Monday, November 8, 2010

Last Wednesday, I was at North Beach Restaurant where I parked cars on and off from 1976-1983. My buddies and I were there after a long day celebrating the Giant’s World Series win, attending the parade and just enjoying the vibe of the city, like I have never experienced before. Everyone was so cool and so happy. After another spectacular dinner at North Beach Restaurant, Mayor Gavin Newsom showed up. I’ve seen him there numerous times and told my friend Drake that he was going to show up....and he did. Earlier that night I played “I left my Heart in San Francisco” for the patrons while they dinned, on my trumpet. As I went to shake Mayor Newsom’s hand and congratulate him for the big win, Lorenzo, the owner of the restaurant says in his thick accent, “Gaaary, you must play San Francisco for him.” What choice did I have? He of course was a good sport and smiled for the photo. Next time he’ll probably go the other way when he sees me...


The Art of Climbing...and Winemaking

Originally Posted by Candice Crawford on Sunday, November 7, 2010

This past week we released our first vintage of our Climber Limited Release Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend. This is a very special wine that we only produced about 100 cases of and that will be available to our wine club members and in our St. Helena tasting room.

The label is inspired by Gary's days of climbing in the Yosemite Valley. The strong, long-haired guy climbing that little mountain (okay, it's a pretty big mountain) is Ron Kauk. Ron is a climbing legend and a dear friend of Gary's. When Gary started climbing in 1976, he spent a lot of time in Yosemite teaching himself and hanging out with a group of climbers. Ron Kauk also spent a lot of time in Yosemite around that same time and had already become well-known for his climbing abilities. However, it wasn't until the 1990's that Gary and Ron became friends and started doing some climbs together.

Gary has always respected Ron not only as a climber but as someone who has a deep respect for nature and climbs as part of his regard for the natural world around him. He has become one of the most renowned climbers in the world and is a pioneer of high level free climbing in the Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows.

The Climber Limited Release shows Ron on the Heaven climb in Yosemite Valley. We love this photo because it shows an amazing sense of balance and focus. Both of which are also required in winemaking (although the stakes are not near as high!). As Gary says, "the elements of climbing are not that different than those of a good climb - balance, focus and a connecting of the senses."

You'll find all three in this special 2008 bordeaux blend sourced from Napa Valley Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Malbec. The wine possesses amazing dark fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of earthiness on the nose. This wine will age well for the next six years but is also ready to drink right now.

It's the perfect wine for any holiday meal - the label sparks conversation while the wine pairs well with almost any holiday dish.

Purchase the first vintage of our Climber Limited Release online or in our tasting room.

Archive Posts

Favorite Sites

Follow Us on Twitter