Bo Barret / Chateau Montelena
Although the combination of perfect soils and climate are indispensable, it takes the hand of man to realize a vineyard’s full potential to produce a world-class wine. Chateau Montelena
possesses a dedicated team of individuals with decades of experience working their vineyards and handcrafting their wines, all lead by the winery’s Master Winemaker, Bo Barrett.
Bo’s career in the wine industry began in the summer of 1972, right after he graduated from high school, when his family purchased Chateau Montelena. He spent the first summer pulling star thistle in the old vineyard and picking up rocks in preparation for replanting.
In 1976 Bo transferred to Fresno State University, where he was an honors student in Viticulture and Enology. As 1981 drew to a close, Chateau Montelena’s Winemaker Mike Grgich left to pursue other opportunities and Bo was offered the job by his father, James L. Barrett, the winery’s Managing General Partner. "When I told my dad I would think about it, I was concerned about what it would do to our relationship. I thought about it for two days and finally told him that I would need to have the freedom and professional respect he had shown the previous winemakers. He agreed, and that’s the way it’s been ever since."
Since 1972, Bo has been involved in every vintage at Chateau Montelena. His intimate knowledge of the Estate vineyard, gained over more than 30 years, provides him with a wealth of experience that allows him, year after year, to "bring the vintage and the vineyard to your table in a wine that is elegant, balanced and enjoyable."
Bo feels that the most important part to winemaking is “balance; from the technical aspect it is the strength of the triangle: balance of art, farming and science to make consistently great wines."
Those who meet him often describe Bo as smart, passionate and fascinating. More so now than ever due to the 2008 release of “Bottle Shock”, a film based on the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” blind tasting where the Chateau Montelena Alexander Valley Chardonnay
beat out other Californian Chardonnays
and French Burgundies
. The winning 1973 vintage was the winery’s second release in which Bo was the assistant winemaker. The Judgement of Paris helped skyrocket Chateau Montelena’s fame and helped bring global recognition to the winery, especially the Chardonnay.