Jim Clendenen will be honored on Friday, July 19, as part of the annual Chardonnay Symposium, the only event in the U.S. focused solely on that golden grape.

Clendenen, whose Au Bon Climat is acclaimed for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, will be lauded for his contributions to winemaking on the Central Coast and regaled — roasted might be the more appropriate term — by his friends and colleagues who will gather in the Santa Maria Valley at Bien Nacido Vineyard’s historic Bien Nacido Adobe.

 Hitching Post II chef/owner Frank Ostini, Qupé winemaker/owner Bob Lindquist, sommelier and Sandhi winery co-owner Rajat Parr, and Gavin Chanin, winemaker/owner of Chanin Wine (and a former Clendenen intern) will all take to the podium with tales, both serious and amusing, of how Clendenen has influenced the world of winemaking and his tireless efforts to bring recognition to our local wines around the world.

 The Chardonnay Symposium continues July 20 with 50 Chardonnay producers from around the world pouring their wines at a Grand Tasting. There will also be an educational panel session, demonstrations and events at participating Santa Maria Valley wineries throughout the weekend.

“The response from both winemakers and consumers has been very exciting,” said Chris Slaughter, executive director of the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association. “Consumers want to know more about their favorite wine, and winemakers are thrilled to tell their story. And, as the third established AVA in the country, we love the opportunity to share our historic Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay along with wines from a broad spectrum of regions.”

 To learn more about the Chardonnay Symposium, including the Clendenen Tribute, and to purchase tickets, visit www.thechardonnaysymposium.com.

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