Last month I published a rumor that Au Bon Climat will be opening soon in El Paseo. It appears the rumor was true. I usually don’t publish news related to wine (which is why people don’t call me The Wine Guy) but I threw this in to mix things up a bit. Here is a press-release I just received about it:

SANTA BARBARA, CA–After nearly thirty years of making wine, Jim Clendenen, one of the Central Coast’s most respected and dynamic winemakers, announces that he will open his first ever retail space and tasting room in Santa Barbara.  The Au Bon Climat Tasting Room and Jim Clendenen Wine Library will open its doors May 16th in a downtown space adjacent to the Wine Cask Restaurant and Margerum Wine Co. Tasting Room.

Since 1982 Clendenen has produced wines under four distinct labels—Au Bon Climat, Ici/la Bas, Vita Nova, and Clendenen Family Vineyards. His interest in unusual varietals and age-worthy wines has inspired him to craft a diverse array of wines, from classic Burgundian-style wines to estate-grown Nebbiolo, Terroldego, and Petit Verdot. “Most people aren’t aware of the large number of wines, labels, and projects that I’m involved in,” Clendenen explains. “They will all be on display at the new tasting room and wine library.” He also plans to offer vertical tastings of library wines as well as four-vintage collections for purchase.

The Au Bon Climat tasting room is both elegant and comfortable, featuring a tasting bar, fireplace area, and relaxed seating amid El Paseo’s old-world ambiance. It will share staff and a point of sale system with the Margerum Wine Co. so that visitors may purchase items at both locations under the same account or order food from the Wine Cask to accompany their wine selections. Standard tastings will cost $10. For $15 guests can experience dual tasting of both Au Bon Climat and Margerum Wine Co. wines. The stylish space will also be available for events and private parties.

In honor of the grand opening, Au Bon Climat will host a Memorial Day Weekend Sale Saturday, May 28th through Sunday, May 29th from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. For $25 guests can sample both Au Bon Climat and Margerum Wine Co. current releases and library wines with foods provided by the Wine Cask.

The new tasting room is representative of the continued partnership between two longtime friends and industry pioneers. Clendenen and Wine Cask co-owner Doug Margerum first began working together in the 1980’s. “For many years the Wine Cask was the only place consumers could purchase Au Bon Climat wines in our area,” Clendenen says. “So it’s really meaningful to have our first tasting room located near good friends.”

The Au Bon Climat Tasting Room and Jim Clendenen Wine Library is located at 813 Anacapa St., Suite 5, Santa Barbara. For more information call 805.895.4084 or email

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  1. SL says:

    What a welcomed addition to SB. Jim not only makes great wines, but is also a very nice and friendly guy.