The niece of renowned Au Bon Climat winemaker Jim Clendenen, Beverly was born into wine. “When I was a child, his wine was brought out on special occasions — my parents didn’t drink alcohol otherwise — so I associated wine with something special and rare,” explained Beverly, who visited Clendenen at least twice a year and decided at age 15 to be a winemaker. She’s been working under his wing since 2008 and started Bevela with her husband, Kris, during the 2010 vintage.
How’d you get into making teroldego? Teroldego is a variety that just gets my heart pumping. The size of the clusters, the color of the wine, and the natural acidity — it’s just a stunning, rare Italian variety. It is a wine that opens beautifully over time in the glass and can be paired with a variety of foods.
This is a passion project of mine, and I started making teroldego in 2010 from the only vines planted in Santa Barbara County. These vines are grown at Jim’s estate vineyard, Le Bon Climat, and there is a little more than half an acre planted.
How’d you get to work with the vines? I have an amazing uncle that was willing to take a chance on his niece and her dreams of becoming a winemaker. There is also a deep love for Italy in my blood, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Another special aspect of my teroldego is that I started aging it in barrel for five years before bottling. A lot of new winemakers cannot do this, simply because it is not cost-effective for them. I was able to let my wine soften and become more elegant in barrel.
Where do you fit in the Central Coast landscape? Some of the best things about the Central Coast are the varietals that excel here and the ability of the winemaker to express their style. I am fortunate to be part of the “next generation” of young winemakers in Santa Barbara County, a group that continues to gather to taste and discuss our work. Kris and I are excited to have Bevela wines expand by producing chardonnay and pinot noir in the future. Our familiarity with the production of these varietals, as well as the consumers’ familiarity with the wines themselves, should enable our boutique production to reach a wider audience.
And you just had a baby? As my uncle provided for me, I hope to inspire my son, Lucius, to continue our family tradition of winemaking.