Welcome to the Bella blog, The Juice. Take a peek at our posts below and please leave comments or questions. We respond quickly and always love to hear from you!
Though I was born and raised in Marin County, over the past decade, I’ve moved ever-farther northward with my husband, and we currently live in Bennett Valley. As will happen when you live in wine country, I caught the wine bug several years back. I think what I find the most fascinating about wine are the stories; the tales of historic old vineyards, the histories of the families who farm them (sometimes for generations), and stories about winemakers and what inspires them in their craft. As Bella’s wine club coordinator, these are the stories I like to share with our members.
We understand that people who seek out and discover smaller family-run wineries like Bella are searching for a deeper connection with the wines they drink. They love to explore and experience new wines in a way that is joyful and fun—not pretentious and pushy. Here at Bella, I am often the first point of contact for our members, that voice on the other end of the phone, or the person responding to your email. I came to the wine industry with a background in social services. And while working with at-risk youth might not seem like a natural foundation for being a wine club coordinator, I think there are parallels. I like to help and take care of people. I also understand that this often begins by listening, and asking good questions. I also try to remember my own experiences falling under wine’s spell, and how they ultimately led to a deeper appreciation of Lily Hill, and Dry Creek Valley.
In a way, my approach is quite old fashioned. I’m here to make you feel comfortable, and appreciated, and to make sure that your experience is one that you’ll remember fondly. Do you want to learn about and taste certain older vintages? I can make that happen. Would you like to plan a tour that’s personalized to your tastes, or the mood you’re trying to set for your guests? Not a problem. Did something come up and you need to reschedule your club shipment? Consider it done. Looking for a good nearby hiking spot? Let’s talk.
Whether you’re coming to wine country, or we’re shipping a taste of wine country to your home, it should put a smile on your face. So, whatever you need, let me know. The Bella experience is more than what’s in the bottle.
My name is Nicolas Cornejo, and I am the owner of Clendenen Vineyard Management, where I work alongside my son, Sirilo, and our great team of employees. For many years, we have been farming Bella’s vineyards, including Lily Hill and Big River Ranch—two special, old-vine vineyards that I love very much. I have been growing grapes for 33 years, and was the very first employee at Clendenen Vineyard Management when it was founded in 1992. I worked side by side with John Clendenen for over 20 years and when he retired in 2016, he sold me the company, and I have been proud to continue his work ever since
Guiding the farming at Bella is something that makes me very happy. I have known Scott and Lynn, and winemaker Joe Healy, for a long time. They are good people, who care deeply about the land, and the wines they make. We work well together, talking everything through, until we are all on the same page about how to grow the best possible grapes. Old vines need more love and attention than most. When vines have been alive for over 100 years, they don’t hang very much fruit, but the grapes they do produce are special. As a vineyard manager, and as a father, I know these vines will still be healthy and strong when Sirilo takes over for me years from now.
— NICOLAS CORNEJO, OWNER - CLENDENON VINEYARD MANAGEMENT