Ted Henry

Winemaker, Clos Du Val

If Ted wasn’t a vintner he would want to test cars for Motor Trend magazine

When was your first Napa Valley harvest?


How did you get started in the wine business?

A harvest internship at Trinchero in St. Helena.

Which wine was your "a-ha!" wine – the one that made you love wine or inspired you to get into the industry?

1978 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, amazing freshness and youth for its age.

Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.

Tony Biagi, mostly for encouraging me to take risks in the name of making exceptional wines.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

The ability to taste a wide variety of fantastic wines.

What are the greatest challenges?

Dealing with whatever challenges Mother Nature throws at us at harvest time.

Our motto at the NVV is "cultivating excellence." What does this phrase mean to you and how do you cultivate excellence at your winery?

It means that the small details in the vineyard and winery really do make a difference even if no one notices them individually. In the end, they all add up and show themselves in the bottle.

What do you think makes Napa Valley unique compared to other wine regions?

Ideal growing conditions and strict protections of the land despite the proximity to urban areas.

What are you doing at your winery to help preserve and enhance Napa Valley for the future? (e.g., sustainable practices, family succession plan, community service, etc.)

Switching to organic farming and adding solar and water conservation methods.

How does your winery help tell the Napa Valley story?

Clos Du Val was a part of the Paris Tasting in 1976, so we share the history of that moment and how it changed the California wine industry. It is an important part of the Napa Valley story and its place in the world today.

If you weren't a Napa Valley vintner, what would you be doing?

I would want to be one of those people that test cars for Motor Trend magazine.

If you could open a bottle of your wine and share it with any three people (living or not), who would they be?

Thomas Jefferson, Robin Williams and André Tchelistcheff.

What advice would you offer someone trying to get into the Napa Valley wine industry?

Start with an internship at a winery.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m not a fan of bacon, and that seems to greatly upset people.