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Rock star


  1. a rock ‘n’ roll star or celebrity.
  2. a star or celebrity in any field or profession, or anything highly admired: TV chefs are the new rock stars.

There is something that occurs when winemaker Anthony Bell visits our state. There’s no other way to explain it other than there’s an excitement in the air.

Some are eager to hear of his Napa Valley adventures, and for others, like me, it’s the chance to see a longtime friend.

At a tasting event with Bell recently, I watched him visit with guests in his humble, soft-spoken manner. Likely few people there knew how he has influenced the business.

Bell’s early career sometimes goes unnoticed because of our appreciation of his current wines’ stellar status. But it was in those early years that Bell contributed to and helped mold what most consider today’s Napa Valley wine culture. In 1979, Bell joined Beaulieu Vineyards as assistant winemaker and viticulturist. He was responsible for Beaulieu Vineyards’ extraordinary and iconic Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet for 15 vintages. During his time at Beaulieu, he became involved in many projects, from the creation of the Los Carneors American Viticultural Area to collaboration on the Rutherford, Oakville and Yountville appellations (areas where wine grapes are grown).

During the 1980s, Bell began designing the first Cabernet clonal evolutions studies. During this time, he introduced the Bordeaux Clone 6 cabernet sauvignon to commercial production after almost 100 years of neglect. The clone was found in an abandoned University of California vineyard. This aspect of his career would lead to years of producing Napa Valley’s first single vineyard, single clone Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone 6 in 1991.

As I continue to enjoy Bell Red Blend as my go-to wine and Clone 6 on most special occasions, Bell will always be one of my favorite winemakers and, of course, a dear friend.


  • 2015 Bell Red Blend, California (about $17 retail)
  • 2016 Bell Lake County Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $17 retail)


  • 2014 Bell Syrah Canterbury Vineyards, California (about $28 retail)
  • 2014 Bell Yountville Merlot, California (about $46 retail)