Bo Barrett

Winemaker and CEO, Chateau Montelena

Bo Barrett

The bar we hold our team to is to strive to provide world class wines, world class hospitality and world class customer service.

What started out as summer crush work to pay for his loves of skiing, fishing and flying has turned into a career spanning four decades.

How many years have you been in the Napa Valley wine industry?

I started in 1972, over 40 years.

How did you get started in the wine business?

Worked summer and crush to make enough money to pay for my full time avocations of skiing, fishing and flying.

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

My dad, Jim Barrett, for teamwork and commitment to quality; Justin Meyer for leadership and team building; John Rolleri and Bob Steinhauer for “making wine in the vineyard” viticulture approach.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

Our job is to make people’s lives just a little bit better, one glass at a time. Working with the weather and the land, it’s a wonderful planet.

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

We tell our employees and our growers that our customers are paying us for “The Best.” The bar we hold our team to is to strive to provide world class wines, world class hospitality and world class customer service.

What are you doing at your winery to help preserve and enhance Napa Valley for the future?

Name it, and we have been doing it since the 1970s. Solar power, recycling, composting, Napa Green – sustainability is a long-time part of what we do.

How does your winery help tell the Napa Valley story?

Chateau Montelena is in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places for two periods of significance. In 1888, the stone Chateau was one of the first state-of-the-art wineries built in the first California wine movement to improve the quality of Napa Valley wines. The second event listed is for our Chardonnay’s win at the 1976 “Judgment of Paris.” This was a catalytic moment in Napa’s story.

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

Probably flying fishermen and hunters on floatplanes in BC or Alaska or helicopter tours someplace cool, maybe the Big Island.

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

I’d take Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson for a Napa Valley helicopter ride first; for the third, assuming my wife Heidi is there with my entourage, I’d invite our founder A.L. Tubbs to show him how great his visions for Chateau Montelena and the Napa Valley turned out.

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

I like pickled herring... but I don’t like cheesecake.