Dr. Don Clark, vintner / winemaker, grew up in New Orleans, and combined with his half Italian extraction, he gleaned the tastes and aromas of two cultures famous for their culinary feats. He earned a PhD in physical biochemistry at Louisiana State University and attained years of experience in the field of biotechnology. The scientific knowledge and, more precisely, the tinkering needed to produce truly great wines comes naturally to Dr. Don:
“Wine making is microbiology, chemistry and art all wrapped into one.”
So says the veteran director of major research projects within various biotech firms. But, in comparing his previous life’s work to his chosen profession as winemaker, this vintner of fine wines distills the real truth: “This is a lot more fun!”
But how does one mix fun and work without losing either ingredient?
The secret lies wedged between a Tuscany-style tasting room and tanks of aging wine in cool storage. One might even overlook the small lab on site at the Valle della Pace winery. This inconspicuous space has produced distinctive flavors and expressive aromas created on site. Dr. Don’s extensive education and experience merge seamlessly with his passion for creativity. As Harvest Liquification Analyst, his work consistently produces a variety of delightfully smooth and aromatic wines. A unique blend of scientific method and sensory perception (tasting by winery staff) goes into each bottle with consistency and stability.
Dr. Don and his family and friends planted Valle della Pace vineyards in 2011 as an act of faith. In 2013 the first wine emerged from the new growth. This refreshing and light Blanc Du Bois, named “Blondie,” took the gold metal among 72 other wines at the 2015 Wine Maker International Amateur Wine Competition. Something extraordinary has taken root and continues to mature with each new wine produced, many of which have won a medal.