Violet Grgich, Proprietor and Vice President, Operations, Grgich Hills Estate
by Andrew Chalk
In 1976, wine experts blind-tasted some of the most storied wines from France against similar styles from upstart California in. The mainly-French expert jury in what came to be known as The Judgement of Paris announced the California wines to be the winners. It was a shot heard round the world (I remember it being reported on the front page of British newspapers at the time) and California wine’s time on the global stage had come.
One of the most remarkable victories in a set of remarkable victories was in the white wine category. A 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay came top, beating out four Burgundies. That wine was made by a young croatian-American, Mike Grgich. No flash-in-the-pan, Grgich won the Great Chardonnay Showdown in 1980 with the very first vintage (1977) of wine from his own winery (then called Grgich Hills Cellar) in Napa Valley’s Rutherford area against 221 competitors. Continue reading