A Glass Full of Miracles: Napa Valley Winery, Grgich Hills Estate Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Paris Wine Tasting (aka: The Judgement of Paris)

May 24, 1976 marks the 40th anniversary of the famous Paris Wine Tasting, commonly known as The Judgement of Paris. Along with other California wineries, Grgich Hills Estate celebrates the 40th anniversary of this historic wine tasting. Grgich Hills Estate will commemorate with with vintner dinners across the country, an appearance at the Smithsonian Institution, and the long-awaited release of Miljenko “Mike” Grgich’s autobiography “A Glass Full of Miracles” that tells the story of his fascinating life.

What is The Judgement of Paris?

In 1976, Steven Spurrier, an Englishman who ran a fine wine shop in Paris, decided to promote his wine shop by organizing a blind tasting to coincide with America’s Bicentennial celebrations. For the tasting, he gathered together the best French judges, the finest French wines and he added in a few wines from some upstart winemakers in California. The unimaginable happened: the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, crafted by Mike Grgich, won with the highest total score of 132 points. In the afternoon tasting of the red wines, the French judges gave their top ranking to Warren Winiarski for his 1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, beating the best Cabernets of Bordeauxwith 127.5 points!

Bordeaux vs. California: The Shock felt Throughout the Wine Industry

The only reporter to attend, George Taber, wrote in Time magazine about this American triumph, which sent shock waves throughout the world of wine. Taber later wrote a fascinating account of this tasting and its impact in his book, “Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine,” which will be made into a major motion picture, in 2017. The movie will feature Mike Grgich and Warren Winiarski and is being co-produced by entrepreneur Jonathan Rotella and famed Hollywood screenwriter and vintner Robert Kamen, best known for writing the Taken Trilogy and The Karate Kid series. If you’re looking for a movie to fill you in on a few details, “Bottle Shock” was released in 2008 and although it takes creative liberties, it will give you an idea of the significance of the event, loosely based on reality.

Mike Grgich believes the Judgment of Paris is a significant event not just for him and the Napa Valley but for everyone who is dedicated to winemaking, since it proves that “you don’t need French soil to make great wine.”

Taste the Legacy: Grgich Hills Estate California Wine Events

In 2016, Grgich Hills Estate invites everyone to Taste the Legacy and join them for this wonderful celebration at one of these wine tasting events:

Feb. 10

Violet Grgich will be on a panel discussing the Judgment of Paris for Landry’s Restaurant Group, at Wirtz Beverage, Las Vegas, NV.


Violet Grgich will host a “Judgment of Paris” dinner at Aureole, Las Vegas, NV. Click here for more information:http://bit.ly/1oe0aEs

April 1

Mike Grgich celebrates his 93rd birthday!

April 2

Mike Grgich will host a “Judgment of Paris” dinner and book launch of his autobiography “A Glass Full of Miracles.” Bottles and books signed by Mike Grgich will be available. Morgan’s in the Desert, La Quinta, CA.

May 16

Violet Grgich will participate in panel discussion of the “Paris Tasting Legacy” as part of the American History (After Hours) at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington, DC. For more information, visit http://s.si.edu/AmericanWine.

May 17

Violet Grgich will participate in the National Museum of American History’s 4th annual Winemakers’ Dinner commemoration of the 40th anniversary of “Paris Tasting” in Washington, DC. For more information, visit http://s.si.edu/AmericanWine.

May 19

Violet Grgich will host a gala celebration of the “Judgment of Paris” at Vizcaya Museum, Miami, FL.

For tickets visit: http://bit.ly/1odZRta

June 3

Auction Napa Valley:

Private dinner at the winery with Mike Grgich and Iron Chef Morimoto

E-auction lot: “Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Judgement of Paris with Mike Grgich”

July 2

Grgich and Hills families will host a special “Judgment of Paris” Croatian Extravaganza for wine club members, friends and family, Yountville, CA. Bottles and books signed by Mike Grgich will be available.


The Iconic Grgich Hills Estate Winery

Grgich Hills Estate is an iconic Napa Valley winery, consistently producing world-class wines. Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first earned world-wide recognition when the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that he crafted won the 1976 Paris Tasting, beating the best of France. Mike then partnered with Austin Hills to open their family-owned-and-operated winery in 1977.

Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, Grgich Hills’ farms its estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, relies on wild yeast fermentation and uses passion and art to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines. Mike is assisted by his daughter, Violet Grgich, Vice President of Operations, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, Vice President of Vineyards and Production.

Read the original Press Release on PRNewswire

California wine. Judgement of Paris.
Mike Grgich at his Napa Valley Winery. Image Source: Grgich Hills Estate

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