Home Industry News Releases Chateau Montelena Winery Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Famed Judgment of Paris

Chateau Montelena Winery Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Famed Judgment of Paris


Winery to Celebrate with Events and Tastings Across the U.S.

Chateau MontelenaCALISTOGA, Calif., December 17, 2015 – In 2016 Chateau Montelena Winery will celebrate 40 years since the Judgment of Paris, also known as the Paris Tasting, when its 1973 Chardonnay beat French and American competitors in a blind tasting of wines in Paris. The tasting forever changed the way the world views American wine and helped put California at the forefront of the wine world.

On May 24, 1976, a who’s-who of French wine and food influencers gathered for a blind tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines at the Paris InterContinental Hotel organized by wine merchant Steven Spurrier. Four white Burgundies were tasted against six California Chardonnays, and when the scores were tallied, Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay rated above all other wines. The results proved that Chateau Montelena could produce some of the world’s finest wines and that California’s wine industry had come of age.

“When our wine was selected as an entry to the Paris Tasting 40 years ago, we couldn’t have imagined the impact it would have on the American and global wine industry,” says CEO and Master Winemaker Bo Barrett. “After the win Dad really said it best, ‘Not bad for kids from the sticks.’ Looking back, the Chardonnay’s four decade legacy enabled us to launch our flagship Estate Cabernet from this special place. From our sustainability program to our next generation winemaker Matt Crafton to the incredible Chardonnay and Cabernet we produce today, we’re ensuring Chateau Montelena will be producing superlative Napa wine for the next 40 years.”

The 1973 vintage was just the second vintage year of wine produced by the Barrett family after their purchase of Chateau Montelena in 1972. Jim Barrett oversaw the winery and led the small winemaking team, with Mike Grgich as Winemaker; John Rolleri as Vineyard Manager; Bo Barrett, Roam Steineke and Tim Glenn as Cellar Workers; and Aaron Mosely as Cellar Master.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary, Bo Barrett and winemaker Matt Crafton will be touring the country, tasting the latest releases and participating in retrospective tastings, as well as auctioning a once-in-a-lifetime lot at Auction Napa Valley 2016 in conjunction with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, the winner of the Cabernet Sauvignon tasting. Select events the winery will host or participate in include:

  • Chateau Montelena House Party on Saturday, January 23
  • Naples Winter Wine Festival Vintage Cellar Tasting on Thursday, January 28
  • Media/Trade Tasting in New York on Tuesday, February 9
  • Premiere Napa Valley Retrospective Trade Tasting on Friday, February 19
  • Flavor Napa Valley’s Celebration of the Judgment of Paris Dinner on Thursday, March 17
  • Chateau Montelena’s Movable Feast at the winery in Calistoga on Saturday, May 21
  • Winery Open House on Judgment of Paris 40th Anniversary on Tuesday, May 24
  • Auction Napa Valley on Thursday, June 2 – Saturday, June 4
  • Judgment of Paris Master Class at Sherry-Lehmann in New York on Monday, June 20
  • Judgment of Paris Master Class at Christie’s London on Thursday, June 23

As it celebrates the anniversary, the family owned and operated winery is focused on its renowned Napa Valley and Estate Cabernet Sauvignons, which account for almost two-thirds of Chateau Montelena’s annual production. In addition to Cabernet, the winery takes pride in its sustainability program, which includes electric vehicle chargers, solar and wind energy and sustainable vineyard practices, led by its next-generation winemaker Matt Crafton.

About Chateau Montelena Winery

Established in 1882 by Alfred Tubbs, Calistoga-based Chateau Montelena is credited for helping California wine earn worldwide recognition. In 1976, Chateau Montelena was one of two Napa Valley wineries to come out on top in a blind tasting held for a who’s-who of the French wine and food establishment gathered at the Paris Inter-Continental Hotel. Chateau Montelena produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling varietal wines. Its celebrated tasting room is open daily, and the winery operates a satellite tasting room in the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. The winery has been owned and operated by the Barrett Family since 1972. For more information on Chateau Montelena, please visit www.montelena.com.



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