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TASTE News Service, April 9, 2017 – Iconic Napa Valley winery Grgich Hills Estate is releasing a 40th Anniversary Chardonnay celebrating their first four decades.

Friday, 26 August 2016 21:46

August 26, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

Grgich Napa V Chard Picmonkey


2013 Chardonnay


Grgich Hills Estate

Napa Valley

Alcohol: 14.1%

Suggested Retail: $43

Mike Grgich mustard in vnydA master with Chardonnay

TASTE News Service January 17, 2015 - In 1980 “The Great Chicago Showdown” brought together 221 of the best Chardonnays from around the world. Chardonnays from France, California, New York and even Bulgaria were collected for a historic first, the largest blind tasting of that time of one single varietal. The first vintage that Miljenko “Mike” Grgich crafted at Grgich Hills, his 1977 Chardonnay, emerged triumphant with a first place ribbon and the Chicago Tribune called it “The best Chardonnay in the world.” With this win so close on the heels of the famous 1976 Paris Tasting, where the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that Mike made took first place over some of the best French white Burgundies and American Chardonnays, he soon became affectionately known as the “King of Chardonnay.”

In 2015, Grgich Hills Estate will celebrate the 35th anniversary of this historic tasting and its legacy in Chardonnay with vintner dinners across the country, a photo contest, a new mobile application launch and much more, all culminating into two festive gala dinners. The first will be in Chicago on May 7, 2015 and the second in the Napa Valley at the winery on May 16, 2015. Mike Grgich believes this is a significant event not just for Chicago and Grgich Hills but for all of America since it proves that “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

Grgich Hills launched “The Great Chicago Chardonnay Showdown” celebration on January 15, 2015. “This is a great opportunity for our winery not only to celebrate my father’s many accomplishments but also Chardonnay, a varietal that is enjoyed and loved by so many people,” said Violet Grgich. As Mike explains, “There is no scientific formula for making great wines. You make wines with your heart.You pour your love into them and nurture them like children, and transmit to them the richness of your spirit.”

Editor's note: For more information on the winery's celebration of this event visit www.grgich.com. If you're planning a visit to this or any other of Napa's wineries, first visit the North Coast sections of the Resource Directory of Taste California Travel. There you will find links to the websites of all the wineries, as well as links to thousands of Lodging and Dining options.

Smithsonians Hist of Amer cover Picmonkey

Rutherford, CA, April 10, 2014 – The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay crafted by Miljenko “Mike” Grgich that was the champion of the 1976 Paris Tasting is part of the exhibit selected by the Smithsonian Institute as one of “101 Objects That Made America.”  Chosen from 137 million artifacts in the Smithsonian collection, the 1973 Chardonnay is joined by other iconic American objects such as Abraham Lincoln’s hat, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit.

The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects chose Julie Child’s Kitchen, which includes the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay crafted by Grgich, in a major exhibition on the revolution in American wine in the second half of the 20th Century, and the book features a photo of the winning wine. The author, Richard Kurin, is the Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, selected objects from the entire collection held by the 19 museums and research centers of the Smithsonian Institution.

Looking over the list of 101 treasures from the Smithsonian’s Collection, Grgich commented: “When I was growing up in the little village of Desne in Croatia, I never would have dared to dream that the wine that I crafted would be in the same book as America’s “Declaration of Independence,” or in the same museum as Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor who is also from Croatia. When I arrived in the United States, I thought I was the luckiest man alive to have my dream come true of making wine in California, but this recognition far exceeds my American Dream.”

A year after the now-famous 1976 Paris Tasting, Mike Grgich and Austin Hills founded Grgich Hills Estate at Rutherford in the Napa Valley. Mike is now assisted at Grgich Hills by his daughter, Violet Grgich, Vice-President of Operations, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, Vice-President of Vineyards and Production.

Mike Grgich in vineyard PicmonkeyMike Grgich at age 90Rutherford, CA March 26, 2014 - Mike Grgich began his life as a peasant in communist-controlled Croatia and arrived in the Napa Valley with $32, his life savings, sewn into the sole of his shoes. He was able to fulfill his American dream first by having his 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay win the 1976 Paris Tasting and then by founding his own winery, Grgich Hills Estate in 1977. A bottle of the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is currently displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History along with his signature beret, original suitcase and textbooks, and was included in the book “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects”. For his contributions to the wine industry, Mike was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2008.

Grgich established the Miljenko “Mike” Grgich American Dream Scholarship to provide deserving young wine professionals an opportunity to succeed and to honor the adoptive country that has given him so much. His father taught him to “Every day learn something new, do your best and make a friend.” This scholarship helps enable the next generation to achieve their own dreams through a professional wine studies program accredited by The James Beard Foundation. Grgich turns 91 on April 1st, the same date all scholarship offerings will be officially posted on the foundation’s website.

“We wanted to share my dad’s success and legacy in a meaningful way and The James Beard Foundation’s mission and educational pursuits resonate strongly with us” adds daughter and Vice President of Operations Violet Grgich.

Born April 1, 1923, Grgich grew up in the village of Desne on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, where generations of Grgich’s family grew grapes and made wine. His goal of moving to the U.S. was inspired by success stories of self-made Americans like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

Grgich and business partner Austin Hills broke ground in Rutherford to build Grgich Hills Cellar in July 1977 (later changed to Grgich Hills Estate in 2006 after becoming entirely estate grown). The winery continues to receive international awards for its balanced, elegant wines and is recognized as a leader in sustainable vineyard practices. Grgich Hills’ entire acreage is certified organic and the winery has converted to solar power.

Grgich’s contributions to Roots for Peace, an organization founded by Heidi Kuhn and dedicated to the conversion of former minefields into successful grape-growing areas, have helped demine areas in his former homeland. A Croatian TV documentary about Grgich’s life, “Like the Old Vine,” premiered at the Napa Valley Film Festival in November 2012.

Editor's note:  Planning on visiting Grgich Hills or other Napa wineries? In the North Coast listings of Taste California Travel's Resource Directory you'll find links to the websites of wineries, as well as links to websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options.


Oenovideo special award Picmonkey

June 18, 2013, Rutherford, CA – “Like the Old Vine (Kao Stara Loza),” a documentary about how Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich achieved his American dream, is the winner of the Grand Jury’s Special Award at the 20th annual Oenovideo International Grape & Wine Film Festival in Carcassonne-Minervois, France.

From May 30 to June 2, 2013, judges and festival goers viewed 26 films from 14 countries at this international meeting of the worlds of cinema and wine in the medieval city of Carcassonne, France. Mike Grgich and the documentary’s Director, Milka Bariŝić, will join the other winners to be presented the Cep d’Or Trophy in the French Senate at the Palais du Luxembourg, Paris, France on September 27, 2013.

Mike Grgich gave a tip of his famous beret to thank the jury for picking his documentary, saying with a grin, “Just think, 37 years after the 1976 Paris Tasting, the French once again declare Mike Grgich the winner!”

Mike Grgich cheers PicmonkeyLike the Old Vine describes Mike Grgich’s extraordinary life, achievements and how his “American Dream” became a reality. The documentary also shows some interesting unpublished facts about the 1976 Paris Tasting. Like the Old Vine was filmed by Croatian Radiotelevision in the Napa Valley, Mike’s birthplace in Desne, Croatia, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., where on exhibit are his signature French beret and a bottle of the 1973 Chardonnay he crafted – the ‘champion’ of the 1976 Paris Tasting. The movie has been shown on national TV in Croatia and premiered in the United States on November 7 at the 2012 Napa Valley Film Festival.

Located in the Napa Valley's Rutherford appellation, Grgich Hills Estate was founded in 1977 by Vintner Hall of Fame Inductee Miljenko “Mike” Grgich and Austin Hills after Mike’s 1973 Chardonnay outscored the best of France in the now-famous 1976 Paris Tasting that revolutionized the world of wine. Today the winery farms 366 acres naturally, without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, and handcrafts 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. A DVD of Like the Old Vine, though not for sale, is available at the winery to customers who purchase six bottles or more at the winery or online. For more information, visit www.grgich.com.

Editor's note: If you're planning on visiting wine country, you may want to check out Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to websites of all the wineries.

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