Aug 11, 2006
Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously agreed to the House resolution introduced by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa Valley) recognizing the significance of the Napa Valley victory at the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting. House Concurrent Resolution 399 recognizes both the outstanding accomplishments of those responsible for the winning wines and also the many successes of the California wine industry in the thirty years since this event.
In 1976, the world of wine was astounded when two Napa Valley wines won a blind taste test held by leading French wine experts in Paris, France. The winning wines were the 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars SLV Napa Valley Cabernet crafted by Warren Winiarski and the 1973 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay crafted by Miljenko ‘Mike’ Grgich. This event became known as the “Tasting Heard ‘Round the World” and heralded the beginning of the rise to preeminence of California wines.
“California’s victory in 1976 helped launch what is now one our state’s most important industries,” said Thompson. “By honoring this day, we recognize the many contributions our local wine industry has made to our state and the entire country.”
Today, California wines are enjoyed around the world and contribute more than $45 billion a year to the U.S. economy.
“The everlasting result and reward of the Paris Tasting has been to see the revolutionary improvement in wine quality throughout the world,” said James L. Barrett, founder and vintner of Chateau Montelena. “Everyone was a winner in that tasting, so I invite wine lovers around the world to enjoy a glass of their favorite wine from California, from Spain, from Australia or New Zealand, from South America or France, anywhere in the world and celebrate the event that helped to make that possible.”
“Our victory pumped new energy into the California wine industry,” said Grgich. “We were suddenly proud to be from the Napa Valley and we redoubled our efforts to make better wines year after year. This new recognition will only serve as further incentive to continue making world class wine."
"Like the finding of America, the discovery that the beautiful wines of the “New World Napa Valley” could stand together with some of the greatest standard bearers of France was like the opening of a new continent to explore everywhere,” said Winiarski. “We are very proud to have the recognition of both houses of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute for the contribution our wine made in that tasting, and we are especially grateful to Mike Thompson for initiating the Congressional Resolution."