Saturday, April 13th was a history-making night honoring the 90th birthday of legendary winemaker Miljenko Grgich. He celebrated a lifetime of accomplishments with a special gala at the winery and the inaugural release of the Grgich 2010 Paris Tasting Chardonnay.
The festivities began with an intimate reception where friends, family and guests enjoyed champagne and bites while mingling with Mr. Grgich. His many accomplishments were highlighted, including the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that bested several white Burgundy wines in the Judgement of Paris. Other prominent accomplishments including his induction to the Culinary Institute of America Vinetner’s Hall of Fame as well as the Smithsonian were featured in various ways throughout the winery venue. Following the cocktail reception, guests were moved into the stunning dining room, where rows of barrels served as a backdrop for a four course dinner prepared by Chef Shannon Kelly of Oak Av. Catering Company. Each course was paired to perfection with a Grgich wine.
The evening was emceed by ABC7 coanchor Cheryl Jennings and Violet Grgich. Highlights of Grgich’s status as a legend in the Napa Valley were captured with a video presentation that showed throughout the evening. Following the presentation, family and friends graced the stage with touching accounts of Grgich’s hard work and dedication to his craft.
Grgich, who started in humble beginnings in Croatia, has risen to become one of the premiere winemakers in the United States. For the past 50 years, he has crafted wines in the classic Old World tradition, winning a stream of California and international prizes, establishing Grgich Hills Estate as one of the premier wineries in the U.S. and the world.
The evening ended with a wine and chocolate reception where guests had the opportunity to enjoy more time with Mr. Grgich and his daughter Violet. Mr. Grgich gave a beautiful and most heartfelt thank you as he signed bottles and took pictures with all the guest that were in attendance. Overall it was a most memorable and absolutely stunning evening, in celebration of one of Napa Valley’s most beloved individuals – Miljenko ‘Mike’ Grgich. Mike, we wish you many wonderful birthday celebrations to come.